Literary Terms – Preliminary Assessment

You can use class time more efficiently if you pre-test to determine what students already know and what you need to teach.  By the time students reach middle school, most have been introduced to some of the basic literary terms.  Let them show you what the know already by administering a early no-stress assessment.

Here are lists. LITERARY TERMS for Fiction  and POETIC DEVICESSelect words you expect your students to know by the end of the school year.

First, print the list without definitions.

Then, as pre-assessment, ask students to indicate level of knowledge of terms.

+ if you can explain term;  if you’re familiar with term; if you don’t know term.

You can make this a rich and engaging class period, if you have had the students bring their class anthology.  After the students complete their checklist, collect their sheets and quickly peruse them while students look through the books.  Ask them to find examples from stories they already have read, or ones they notices and they skim and scan the textbook,  and then to copy into their notebooks or using their ipads, enter and save as a Word document, phrases or sentences  that illustrate the term.  

While they’re scavenging, you can tally the results of their markings.   If you have equipment to do so, create a list you project showing a version of that tally.  If not, you can just read aloud the list of words students starred. Commend the students for the words they recall and energize them by letting them know how satisfying it will be for them in a few weeks to be able to put checks and stars next to more terms.

Close the period by inviting a few of the students to read aloud some of phrases or sentences chose to copy.

The next day, you can begin the lesson based on the formative assessment you’ve just done.  You may begin sharing samples from other literature and passages illustrating the terms the students checked.  The next few days, add new terms as you continue the unit you already have designed. 

It may take the remainder of the school year before the majority of the students are comfortable enough with most of the words and can identify the terms in context, can write lines using them, and can explain their use to a peer.


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