Most state standards for English Language Arts require that students analyze the impact the point of view has on a text. Download a Point of View Overview Mini-Unit that will assist you in exploring each type of point of view in your classroom! In addition to my mini-unit, this article contains additional printable resources for teaching point of view.
Point Of View Overview Mini-Unit
This mini-unit that I am sharing with you is written as six lessons, but depending on the level and ability of your students you may want to spend several days working on each type of point of view. Below I've shared the first two point of view lessons in my mini-unit. You can download the complete unit here.
Lesson 1 - Illustrations and Point of View Overview
Explain point of view is the manner in which a story is told. The point of view is the narrator’s perspective. It directs how the story will unfold, and influences the tone of the book. The point of view of a story impacts the reader’s depth of understanding of a book because the narrator can provide the reader with information or withhold information.
On the board, write the phrase: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
Display photographs for students to look at and discuss (suggestion: use cute, but weird, animal photos). This should lead to a conversation that even though they were looking at the same photos there were different points of view in the class.
Explain that sometimes in picture books the illustrations are critical to understanding the point of view in which the story is being told.
Together read Two Bad Ants by Chris Van Allsburg. In this picture book, the story is being told from the ants’ point of view, but the illustrations show what is actually happening to the ants. Pause throughout the story to discuss how the two points of view are different yet the same.
Show students a wordless picture book, such as Flotsam by David Weisner.
Have students write a story (as they see it) to explain what is happening in the pictures. After the students have finished their stories, have them share what they wrote in small groups.
As a group, discuss that even though the illustrations they were looking at were the same, their stories were different based on the point of view of the narrator.
Lesson 2 - Voice
Explain the importance of voice in a piece of literature. Voice is the author's style, and is what makes his or her writing unique. The author’s voice expresses his or her point of view.
Together read The Pain and the Great One by Judy Blume.
Cite examples of voice coming through the text. Compare and contrast the two sections of the book by discussing the differing points of view the brother and sister have of the same events. Evaluate the author’s craft.
Have students practice writing with voice. Encourage them to write a story that explores two different perspectives (this tends to be an easier way to illuminate writing with voice).
Resources for Teaching Point of View
Point of View Reference Guide
Download my Point of View Reference Guide* to assist you in reviewing or teaching point of view to students. You can make a copy for each of your students to keep or hang it up in your classroom as a resource for your students. I'm sure your students will find this guide very useful!
Circle of Viewpoints Thinking Routine
The Circle of Viewpoints routine encourages students to think about different perspectives. It helps them to understand that people may think or feel differently from them about the same topic or idea.
There are lots of different ways you can use this “thinking routine.” It can be used at the beginning of a unit in order to help students imagine possible perspectives about a topic or theme. It can also be completed at the end of a lesson to encourage discussion about differing opinions.
As a literacy specialist, I like to use this routine at the end of a chapter or book so students can compare and contrast the different perspectives of various characters. I love this routine because it can be modified to be used across any subject area. I know many of my colleagues also use it during their debate units.
Download two literacy-inspired Circle of Viewpoints Graphic Organizers. I like to use them alongside books that have multiple perspectives woven throughout the story.
*Note: I've created two versions of my Point of View Reference Guide. One version has just the three types of Point of View, and the other version includes the three specific types of the Third Person Point of View.