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Lesson Plan: Teaching Point of View

By Trent Lorcher

Don't just teach students a list of terms to memorize. Teach them how to implement point of view (POV) in their writing.

The Important of POV

After teaching students how to write for an audience and with a purpose, I felt good about myself once again. I called my college professor and told him what a great job I was doing. Then I realized I had not done a good job teaching point of view. In shock, I called my professor back, cussed him out, called the university registrar, demanded a refund, called my travel agent, and cancelled my weekend flight to the Dominican Republic.

I had work to do. I had to devise a lesson plan about teaching point of view. Here's what I came up with.

Getting Started

  • Show two sample passages: one written in first person point of view; one written in third person point of view.
  • Instruct students to determine POV by identifying pronouns used by the narrator.
  • Discuss why one point of view would be more effective than the other, and what the individual weaknesses of each are.
  • Discussion should cover the following ideas:
    • POV is the position from which the narrator views its subject
    • First person point of view is the more limited, giving only one vantage point. It does, however, forge a bond between reader and narrator
    • Third person point of view is more versatile.

Two Lesson Options

Option 1: Help Students Revise

  • Instruct students to read their drafts and answer the following questions: What point of view did you use? How do you know? Which character tells the story? Why did you choose this particular point of view?
  • Students must consider audience and purpose and determine which POV would be more effective for the intended audience.
  • Instruct students to rewrite their first paragraph in a different point of view.
  • In groups of 2-4, instruct each student to read both versions. Group members will help determine which point of viewworks better.
  • For assessment, collect both paragraphs and evaluate them based on how well they used each point of view.

Option 2: Help Students Rewrite Literature

  • Assign groups of four.
  • Assign each group a different scene.
  • Each person in the group will write from a different point of view: first person, third person omniscient, third person limited, or third person dramatic.
  • Have groups evaluate the most effective point of view.
  • Read it to the class.