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Lesson Plan

Modeling Academic Writing Through Scholarly Article Presentations

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Modeling Academic Writing Through Scholarly Article Presentations

Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Unit
Estimated Time Six 50-minute sessions, plus additional sessions for continued presentations
Lesson Author

Laura Hennessey DeSena

Sparta, New Jersey


National Council of Teachers of English


Materials and Technology

Student Interactives






  • Scholarly articles for each student (accessed from the databases listed in the Websites section or other resources)

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Essay Map

Grades   3 – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Organizing & Summarizing

Essay Map

The Essay Map is an interactive graphic organizer that enables students to organize and outline their ideas for an informational, definitional, or descriptive essay.


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  • Students should finish a literary text before beginning this assignment. This assignment works best with a work that is widely read, taught, and discussed (e.g. Hamlet, Beloved, The Great Gatsby), as students need to have a substantial selection of criticism from which to choose.

  • This lesson requires a fairly sophisticated level of understanding of reading, writing, and literary analysis. For students who are less ready to embark on a genre study of this sort, consider focusing on a work that is more accessible (Of Mice and Men rather than Grapes of Wrath, for example) or shift the activity to a collaborative project rather than an independent one. More information about essay structure and other topics to facilitate this genre study can be found at Seven Types of Paragraph Development and Writing Resources from Harvard University's Writing Center.

  • Make transparencies of the Sample Scholarly Article or an article you select and the Annotated Sample Scholarly Article or an article you select and annotate yourself. Instructions for annotation for this lesson can be found on the Guide to Annotating the Scholarly Article handout.

  • Make copies/transparencies of the Guide to Annotating the Scholarly Article handout and the Rubric for Presentation of a Scholarly Article so students understand expectations.

  • Make copies of the Scholarly Article Presentation Reflection Questions for distribution after the presentations.

  • Reserve the media center or computer lab for Sessions Two and Three of this lesson.

  • Consult with your school librarian and familiarize yourself with available research databases. Explore them ahead of time yourself to gauge the number of hits students will get in their researching the selected novel or play.   Ideally, each student will select a different article for presentation to avoid redundancy.  (You may wish to open up the assignment to two or more literary texts, perhaps a novel from earlier in the year.)

  • Alternatively, if students do not have access to an online database at school, you can make collections of criticism available in the classroom.  Check out anthologies of criticism from the school or local library and make them available to students within a certain window of time that you determine for in-class use. You can also create a collection of critical essays for student use in class by printing out a single copy of a work of criticism and placing it in a binder with other works of criticism on the literary text.

  • Have students bring in pencils to annotate the selected article once they have printed it out.

  • Test the Essay Map on your computers to familiarize yourself with the tools and ensure that you have the Flash plug-in installed. You can download the plug-in from the technical support page.

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