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Lesson Plan

Name That Chapter! Discussing Summary and Interpretation Using Chapter Titles

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Name That Chapter! Discussing Summary and Interpretation Using Chapter Titles

Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Three 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Traci Gardner

Traci Gardner

Blacksburg, Virginia


National Council of Teachers of English


Student Objectives

Activity Introduction

Name that Chapter Activity

Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • explore the significance and purpose of chapter titles in a variety of novels.

  • create relevant chapter titles for a novel they are reading.

  • examine titles for relevant word choice and phrasing as well as accuracy.

  • work toward a balance between accurate summary and the promise of intrigue and mystery as they explore and choose titles.

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Activity Introduction

  1. Divide students into small groups and give each group a sample novel or two that include chapter titles rather than numbered chapters. Ideally, choose books that students will have read or listened to so that the connections between chapter titles and chapter events will be clear.

  2. Have students explore the novels, gathering chapter titles and noting their characteristics. You can provide these questions to guide their exploration:

    • How does the chapter title relate to the chapter content?

    • Is there anything special or significant about the chapter title?

    • What is the grammatical structure of the chapter title?

    • What stands out about the word choice in the chapter title?

  3. After groups have had sufficient time to explore their novels, assemble them as a whole class again. Based on the information that they've gathered, ask students to brainstorm the characteristics that make a strong chapter title. Write the ideas on the board or on an overhead.

  4. With students, revise the brainstormed list into a series of guidelines that students will use as they create their own chapter titles for the novel that they are reading.

  5. For homework, have students create titles for the chapters they are reading.


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Name that Chapter Activity

  1. At the beginning of class, ask students to share titles for the chapters that they have read. You can either share ideas as a full class or in small groups. If you have read more than one chapter for the class meeting, each group can consider a different chapter.

  2. Once possible titles are listed on the board or overhead projector, discuss the accuracy, word choice, and connotation of the titles. Ask students to consider whether the title offers summary, identifies a key term, "baits" the reader, or offers a bit of intrigue.

  3. After discussion and debate, the class can choose a title for each chapter and include the title on a cumulative list for the novel.

  4. Alternatively, students can fill out the Name That Chapter Handout, outlining the relationship between the title and the chapter itself. The sheets can provide a chapter-by-chapter summary of the novel that students can use to review their reading.

  5. As part of the chapter naming process, you can provide a mini-lesson on capitalization and punctuation of titles using information from your grammar handbook or the Purdue OWL.

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  • Class discussion and debate of the possible chapter titles will provide students with feedback on the relationship to the chapter content, the title's phrasing, and its word choice.

  • If students complete the Name That Chapter Handout individually, use the Name That Chapter Rubric to evaluate their finished drafts.

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