Skip to contentContribute to ReadWriteThink / RSS / FAQs / Site Demonstrations / Contact Us / About Us



Contribute to ReadWriteThink

ReadWriteThink couldn't publish all of this great content without literacy experts to write and review for us. If you've got lessons plans, videos, activities, or other ideas you'd like to contribute, we'd love to hear from you.



Professional Development

Find the latest in professional publications, learn new techniques and strategies, and find out how you can connect with other literacy professionals.



Did You Know?

Your students can save their work with Student Interactives.

More more

HomeClassroom ResourcesLesson Plans

Lesson Plan

Style: Defining and Exploring an Author's Stylistic Choices

E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)


Style: Defining and Exploring an Author's Stylistic Choices

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

Traci Gardner

Traci Gardner

Blacksburg, Virginia


National Council of Teachers of English


Student Objectives

Session One

Session Two


Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • define style and explore the ways the literary element is used.

  • explore examples of different literary styles in given excerpts.

  • analyze the purpose of the chosen style in the pieces explored.

back to top


Session One

  1. Hand out copies of the Defining Style handout and the Elements of Literary Style checklist.

  2. Explain that in their groups students will look for examples of stylistic devices in a sample passage and discuss the possible reasons that the author uses these literary devices.

  3. Demonstrate how to find and hypothesize the purpose of the stylistic devices using the passage and explanation on the Demonstrating a Way to Analyze Style sheet.

  4. Hand out copies of the passage to analyze and the Style Analysis worksheet, and explain the activity. Students will read a passage from Their Eyes Were Watching God (or another passage that you have selected) and outline the stylistic choices that the author has made. They look at the context and meaning of the section to determine the significance of the use of the stylistic devices.

  5. Answer any questions pertaining to the example or the assignment.

  6. Divide students into small groups and give them the remainder of the class to work on their analysis. Circulate among students as they work, offering support and feedback.

back to top


Session Two

  1. Review the activity with students and answer any questions. Give students another 20 to 30 minutes to complete their exploration of the passage.

  2. Once students have worked through the paragraph on the handout, ask them to search through the novel or short story to find additional examples and note the details on their worksheets. You may point students to pivotal points or significant passages in the text to help them focus their exploration. In addition to recording stylistic devices, students should think how the author's stylistic choices affect the work.

  3. Circulate among students as they work, offering support and feedback.

  4. After you're satisfied that students have had a chance to explore the author's stylistic devices, assemble as a class and share observations about the activity. The following questions can generate discussion:

    • What stood out the most about the kinds of words that the author used?

    • What kind of sentence patterns did the author use?

    • How did the words and sentence patterns relate to the characters involved in the passage?

    • Overall, how would you describe the author's style?
  5. After discussing the specific author, encourage students to draw conclusions about style in general.

back to top



back to top



Informal assessment works well for this activity. As students analyze the passage, circulate among groups, observing students' identification of the various techniques employed in the passage. Provide support and feedback as you move from group to group.

After the class discussion about the author's style, ask them to reflect on their exploration of the passage in their journals or in a freewrite. To help them get started, ask students to write on the following questions: What did you notice about the way that an author can use language and the reasons for the author's choices? What surprised you the most about the author's language choices, and why?

Read the pieces and comment on the self-reflections, noting important observations that students make and asking provoking questions where they need to think more deeply.

back to top