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General Tips for Reading Narrative & Persuasive Text
                                NJPEP: Virtual Academy 
           Designed by the faculty at
FDU's School of Education
              in partnership with the consultants of IDE Corp.
People climbing books
 General Tips for Reading Narrative Text

Since a narrative text tells a story, active readers will get more out of the story if they begin with a series of questions to guide their reading.

Who is telling the story? Who is the narrator?

This is important because it sets the stage for the rest of the story. The narrative can be in one of three voices: 1st person, 3rd person omniscient, and 3rd person limited.

  • 1st person narratives are told by a character within the story. This narrator can be identified by the use of the pronoun, "I" when relating to objects or events within the story. If the story is told in 1st person, be sure to identify what the narrator's role is within the story. Is s/he a main character? Just an observer? How is s/he involved with the issues? These questions will help identify any motive in telling a story a certain way, or giving or omitting certain details.
  • 3rd person limited narratives are told by an observer of the story. Limited narratives are identified by the inability of the narrator to know what is going on in the thoughts of all of the characters, all of the time.
  • 3rd person omniscient narratives are told by an outside observer who is everywhere and knows every character's thoughts, background, and sometimes future.

What is the setting and who are the characters?

Where and when do the story take place? Who is involved? What are the basics of the plot- that is, what is the story basically about?

Who is the main character? Who are the secondary characters?

What is the conflict?

Conflict can take many forms, but most often the conflict can be generalized as internal or external.

  • An internal conflict occurs when a character wrestles with him or herself over an issue or a decision. An example of this might be story about an honest student who sees a close friend cheat on a test and then wrestles with whether or not to turn in his friend.
  • An external conflict may be with another person (man versus man), with nature, or with some other event or force outside of the character's control. A skiier trapped in an avalanche, a chess Grand Master playing another Grand Master, and a frontiersman battling a cold winter and wild animals are all examples of external conflicts.

What is the climax?

At what point in the story does the conflict reach a high point?

What is the resolution?

After the conflict is over, is there a lesson learned? Do any of the characters come away from the event wiser, sadder, stronger? Is there a moral to the story? What is the general theme of the story? Many of these questions are identifiable in the resolution of the story.


General Tips for Reading Persuasive Text

Active readers will get more out of a text if they begin with a series of questions to guide their reading.

What is the author's main idea?

As you are reading, be sure to identify the author's main idea- what is s/he trying to sell, make you believe, or make you do?

What are the author's main points?

Identify the author's main points, or the main arguments to support the point of view.

What support does the author have for the arguments?

Look for and recognize the supporting details- these might include quotes, anecdotes, details, examples, or statistics.

What is the author's purpose?

Look for the action that the author wants from the reader- does the author ask you to think, or believe something? What is it? Does the author want you to buy something? To send money?


General Tips for Multiple Choice Questions

  • Read the question and all answers thoroughly before selecting an answer. Note that many of the answers will seem plausible, and in some cases several answers will be correct, but one will be the best answer.
  • If you aren't sure, try to eliminate answers that you are sure are incorrect, or are unlikely to be the correct answer.
  • For questions that refer to the text, go back and read the whole section of text from which the sample comes- identify the purpose of the section- is it informative? does it attempt to appeal to emotion or logic?