Session 2: Reading Comprehension and Literary Response

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Session 2: Reading Comprehension and Literary Response

  • Test-Taking Tips #2
  • Talk to the Text Review: Owning What You Read
  • Reading Comprehension Strategies
  • Reading Informational Texts
  • Reading and Analyzing Literature

Test-Taking Tips 2

  • Read all directions carefully before answering any questions.
  • Breath! Relax! The test is untimed, so there is no reason to rush.
  • Believe that you will pass the test. See yourself opening up the envelope of test results and receiving a passing score. You will pass if you believe you can.

Reading on the CAHSEE

  • 7 Vocabulary Questions
  • 18 Reading Comprehension Questions (read a passage and answer questions)
  • today
  • 20 Literary Response Questions
  • (read literature and answer questions)
  • today

Talking to the Text (TtT) Review

  • Talking to the Text (TttT) means “talking” with your pencil on a text. It helps you “own” what you read!
  • You can write down whatever helps you, including
    • underline important phrases or sentences
    • write your questions, clarifications, summaries, connections, predictions, or visualizations in the margins
    • even mark places you are confused or don't understand something.

Other reading strategies to use:

  • See p. 65
  • Analyze- break down the information to examine the individual ideas
  • Infer- make educated guesses based on the evidence in the text and what you already know
  • Predict- guess what will happen based on what you know.
  • Main ideas/Details- analyze how the author organizes information using main ideas and details.

A new reading strategy: Chunking


  • Chunking is exactly what it sounds like.
  • You break down a tough word, sentence, or paragraph into easier-to-read chunks.
  • Chunk in a way that is clear to you, either by circling pieces of text or using dashes (/) to separate chunks.
  • You wouldn’t eat a whole cake in one meal, so why try to digest an entire text at once?

Chunking Example

Distinguishing Between Different types of Texts on the CAHSEE

  • Question to ask: What type (genre) of text is this?
      • Literary Text (something you may see in an English class)
        • Poem
        • Play
        • Short Story
      • Informational Text (something you would see in the real world)
        • Job Application?
        • Brochure?
        • Business Letter?
        • History/science/biographical text?
        • Etc.

Reading Informational Texts

  • These types of texts are ones you read to find out information, not for pleasure
  • Usually, they are laid out so that you find information fast
  • The structural features like headings, bullets, graphics, and numbers are there to help you find the information you need.
  • Most times, they have already chunked the text for you with these features. Use them!

Reading Consumer Documents

  • see p. 39
  • What type of text is a consumer document?
    • Informational document
  • Consumer Document-document made for a consumer (person who buys products), and include:
    • Warranties
    • Contracts
    • Product Information
    • Instructional Manuals

Features of Consumer Documents

  • see p. 39
  • Some of these features are found in other instructional/nonfiction documents
  • Headings
  • Numbers
  • Bullets
  • Graphics
  • Special Type Treatment: boldface, italic, underlined, colored

(More) features of consumer documents

  • see p. 39
  • Table of contents
  • Indexes
  • Glossaries
  • Works Cited
  • Bibliographies

Workplace Documents

  • see p. 45
  • Include texts you may see on the job..
  • Procedure manuals
  • Job applications
  • Memos
  • Guides to health benefits
  • Email messages
  • Organizational charts
  • Instructions for operating machinery

Literary Response and Analysis

  • 20 Multiple Choice Questions
  • These types of texts include
    • Poetry
    • Plays
    • Fiction
    • Essays
  • The Literary Response and Analysis section of the CAHSEE asks you to read literature and answer questions about it.
  • Genre
  • Genre is a French word meaning “kind” or “type”.
  • The major genres in literature are
  • poetry
  • fiction
  • drama
  • essays
  • It can also refer to more specific types of literature such as comedy, drama, tragedy, epic poetry or science fiction.
  • Character
  • There are 2 main types of characters:
  • Protagonist - Main character; usually the “good guy”
  • Antagonist – The character who opposes the main character in some way; the “opponent”
  • see p. 95
  • Characters: The different people in the story

Protagonist/Antagonist Example

  • see p.95
  • On The Simpsons, Bart Simpson is the protagonist and Principal Skinner is one of the antagonists.


  • see p. 95
  • A main problem in the story that the main character faces.
  • Can be internal or external.
  • Internal Conflict: A character “at war” with him or herself (exp: Ariel has to decide whether she should leave the ocean)
  • External Conflict: One character versus society, nature, or another character (exp: protagonist vs. antagonist)

Types of External Conflict

  • Man Vs. Nature- Main character fights against nature.
  • exp: A story of a man caught in a snowstorm trying to fight his way out.
  • Man Vs. Man-Main character fights against another character.
  • exp: In The Little Mermaid, the main conflict was between Ariel and the Sea Witch.
  • Man Vs. Society-Character fights against the rules of his/her society.
  • exp: In The Little Mermaid, Ariel must fight against the rules of her family and underwater society in order to marry the prince.


  • see p. 107
  • Plot: The pattern of action of a story; the series of linked events that make up the story
  • Usually starts with a problem or conflict that has to be resolved.
  • Exp: In Little Mermaid, the plot begins with the conflict between Ariel and her protective father.

Plot Structure

  • see p. 107
  • A. Exposition: Introduces characters and setting
  • Introduction of conflict: The major problem/conflict of the story is introduced.
  • (Rising Action: Builds the conflict and helps develop characters)
  • Climax: Highest or most exciting point in the action
  • (Falling Action: After the climax, plot slows and moves towards resolution)
  • D. Resolution: The conclusion to the story in which the major conflicts are solved.


  • see p. 107
  • A look at a past event. The author stops the action of the story to go back to an event that happened at an earlier time.
  • What movies or books have flashbacks in them?
  • Irony
  • see p. 131
      • is a literary device for conveying meaning by saying the exact opposite of what is really meant.
      • Sarcasm is one kind of irony. It is praise which is really an insult. Sarcasm generally involves cruelty, the desire to put someone down, for example “This is my brilliant son who failed out of college.”
      • Life is filled with ironies. Here are a few examples…
        • All you want is an Escalade. You work hard for years to buy one. The first day you buy it, you park it at the supermarket and go inside. While you are inside, someone steals your Escalade. When you come out with your groceries, the thief runs you over with your own car, breaking both your legs, and takes off in your brand new Escalade.
        • 2. A girl lies to her boyfriend and says she has to baby-sit, but really goes to the movies with her friends. While buying popcorn, she sees her boyfriend there with another date.

Types of Irony

  • Verbal Irony: occurs when someone says the opposite of what the person means.
  • Exp: A person is having a horrible day and says, “I’ve never been so happy in my life.”
  • Situational Irony: occurs when what happens is the opposite of what you expect to happen.
  • Exp: Escalade story, boyfriend at the movies story
  • Dramatic Irony: occurs when you, the reader or the viewer, knows something crucial that the main character does not know. This is the most important type for the CAHSEE
  • Exp: In Romeo and Juliet, the audience knows Juliet is not really dead and has faked her death, but Romeo does not.

Dramatic Irony

  • Dramatic Irony: occurs when you, the reader or the viewer, knows something crucial that the main character does not know. This is the most important type for the CAHSEE
  • With your class, brainstorm examples of dramatic irony in books, stories, movies, or television shows.
  • Literary Terms
  • Theme
  • Tone
  • Mood
  • Drama
  • Symbolism
  • Theme
  • see p. 101
  • A theme is the lesson learned in the story. Also described as observation about life or human nature.
  • A universal theme can be found in the literature of m any different cultures and from many different times.
  • Exp: The theme of Cinderella is “the best things come to those who wait”
  • Tone
  • see p. 167
  • Tone is way words are used to convey a writer’s attitude towards a subject.
  • Think of when someone says, “Don’t use that tone with me, young lady!” The tone of writing shows the writer’s attitude, and can change the meaning of what is being said or written.
  • Mood
  • see p. 125
  • Mood is the feeling created by a piece of literature. Another way to think about it is the way you feel when you read it.
  • Some literature makes you feel sad, others joyful or anxious.
  • Drama
  • see p. 90
  • Drama, or dramatic literature is another word for play.
  • Plays/dramas are when characters tell a story in a theater performance.
  • Characters in a play speak in dialogue, the words characters speak on stage.
  • Stage directions are directions in play scripts that tell actors what to do and how to say their lines (Usually in parentheses and italics)
  • Dramatic Monologue
  • see p. 90
      • Dramatic says that it could be acted out on a stage, and is a form of drama (theater)
      • Monologue is a long speech that one person makes, either to themselves or to another character.
      • • A dramatic monologue is written to reveal both the situation in the play and the character’s thoughts.
      • A soliloquy is just like a dramatic monologue, but it is spoken to the audience and is part of a longer play.


  • see pg. 101
  • A symbol is a person, place, or thing that stands for an idea or concept.
  • Exps:
  • Object
  • Idea
  • Rose
  • Love
  • Sunshine
  • Happiness
  • Dove
  • Peace
  • Hawk
  • War
  • Sometimes the symbols are not as clear as the examples above, because sometimes authors create their own symbolism within a story.


  • Complete pages 117-118 together
  • Remember to use our reading strategies
    • Chunking
    • TtT
    • Inference
    • Prediction
    • Etc.


  • Complete pages 143-146 together
  • Remember our literary terms

Homework Due Next Session

  • 42-47; 58-64; 75-77; 92-94 (Jeff Story); 98-100; 104-106; 117-118; Measuring Up
    • Remember to TtT and chunk!
  • Vocabulary Flashcards for all bolded words p. 39-152
    • Use directions in student packet, page 3

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