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Literature Cube Topics and Ideas

by Becca Evenson

Pass (or toss) the cube from person to person as you begin discussion of a completed piece of literature. Allow time for thought as well as discussion. Learning to do this may take practice so be patient (with yourself and your students). Some students can become frustrated or embarrassed as they look for the “one correct answer”. There isn’t one. Given time, the discussions will become longer and more varied. Do not require this of children in the Discovery Stage of learning (ages up to 10-12ish)!!

Plot
Ask: What would have happened if…? Would you feel differently about this book if it had ended differently? Etc.
Example: How would the plot in Treasure Island have changed if Jim had joined with Long John Silver?
Setting
Ask: Why did the author choose ___________ for the setting of the story? How might things have been different if …? Etc.
Example: If Animal Farm had been set in the forest instead of on a homestead, would the story have the same impact?

Theme
Ask: What was the point the author was trying to make? This could be discussed in light of characters, conflicts and resolutions, or the overall story line. Etc.
Example: The Hiding Place is ultimately a story of triumph, yet the people involved endured an horrendous circumstance. How do you think someone else having that experience might have reacted to it?

Character
Ask: Who was your favorite character in the story? Why? Is there a character to which you related? Which character did you find the most troubling? Etc.
Example: The parents in Swiss Family Robinson took adversity and created home for their boys. What kind if things did they do to grow in spite of circumstance?

Compare
Compare decisions made by various characters, compare two characters from the same book, compare different books from the same time period or genre, etc. You could also compare books to the screen or stage productions of the same work.
Example: How do the sisters, Elizabeth and Jane Bennett, view their parents? William Golding wrote Lord of the Flies to express his view of the world following WWII. C.S. Lewis wrote The Screwtape Letters. In spite of similar experiences, what differences do the two authors display in the themes of their books?
Heart (drawn)-What did you love about the book?