What are students learning?

Reading Literature

Grade 5: English Language Arts

Inclusive Big Idea #6: Compare points of view

Standard: Describe how a narrator’s or speaker’s point of view influences how events are described. RL.5.6

How could I teach this?

Think about how instructional strategies and activities can give students multiple ways to engage with learning. One way won’t work for all, so how can you remove and reduce barriers for all students?

  • Anchor Text: Use an anchor text such as Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick, which tells two independent stories which are ultimately connected. Have students describe how the common elements from the stories are the same and different depending on the narrator of the story. Learn more about accessing grade-level text in this TIP Sheet.
  • Venn Diagram: Students can write or sort the points of view into a Venn diagram, showing which are the same and which are different. Teachers and students can discuss the similarities/differences. Learn more about graphic organizers in this TIP Sheet.
  • Grand Conversations: To delve deeper into the point of view of the narrative, conduct a grand conversation with the class. Sitting in a circle or with a small group, pose questions about various points of view for students to answer. Questions may include:
    • What is the narrative point of view?
    • How does this point of view influence your interpretation of the story?
    • How does the author develop the point of view through the narrator?
    • Who told the story? Was the narrator a character in the story? How did the narrator affect your reading of the story?
    • How would the text have changed if a different character told the story?
    • Why do you think the author chose the narrator he/she did to tell the story?
  • Think Aloud: The purpose for asking students questions about texts is to get them into the habit of self-questioning as they read by themselves. To model this, read aloud a book in front of the class. As you read the story, analyze the point of view of the narrator and how this point of view influences the reader’s interpretation of the story. Use signal words in the dialogue to help identify the point of view. 

Don’t stop here! Remember to reduce barriers for all students.

Make reducing barriers a process - take a few minutes to think about your process! Is there a barrier related to:

  • interest or engagement? Think about how to incorporate student’s lived experiences, culture, and interests… 
  • background knowledge? Think about how to highlight key ideas and define key vocabulary… 
  • showing what they know? Think about having options for how they use learning tools and technology to communicate…

For example, one possible barrier is the amount of information that the lesson requires a student to hold in mind.

Ideas to reduce this barrier could include:

  • pair text with images or objects to support memory and understanding
  • be concise
  • use collaborative groups
  • use guided notes to track pronouns in the experiences and then match experiences to narrators

 Use these Inclusive Strategies to help reduce barriers.

Tell me more about this Inclusive Big Idea (I need a refresher)

Brush up on the content of this Inclusive Big Idea. It will help you and your colleagues to understand and teach this content better.

  • Why Do We Teach Point of View/Author’s Purpose? Determining the author’s purpose and the point of view of a text can help students deepen their understanding of what they read and read with a critical lens. These are lifelong skills readers need when critically analyzing text to distinguish different perspectives and/or determine propaganda.
  • What Vocabulary Should I Know and Teach?
    • characters- person/persons in a story
    • setting- place where the story happens
    • plot- sequence of events involving characters in conflict situations
    • point of view- perspective from which the story is told
    • first person point of view- a character is the narrator who tells the story
    • third person point of view- story is told by an outside observer who is not in the story
    • author’s purpose- the reason an author writes something
    • inform- to teach
    • entertain- to enjoy, for pleasure, usually a story
    • persuade- to convince someone
  • What is First Person Point of View?
    • A character in the story is the narrator who tells the story. The narrator uses the pronouns I, me, and we.
    • In first person point of view, readers learn about events as the narrator learns about them.
    • “When I got up this morning, I brushed my Then I got dressed and ate my breakfast.”
  • What is Third Person Point of View?
    • The story is being told by an outside observer (someone who is not in the story). The author uses the pronouns he, she, and they.
    • In third person point of view, the author can tell about the thoughts, actions, and feelings of the other characters.
    • “The princess was locked in the tower. She had no way to escape. She hoped that a prince would rescue her. Her wish came true. He came and took her to his castle.”


Looking for more suggestions?  Target student common misconceptions, build on interdisciplinary links, and implement strategies and supports across multiple lessons or units.

Go beyond the specific standard! These examples can spark ideas to generalize related skills from the content to real-world experiences for all students.

Common Student Misconceptions

  • Point of View: Students commonly mistake point of view for what the author thinks or a character’s opinion about something. Students must understand that an author’s use of POV influences how the story is told. If a story is told from first person POV, the author is presenting the events from the personal perspective and experience of a single character. If a story is told from third person POV, the author is intentionally limiting (third person limited) or sharing (third person omniscient) the reader’s awareness of the thoughts and feelings of all characters to let the story unfold.
  • Second Person Point of View: While less common, there is a second person POV where stories are told directly for the narrator to a specific individual, signaled by dialogue that speaks directly to the reader as if he were a character.
  • Social Studies: When reviewing primary and secondary source documents, which are informational texts, ask students to identify the pronouns used in the document and identify whether the text is from the first or third person point of view. Talk about the advantages and disadvantages of each when it comes to accounts of historical or current events. Students can also practice identifying author’s purpose and point of view skills when discussing campaign advertisements and speeches. Point of view helps students understand how people can interpret the same information in different ways.

Explore other Inclusive Big Ideas to think about the content you are teaching. How can you connect what you are teaching now to what has been taught before or what will be taught in the future?

Other TIES resources:

Inclusive Big Ideas: Standards-based resources for inclusive classrooms | TIES Center

The Inclusive Big Ideas were adapted from resources created by the NCSC Project , a federal grant from the US Department of Education (PR/Award #: H373X100002), However, the contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the US Department of Education and no assumption of endorsement by the Federal government should be made.

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