How NoRedInk Supports a Variety of Literary Analysis Assignments

Stack of books for literary analysis

From targeted skill-building exercises to writing prompts about dozens of popular novels, NoRedInk gives educators many valuable tools for teaching literary analysis.

Reading a piece of literature with your class creates a variety of valuable learning opportunities. Literary analysis assignments not only help students make discoveries about the novels, plays, stories, and poems they read, but help them become stronger writers and come to a deeper understanding of the world around them.

To respond to literary analysis questions in a productive way, students first need to develop a range of literary analysis skills. Plot summarization comes naturally to many students; tasks like examining an author’s craft or tracing a theme throughout a piece take a bit more practice.

To that end, NoRedInk provides a sprawling library of learning resources, skill-building activities, chapter-based novel prompts, and scaffolded literary analysis essays that you can use to help students understand how to analyze a literary passage.

Build literary analysis skills through practice and pre-writing

There are many skills involved in writing a literary analysis, which is why it’s often worthwhile to spend some time mastering relevant competencies with your class before jumping into a full-fledged literary analysis assignment.

NoRedInk’s adaptive, mastery-based Practice exercises offer an engaging way to build and reinforce key literary analysis skills. For instance, our claims, evidence, and reasoning learning pathway covers how to find and use strong evidence to support a claim, whereas our embedding evidence pathways cover everything from providing context clues for literary evidence to using the rules of MLA citation. (Check out this resource for an overview of the NoRedInk Practice exercises that are ideal for students who are learning about literary analysis.)

As you prepare to transition from skill-building to writing, be sure to share our “Writing a Literary Analysis Essay” interactive tutorial to give students a primer on the most important elements of literary analysis. Then, consider asking students to use pre-writing resources to gather evidence, identify themes, and organize their thoughts before they start writing.

Use novel prompts to check for comprehension and get students writing

Providing ample writing opportunities improves student writing fluency and helps students fine-tune literary analysis techniques. NoRedInk’s chapter-by-chapter (or, in the case of plays, act-by-act) Quick Write prompts check student reading comprehension and support analysis and reflection as you work through a piece of literature. These low-stakes, short-form writing prompts come in three variations:

  • Analyze: These prompts ask students to analyze the key ideas and craft choices in a chapter and support their analyses with evidence.
  • Reflect: These prompts invite students to make personal connections to one part of a chapter.
  • Argue: These prompts ask students to develop a short, textual evidence-based argument around an idea from a chapter.

NoRedInk has chapter-by-chapter Quick Write prompts for over 25 popular works, including The Great GatsbyHatchetThe Hate U GiveThe House on Mango StreetPersepolis, and Romeo and Juliet. You also have the option of using more than 20 prompt stems to easily create Quick Writes for whatever piece of literature you’re teaching.

In addition to Quick Write prompts about these long-form works, NoRedInk includes poem-, short story-, and excerpt-based Quick Writes that feature several discussion questions that promote rich, wide-ranging classroom conversations. These prompts are a great way to transition between skill-building and extended analysis of a single work, or to keep students’ literary analysis skills sharp between novels.

Guide students through the process of writing a full literary analysis

Drafting a full literary analysis essay at the end of a unit is a daunting proposition for young writers. To ease student anxieties, NoRedInk Literary Analysis Guided Drafts deliver scaffolding throughout the writing process in the form of lessons, tutorials, and tips. When paired with the pre-writing resources mentioned above, this scaffolding ensures students clearly understand both what is expected of them and how to meet these expectations.

NoRedInk offers an assortment of Guided Draft prompts for over 35 pieces of literature, including all works covered by chapter-by-chapter Quicks Writes as well as works like 1984HamletThe Kite Runner, and Pride and Prejudice.

To get a sense of how teachers build a unit around one of these long-form novel analysis assignments, check out this sample literary analysis essay plan. Designed to occupy two weeks, this plan incorporates a mix of targeted skills development, pre-writing, and scaffolded drafting.

Join the NoRedInk community today

As a comprehensive writing program, NoRedInk can support your goals regardless of whether you want to bolster students’ analytical skills, you’re looking for a collection of quick, engaging bell-ringers about the previous night’s reading, or you need resources and activities for teaching the entire process of literary analysis.

Sign up for free to get access to a wealth of literary analysis resources before teaching your next novel!

Thomas collaborates with colleagues from across NoRedInk to craft stories that illustrate how NoRedInk ​​builds stronger writers. He holds a BA in Religious Studies from Occidental College.