Point of View

Teaching Point of View

Point of view definitions:

  • the perspective from which the story is told
  • a person’s way of seeing the world
  • a person’s point of view can be based on both fact and opinion, as well as knowledge, experience and feelings
  • the author’s attitude, broad view, or mindset in relation to the content – “where the author is coming from”
  • the stance an author has chosen to take; revealed through devices used in the text (e.g. words and actions in a literary text or information included or omitted in a factual text)

Determining point of view:

  • we can learn what someone’s point of view is by using examples from the text, our own reasoning, knowledge, experience and observations
  • we can learn what someone’s point of view is by carefully studying what a person says and does to learn about their beliefs
  • we can learn what someone’s point of view is by carefully studying what a person says and does and then making our own inferences about his or her perspective
  • we can also learn about another person’s point of view by listening to what other people say about that person
  • a writer’s point of view can often be understood by looking at the words or phrases he/she chooses. Words and phrases can give us clues about how the author feels about a subject
  • a writer’s point of view can be revealed through the devices he or she uses (irony, wit, foreshadowing, understatement, exaggeration, etc.)
  • sometimes illustrations and photographs that accompany a writer’s work, give us clues about what the author’s point of view may be
  • young students often determine point of view through empathy. Asking a young child, “What might your mom be thinking if she knew about you being here all by yourself?” or “If I was hearing your dad’s voice right now what would he be saying?” or “If you were a melting snowman on a sunny winter’s day, how might you be feeling?”

Point of view and Critical Literacy

  • all writing has point of view in a sense that nothing is without bias
  • understanding point of view assists students in being aware that all text is created for a particular purpose
  • understanding point of view assists students in being aware that all writing is aimed at certain audience
  • when we read from a critical stance, readers have the power to envision alternate ways of viewing the author’s topic
  • reading critically allows readers to exert their power by questioning the author and illustrator’s point of view and possibly identifying hidden messages or implications
  • identifying someone else’s point of view means that the reader is empowered to either accept or reject that view
  • proficient readers broaden their understanding of subjects of interest to them by consulting several sources, some which may offer differing points of view

How do you start looking for an author’s point of view?

  • pick out adjectives (clumsy child/agile child) which might give you information about how the writer feels about his/her subject
  • after reading a paragraph, write a phrase (5-7 words) which best describes the author’s perspective
  • make a t-chart and put facts on one side and opinions on the other
  • using clues from the text and your own background knowledge make some inferences about the author’s point of view might be
  • asking yourself, “Whose voice do I hear in this piece of writing? What is that person’s opinions?”

Please click on link below for Word format:

Teaching Point of View

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