Literary Elements are the Structures to Fiction

Literary elements are the components of stories. Children have exposure to literary elements at a young age.

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What are literary elements?

Setting, character, plot, mood, and theme are five examples. Setting is where the story takes place. I have students think about how the settings are relevant to the story. Let’s use Little Red Riding Hood as an example. The story takes place in the woods and at grandma’s house. This is relevant to the story because one of the characters is a wolf. The wolf dresses up as her grandma so the writer planned that Little Red Riding Hood would go to her grandma’s house.

Character and Mood

Characterization and mood are examples of literary elements. These graphic organizers support the students’ thinking.

The main character is referred to as the protagonist. In addition stories also have an antagonist. An antagonist is the character that creates obstacles for the protagonist. Often times, the antagonist is the “bad guy”. For example, Darth Vader from Star Wars and Lord Voldemort from Harry Potter are antagonists. The characters’ thinking and actions create a mood for readers. An antagonist can create moods such as anger, shock, arrogance, greed, and foolishness. A protagonist can create several moods such as determination and courage.

Plot and Theme

Plot is a significant element in a story. Identifying the events that compromise the plot shows the students’ understanding.

The series of events that happen in a story is called plot. The plot has many parts such as exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. The exposition introduces the characters and the setting. The rising action has events that build suspense. The climax is the turning point of the story when the character faces the obstacle. After the protagonist deals with the problem, the falling action starts. After that, the resolution wraps up the story. Every story has a lesson to be learned that the reader can apply outside of the story. This is the theme. For example, “time is precious” is a theme.

As students deepen their understanding of the literary elements, their comprehension improves. Students know what to read for and build their confidence in reading.

You may also be interested in reading Flexible Literature Circles can Empower Students.