Grammar Stage:

Making Empirical Observations / Acquiring Information (Pre-critical)


Identifying textual phenomenon –  the “parts”

Practical Questions: “Who?” “What?” “Where?” “When?”


What Kinds of Textual Phenomena Do We Observe?

1.          Visual Elements: Words, Phrases, Images, Chapter Titles, Epigraphs, Graphics (i.e., capital letters, line length, bold face print, italics), Typographical eccentricities or signals, etc.

2.   Story Elements: Plot, Setting, Narrative Structure (i.e., chronological order or fragmented narrative.), Character, Conflict (internal/external), Point of View, Sound (note differences in how sound is employed in film versus poetry -- ie., alliteration, onomatopoeia, rhyme scheme), Genre Conventions, Tone (conveyed through word choice, sentence structure, punctuation, rhythm, repetition, and rhyme, etc.)  

3.   Literary Elements: Sensory Details and Figurative Elements, Irony, Symbolism, Foreshadowing, Ambiguity, Metonymy, Simile, Imagery, Denotation/Connotation, etc.



NOTE: What do you see?? Whether or not we are aware of it, give ourselves credit, or simply haven’t developed a broader vocabulary to match our knowledge of texts, we are actually very intuitive readers of texts…. and texts of all kinds. The observations we make at the grammar stage of reading may seem irrelevant to you initially but provide important clues as to the text's broader meanings and messages. Pay attention, then, to what you observe in this stage of reading, taking copious notes and recording your initial impressions and observations with care. 








Things to Keep in Mind When Selecting an Element to Write About…