Ask students, after reading a story, to draw the setting and write one sentence about how the setting is important to the story.
The range of responses can vary so it is helpful to have a simple rubric to determine mastery of the skill.
- The student is able to give the name of the setting in very generic terms but cannot explain the importance of the setting (e.g., outside or inside).
- The student is able to give the name of the setting in more detailed terms and explain how the setting helped the events in the story happen. (For example, the student might say “It was outside during winter so it makes sense that the boy slipped on ice. He could not have slipped on ice if it was summer.”)
- The student is able to name the setting specifically, give a detailed description of the setting, and explain how it makes the events in the story possible (For example, the students might say, “It was a blizzard outside and the water froze, causing the boy to slip and fall. This could only occur in a blizzard because it is impossible to fall in the summer. Blizzards and frozen water cannot be found in the summer.”)
- The student is able to name the setting specifically, give a detailed description of the setting, and explain how the setting greatly impacts the story by articulating how a different setting would have a different outcome. (For example, the student might say, “It was a wild blizzard outside with lots of frozen ice and slippery grounds. In the story, the boy wiped out on ice and got hurt. If the author has picked another setting, like a beach in the tropics, the boy would not be wearing a jacket and boots, he would not be slipping on ice, and the story wouldn't have him falling. If the setting was on a beach, then the boy would be wearing a swimsuit with sunglasses and would instead maybe get knocked over by a wave!”)