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Knowledge and Skills Statement

Multiple genres: listening, speaking, reading, writing, and thinking using multiple texts--literary elements. The student recognizes and analyzes literary elements within and across increasingly complex traditional, contemporary, classical, and diverse literary texts.

The following is one example of how to assess proficiency of this student expectation (SE) or a portion of the SE. More examples coming soon.
1 Passage
from Because of Winn-Dixie

In this story, the narrator, Opal, goes to Gertrude’s Pets to buy a leash and collar for her dog, Winn-Dixie. Opal finds a leash and collar combination that Winn-Dixie likes and talks to Otis, the man who works the counter, about ways to purchase it. Gertrude, the store parrot, screams loudly as the two talk. Opal asks Otis if she can pay in installments, which means giving her allowance, or money her parents give her each week, to help pay for the leash and collar. She also tells Otis she is a trustworthy, or responsible, person and could be helpful to him. But Opal soon finds out that it is not Otis who will make the final decision about whether she can buy the leash and collar.

Read this story to find out if Opal gets to buy the leash and collar for her dog, Winn-Dixie.

In the following excerpt, the narrator Opal visits a pet store to buy something for her dog Winn-Dixie.


Because of Winn-Dixie

by Kate DiCamillo

  1. Winn-Dixie was not allowed to come inside the store (there was a big sign on the door that said NO DOGS ALLOWED), so I held the collar and the leash up to the window. And Winn-Dixie, who was standing on the other side of the window, pulled up his lip and showed me his teeth and sneezed and wagged his tail something furious; so I knew he absolutely loved that leash and collar combination. But it was very expensive.
  2. I decided to explain my situation to the man behind the counter. I said, “I don’t get a big enough allowance to afford something this fancy. But I love this collar and leash, and so does my dog, and I was thinking that maybe you could set me up on an installment plan.”
  3. “Installment plan?” said the man.
  4. “Gertrude!” somebody screamed in a real irritating voice.
  5. I looked around. It was a parrot. She was sitting on top of one of the fish tanks, looking right at me.
  6. “An installment plan,” I said, ignoring the parrot, “you know, where I promise to give you my allowance every week and you give me the leash and the collar now.”
  7. “I don’t think I can do that,” said the man. He shook his head. “No, the owner, she wouldn’t like that.” He looked down at the counter. He wouldn’t look at me. He had thick black hair, and it was slicked back. He had on a name tag that said OTIS.
  8. “Or I could work for you,” I said. “I could come in and sweep the floors and dust the shelves and take out the trash. I could do that.”
  9. I looked around Gertrude’s Pets. There was sand and sunflower-seed shells and big dust bunnies all over the floor. I could tell that it needed to be swept.
  10. “Uh,” said Otis. He looked down at the counter some more.
  11. “Gertrude!” the parrot screamed again.
  12. “I’m real trustworthy,” I said. “But the only thing is, Winn-Dixie, my dog, he would have to come inside with me; because if we get separated for too long, he starts to howl something terrible.”
  13. “Gertrude doesn’t like dogs,” said Otis.
  14. “Is she the owner?” I asked.
  15. “Yes, I mean, no, I mean . . .” He finally looked up. He pointed at the fish tank. “That Gertrude. The parrot. I named her after the owner.”
  16. “Gertrude’s a pretty bird!” screamed Gertrude.
  17. “She might like Winn-Dixie,” I told Otis. “Almost everybody does. Maybe he could come inside and meet her, and if the two of them get along, then could I have the job?”
  18. “Maybe,” Otis mumbled. He looked down at the counter again.
  19. So I went and opened the door, and Winn-Dixie came trotting on inside the store.
  20. “Dog!” screamed Gertrude.
  21. “I know it,” Otis told her.
  22. And then Gertrude got real quiet. She sat on the top of the fish tank and cocked her head from one side to the other, looking at Winn-Dixie. And Winn-Dixie stood and stared back at her. He didn’t hardly move. He didn’t wag his tail. He didn’t smile. He didn’t sneeze. He just stared at Gertrude and she stared at him. And then she spread her wings out real far and flew and landed on top of Winn-Dixie’s head.
  23. “Dog,” she croaked.
  24. Winn-Dixie wagged his tail just a little tiny bit.
  25. And Otis said, “You can start on Monday.”
  26. “Thank you!” I told him. “You won’t be sorry.”
  27. On the way out of Gertrude’s Pets, I said to Winn-Dixie, “You are better at making friends than anybody I have ever known.”
Because of Winn-Dixie. Copyright © 2000 by Kate DiCamillo. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

The conversation between Opal and Otis in paragraphs 10 through 18 suggests that Otis is —

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Students should understand and explain that characters often do not stay the same throughout a story. Characters develop, or change, in various ways (e.g., personality, appearance, or status). Students should discuss these changes verbally and/or in writing. For example, after reading a story about Sam Houston, students should be able to describe how he changed from the beginning to the end of the story based on his interactions with other characters.
Students should discuss the significance of the interactions that take place among characters. Students should understand that how characters in a story behave around each other and how they respond to each other in conversations can reveal useful information to the reader when trying to understand the plot.


Mabry, M., & Bhavnagri, N. P. (2012). Perspective taking of immigrant children: Utilizing children's literature and related activities. Multicultural Education, 19(3) 48–54. Retrieved from

Summary: This study of promising practices looks at perspective taking and highlights the need for interpersonal understanding, especially in the U. S. with its diverse population. The article focuses on promoting perspective-taking among African-American fourth graders by using children's literature on immigrant families and includes follow up activities. The classroom reads and analyzes several different stories, including Levitin's A Piece of Home and Perez's My Diary from Here to There, seeking to understand the characters and the cultural changes they are experiencing. The historical and cultural setting has an impact on each of the protagonists in these stories.