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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 Lewis and Clark and Me: A Dog's Tale

In this selection, it is 1803 and Meriwether Lewis and William Clark began their journey to explore lands west of the Mississippi River. Lewis’s dog is telling this story about the time when he and Lewis were walking by the river’s edge. While at the bank of the river, a baby buffalo, known as a calf, wanders near the dog and his owner, Lewis.

Read the story to find out how the dog feels about Lewis and the buffalo calf.

In 1803, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark began their journey to explore lands west of the Mississippi River. Lewis’s dog, the narrator in this story, traveled with them on their journey.

In this selection, it is 1803 and Meriwether Lewis and Willi from

Lewis and Clark and Me:

A Dog’s Tale

by Laurie Myers

  1. Lewis and I had stopped by the river’s edge to survey the flow of the water when the calf wandered up. I do not know what it was thinking. Probably nothing. I’ve never considered buffaloes to be smart. Anyway, this buffalo calf took one look at me and went straight to Lewis.
  2. When Lewis walked on, the calf followed, right on his heels. That calf was acting as though Lewis were his mother.
  3. Now, when Lewis and I walked, we sometimes split up. I’d hear an animal, or smell something that I needed to check out, and I would head in a different direction. Not this time. I stayed with Lewis and the calf, but I walked a few yards behind. The calf kept looking back at me. Maybe he was hoping I would disappear so that he could have Lewis all to himself, or something ridiculous like that.
  4. Lewis stopped by the river again. The calf stayed by his side. I stared at the calf. Why was he attaching himself to Lewis? Did he think he was going to stay with Lewis permanently?
  5. I needed to scare off the calf. That would put an end to this nonsense. I was sure Lewis didn’t want him around any more than I did. I decided a growl would be enough. After all, this was just a calf. Of course, buffaloes are stubborn. If I needed to, I could throw my paws into the air and play the part of bear-dog. That would work.
  6. I took a deep breath in and started a low growl. It was not my most vicious growl, just a low, constant rumble to let that calf know he wasn’t welcome. The calf looked over his shoulder at me, then took a step closer to Lewis. That didn’t make any sense. Lewis and I were a team; moving close to Lewis was like moving close to me.
  7. Next, Lewis did something that surprised me. He reached out his hand and placed it on the calf’s head, the same way he put his hand on my head sometimes. That was the last thing I expected. Could it be that Lewis wanted the calf to stay with us? What was Lewis thinking?
  8. “Where’s your mother?” Lewis said.
  9. At that moment everything became clear, like the streams in the mountains. I looked at the calf’s eyes. He didn’t have those piercing black eyes that the adult buffaloes have when they’re mad. His eyes were soft, tinted with fear.
  10. The calf was afraid of me. How could I have missed that? The calf reeked of fear. He was twice my size, but he was frightened nonetheless. I backed away.
  11. Lewis scratched the calf’s ears. I was touched by the gentle way Lewis handled him.
  12. Lewis turned and started back toward the boat, the buffalo calf close at his heels. I followed, keeping my distance so as not to scare the calf. When we arrived at the boat, Lewis and I got in. The calf watched us from the shore as we pulled away.
  13. Suddenly it all seemed very funny to me. Imagine a buffalo calf thinking it could be a part of our lives. How in the world would he get in and out of the boat? I thought about the ridiculous sight. It’s times like that when I wish I could laugh. I wagged my tail.
  14. Now, when I think back on the whole situation, I guess I was jealous. I see that in young dogs. A new puppy comes along, all playful and cunning, and everyone pats it and plays with it. Then the big dogs jump all over themselves trying to get noticed. Well, I didn’t jump all over myself, but I suppose that if it had gone much further, I might have. My feelings for Lewis have always run strong.
From LEWIS AND CLARK AND ME © 2002 by Laurie Myers. Reprinted by permission of Henry Holt & Company, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Which sentence best reveals the dog’s view of his relationship with Lewis?

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Show Answer
When students analyze relationships among characters, they understand what has happened between characters and how these interactions may affect a plot overall. Students should examine how the relationships among characters influence the different plot elements. In some cases, those relationships add to the conflict of the story, whereas in others they contribute to the solution.
an element of plot when the opposition of persons or forces brings about dramatic tension central to the plot of a story that may be internal as a psychological conflict within a character (e.g., man versus himself) or external as a physical or outward conflict between the character and something/someone else (e.g., man versus man, man versus nature, or man versus society)
Conflicts among characters are marked by disagreement or opposition. Students are expected to identify those conflicts, analyze their origin, and anticipate possible solutions. Since conflicts among characters are not always evident or explicit, sometimes they need to be inferred from the characters’ verbal and nonverbal behaviors. For example, a story may depict a group of friends that show a clear disagreement about who should have the starring role in a play or a girl who is struggling to tell her parents that she doesn't really like playing the piano.


1. Dallacqua, A.L. (2012). Exploring literary devices in graphic novels. Language Arts, 89(6), 365-–378. Retrieved from

Summary: In this article, the researcher suggests that students can use literary devices as a means to make meaning of text. The article demonstrates how graphic novels can be used to implement multimodal and visual instructional strategies that increase the reading comprehension of students.

2. McConn, M. (2014). Connecting students with the human dimensions in literature: Using Brudern's Modes of Thought to deepen literary appreciation. Texas Journal of Literacy Education, 2(2),106–116. Retrieved from

Summary: This article gives teachers a framework to increase students' knowledge of narrative structure, and how it can deepen understanding and lead readers to connections that have meaning in their own lives. Focused on the narrative structure of conflict development—internal conflict and resolution—the author asked students to select a character in O'Brien's The Things They Carried, and determine if the character's conflict was external or internal, using text evidence to support their understanding of the character. Then, students wrote their own narratives, based upon the lessons learned from the reading discussions and personal explorations.