Point of View Teaching Activities and Ideas

Teaching point of view

These Exploring ELA blog posts take Common Core ELA standards and explore them in-depth. They offer lesson plan ideas, reading ideas, and other solutions that will help you teach each standard! Today’s blog post is all about point of view teaching activities and ideas. Point of view is covered in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade in the Literature domain. Then, it is introduced as an informational standard in 3rd grade. I’ll discuss how CCSS builds this standard from grade level to grade level, plus I’ll provide some fun and engaging activities for students to complete to help them learn all about point of view.

Point of View Standards

Here are the standards that cover point of view within Common Core’s domains:

  • RL1.6-Identify who is telling the story at various points in a text.
  • RL2.6- Acknowledge differences in the points of view of characters, including by speaking in a different voice for each character when reading the dialogue aloud.
  • RL3.6- Distinguish their own point of view from that of the narrator or those of the characters.
  • RI3.6- Distinguish their own point of view from that of the author of a text.
  • RL4.6- Compare and contrast the point of view from which different stories are narrated, including the difference between first- and third-person narrations.

The five key topics that we’re going to focus on today are anchor charts, book suggestions, Literature focus, and Informational focus.

Anchor Charts Teaching Point of View

Point of view anchor chart idea.

This Anchor Chart helps show that Point of View is whose eyes you see the story through. Using pronouns to help students identify point of view will be the key to success, such as I, you, he/she, they. An anchor chart can help first and second graders when they’re focusing on simply identifying who is talking.

1st and 3rd person point of view anchor chart.

This Chart-Style anchor allows the students to get interactive! As a class, you can keep track of books that you are reading and identify the points of view!

Strong Mentor Texts

Here are some my suggested read alouds for Literature and Informational standards as part of point of view teaching activities and ideas. They are all Common Core aligned and each comes with an Amazon affiliate link for you.

Point of view book recommendations.

Key skills to hit- character’s opinion, how a character feels about something, compare to own

Mentor texts for authors purpose.

Although this image says author’s purpose, these book topics can cover point of view, too. These are for third and fourth grade, which is where point of view starts to get taught in informational lessons (see links below for more information on point of view teaching activities and ideas).

Key skills to hit- find the author’s point of view, compare the author’s point of view to their own

Narration: Who is Talking?

Introduction to point of view activity.

(Resource shown: RL1.6)

In first grade and second grade, we want students to be able to identify WHO is telling the story in fiction texts. This is students’ first exposure to narration, which is essential to understanding point of view. First, introduce the different types of point of view, such as first person and third person. You can choose to teach second person, however, they’re going to focus more on first and third person narrative. Common core also wants them to be able to identify who is telling the story at different points of the story.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Practice with a lot of read alouds. When choosing your read-alouds, be sure to vary the narration.  A good sampling of first and third person narrations should be represented in your read alouds. See the strong books suggested above for point of view teaching activities and ideas! As you read, stop (often) and ask: WHO is telling the story? *5-10 times per read-aloud* This repeated questioning strategy will help students become accustomed to thinking about WHO is telling the story, throughout the entire story. Once you’ve exposed your students to this on several occasions, go back to those books. Reread them and this time, when asking WHO is telling the story, you can start to discuss narration and point of view.

Point of view identification activity.

(Resource: Activity pulled from RL1.6 mini-lessons)

Then, move on to practice activities. Students will need to practice both the act of identifying who is talking and which type of point of view is being used. The picture above shows an activity from my ELA unit that helps student practice identifying which type of point of view is being used.

Utilize Recognizable Texts

(Activity available in both RL1.6 and RL2.6)

Then, pull in many familiar texts that students can retell easily. This example is an activity from my 1st and 2nd grade POV unit. The students are using quotes that Mama, Papa, Baby, and the narrator say in Goldilocks. Students should be fairly comfortable with this story from repeated readings. So, being able to identify random quotes from the story will help strengthen the act of identifying who is talking at a given point in a text.

Comparing Two Characters’ Points of View

(Printable on left from RL1.6) (Mini lesson activity from RL2.6)

Fractured fairy tales are absolutely perfect for students to be able to identify the difference of point of view that a narrator holds in a text. Being able to hear a fractured opinion about a fairy tale character that the students are used to hearing is great for students’ schema!

In CCSS, the goal is for students to be able to discuss how the narrator (or characters) feel about other characters and about events in the plot. By 2nd Grade, students should already be able to tell you WHO is telling the story, so, our next step is to start the discussion of narration vs. dialogue. WHO is telling the story isn’t always WHO is talking.

And here comes one of my favorite thing about Read Alouds: VOICES!

An essential part of read alouds is the impact it has on student reading and fluency. For point of view, it is highly beneficial for students to hear (and speak in) different voices when different characters are speaking. This practice enables them to switch their mindset to different characters and different points of view! So, as you are reading aloud (using different voices), stop and talk: discuss how each character feels, what they are thinking, etc.  Students will begin to use voices in their reading, and, more importantly, think about those different characters’ feelings!

Introduce Point of View Within Nonfiction

(Nonfiction mini-lesson activities pulled from RI3.6)

So, we know WHO is telling the story and HOW they are feeling. In 3rd grade, we will introduce point of view in nonfiction texts, as well. Students will be able to discuss who is “narrating” or giving the information. It is important to discuss that in nonfiction the narrator, whose perspective we are observing, is a real person. Then, you can allow for discussions on that person’s feelings about the topic. Here, it will help to choose topics that the students care about, like: Athletes, Video Games, Current Events, Acts of Service, Homework Requirements, Animals, etc. High-Interest Topics make students think about THEIR OWN point of view.

Another goal for CCSS in 3rd grade is comparison. It is time to start comparing points of view in both FICTION and NONFICTION texts. Not only will students be able to compare different character’s points of view, but they will also start to compare these to THEIR OWN point of view.  This is a great opportunity to start working with Venn Diagrams, Side-by-Side charts or other graphic organizers to help students compare points of view!

Need Point of View Teaching Activities and Ideas?

Check out these 1st-4th grade POV resources.     

Regardless of the grade level, point of view is such a fun skill to teach!

The things to remember are:

  • A variety of STRONG BOOKS
  • Repeated QUESTIONS strategy
  • THINK Alouds
  • USE THOSE VOICES!
  • HIGH-INTEREST Topics
  • FOCUS on pronouns
  • Anchor Charts

For more activity and lesson plan ideas for ELA, check out my Exploring ELA blog series!

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