5th Grade - Deliver Oral Responses To Literature

Speaking and Listening
Deliver oral responses to literature
Deliver oral responses to literature: Summarize significant events and details. Articulate an understanding of several ideas or images communicated by the literary work. Use examples or textual evidence from the work to support conclusions.
Be able to talk about what you have read by introducing the book, summarizing the most important events and characters, making judgments or recommendations about the book, and mentioning specific quotes and details from the book.

Sample Problems


True or False: To deliver an oral response to literature, all you need to do is read from a response to literature that you have written. (false)


Is it better to start with a general overview of the book or jump in with specific details? (start with general overview)


Should you assume that your audience has or has not read the book? (has not read the book)


Is it okay to include a short quote from the book or can you only talk about it in your own words? (it’s okay to include a short quote)


True or False: You should comment on how the book is similar to or different from real life. (true)

Learning Tips


Oral Response to Literature

You can talk about what you read in many ways, from casual conversations with a classmate to a formal report you give in front of the whole class. We are going to focus on the formal oral report since it is more involved and takes more preparation than a less formal response.

When you give a report about a book, you want to make sure you do these things:

  • Say the title and author of the book

  • Summarize important events and characters

  • Point out specific details you found interesting

  • Describe ideas and images

  • Make conclusions, judgments, and recommendations

  • Use examples from the text to support your conclusions


Summarizing Important Information

When you summarize, you need to include the most important points from the literature. You should assume that your audience has not read the book. Describe the plot, the setting, and the major characters. Make sure you answer the questions below in your summary.

  • Who are the main characters, good or bad?

  • What are the main events? Why did they happen?

  • Where and when does the story take place?

  • What else does someone who has not read the book need to know to understand your summary?


Conclusions or Judgments

Use the following questions to guide you as you make conclusions or judgments about the book.

  • Has anything like this ever happened to you?

  • How is this book like real life?

  • Does this story remind you of any other story you know?

  • What do you feel about the characters?

  • What was your favorite (or least favorite) part of the story?

  • Did anything in this story surprise of puzzle you?

  • If you could be one of the characters in this story, which one would you be?

  • Is there anything in this story you would change if you were the author?

  • Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?



Once you given a catchy introduction and summary, talk about specific details from the book. Don’t just list them—say why they are meaningful or important. For example, instead of saying “Strega Nona is wise”, say “Strega Nona is my favorite character because she is wise.” Make sure you include your personal response to the details. Tell your audience why they matter and why you picked them.


The Sequence for Your Oral Response to Literature

When you present your response to literature, a typical organizational structure is:

  • Brief introduction that includes a catchy opening, the title, and the author of the book

  • Summary of important events and characters

  • Point out ideas, images, and specific details from the book

  • Make conclusions, judgments, or recommendations

Think about making a sandwich. The introduction and conclusion are like the pieces of bread. The filling is the summary and details. The middle part should go from general ideas to more specific examples. This way, you give your audience an overview of the book and then fill in smaller details. If you gave the details first, the audience would have to create the larger picture for themselves, which is harder to do.

Extra Help Problems


True or False: You should only talk about the book, not about your personal thoughts and opinions about it. (false)


True or False: You should assume that everyone in your audience has read the book you are talking about already. (false)


What is it called when you talk about the important events and characters from the book? (summarizing)


What should you include in your introduction? (a catchy opening, the title of the book and the author)


Should you tell about specific details first or give a summary of important events? (summary first)


True or False: You can mention if this story reminds you of another book you have read and why. (true)


True or False: You can mention how you feel about the main character. (true)


True or False: You can mention what your favorite or least favorite part of the book was. (true)


True or False: You can mention if anything in the book surprised you. (true)


True or False: You can mention if something in the book puzzled you. (true)


True or False: You can mention which of the characters in the story you felt you had the most in common with. (true)


True or False: You can mention if there was anything in the story that you wanted to change. (true)


True or False: You can mention whether or not you would recommend this book for your audience to read. (true)


True or False: You should mention the story’s setting. (true)


True or False: You can talk about ideas or themes that you noticed. (true)


True or False: You should be sure to include the major plot points of your story. (true)


True or False: You should only talk about the characters that you liked. (false)


True or False: You should only talk about the characters that were good people. (false)


True or False: You should list all of the characters’ names for your audience, whether or not they were major characters. (false)


True or False: You can mention characters that you admire or really dislike. (true)


What are examples of ideas from a book that you could point out? (justice, love, hope, friendship, sacrifice)


What are examples of images from a book that you could point out? (


True or False: You can include as many details in an oral response to literature as you can in a written report. (false)


True or False: Your details should be chosen to support your judgments or conclusions. (true)


True or False: You should use specific examples from the book, including short quotes in the author’s words, to support your conclusions, recommendations, or judgments. (true)


Related Games


Copyright ©2009 Big Purple Hippos, LLC