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Lesson Plan

A Directed Listening-Thinking Activity for "The Tell-Tale Heart"

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A Directed Listening-Thinking Activity for "The Tell-Tale Heart"

Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Five 60-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Che-Mai Gray

Marysville, Washington


International Literacy Association



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From Theory to Practice



In this lesson, students participate in a Directed Listening–Thinking Activity (DLTA), in which they listen to "The Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe and answer prediction questions at designated stopping points during the reading. Students then discuss and write a written response to the story at the conclusion of the lesson, in the form of either an acrostic poem or comic strip. This lesson works well at Halloween or at the beginning of a mystery unit.

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  • Acrostic Poems: Students can use this online interactive tool to create an acrostic poem as a response to Poe’s story.

  • Comic Creator: Students can use this online interactive tool to create a comic to summarize Poe’s story.

  • 6 + 1 Trait® Writing model: This website describes the 6 + 1 Trait® Writing model, a powerful framework that enhances, supports, and helps students in learning writing techniques.

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Duke, N.K., & Pearson, P.D. (2002). Effective practices for developing reading comprehension. In A.E. Farstrup & S.J. Samuels (Eds.), What research has to say about reading instruction (3rd ed., pp. 205-242). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

  • Good comprehension instruction involves explicit instruction and modeling of specific reading strategies.

  • Students should practice the reading comprehension strategies by applying them to other texts.

  • Routines, or transactional strategies, [e.g., the Directed Listening-Thinking Activity (DLTA) or question—answer relationships (QAR)] are an integral part of a comprehensive literacy curriculum.

  • The DLTA is an effective method for using prior knowledge to improve students' listening comprehension, schema, and thinking skills (Stauffer, 1975).


Lloyd, S. (2004). Using comprehension strategies as a springboard for student talk. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 48(2), 114-124.

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