Charles: Focusing on Literacy Skills [Synthesizing]

Having read your TEXT, you will create a MIND MAP exploring different connections between the story and the world around you.  Next, they will research THREE of the connections before choosing one PROJECT-BASED FORMAT.  Finally, you will use that format to create a SYNTHESIS of both the STORY and your RESEARCH in order to fully express the impact the story had on you.  A short written piece is required to explain your choices.

Charles: A Focus on Literacy Skills

Charles is a short story written by Shirley Jackson in 1948.  A full copy of the text can be READ HERE.  This SERIES will focus on all TEN KEY LITERACY SKILLS.  The lessons are arranged in SEQUENTIAL ORDER which builds a strong foundation before moving on to the next skill.

This series is an excellent way to BEGIN your class’s semester, ensuring everyone has a strong understanding of BASIC LITERACY SKILLS before you gradually release responsibility, asking them to put those skills into practice.

Explore other SHORT STORY LITERACY SKILLS ASSIGNMENTS for more ways to instruct your students.






Readers can COMBINE ideas from the TEXT, with ideas from ADDITIONAL TEXTS, as well as with their own prior knowledge.  Through this process they develop a new, fuller understanding of a topic.  Synthesizing combines knowledge from varied sources, creating new insights into a topic.


This task is broken into a number of stages.  Ensure you read, and fully understand each stage before you begin.

Mind Mapping

Write the NAME of your story in the CENTRE BUBBLE.  Next, fill the other EIGHT bubbles with ONE WORD EACH.  Each word should be some the story made you THINK about.  FINALLY think of something most of the bubbles have in common.  This will be the THEME of your synthesis piece.

mind map



Once you have completed your mind map, select THREE of the concepts that best fit your THEME. For each concept, research ONE article (of any type) and take brief POINT FORM notes about them in the space provided.

Research Piece Number One





Research Piece Number Two





Research Piece Number Three





Project-Based Synthesis

Now that you have finished your RESEARCH choose and create ONE of the following forms to create a GESTALT SYNTHESIS that demonstrates those concepts to the best of your ability. (A GESTALT is something that when combined is more valuable than the sum of its individual parts).

Remember, your SYNTHESIS must include aspects from both the ASSIGNED TEXT and your RESEARCH PIECES.

Synthesis Forms

  • A short story (600 – 1000 words in length)
  • A collection of poetry (400 – 600 words in length)
  • A short essay (500 – 800 words in length)
  • A visual art piece (8.5 x 11 minimum)
  • A song (1.5 – 3.5 minutes in length)
  • A short live-action video (1.5 – 2.5 minutes in length)
  • A short animated video (30 – 60 seconds)
  • A photo essay (7 – 10 pictures in length)
  • OTHER – Confirm with your teacher before proceeding


You are required to WRITE a short (200 – 400) word piece explaining HOW  your finished piece was INFORMED by both the STORY and your THREE RESEARCHED ARTICLES.


Finished PROJECT shows strong connection between the text, and three researched concepts. Selected form is used to FULLY and CREATIVELY explore the all aspects of the PROJECT. All pieces are of HIGH QUALITY and show strong evidence of EDITING and REVISION. Self-Reflection shows strong METACOGNITIVE skills, thoroughly exploring all aspects of your creation.

What’s Next

You’ve reached the end of your LITERACY SKILL journey with CHARLES;  However, this is but one journey.  For each story, there is another path to be explored.  Feel free to VIEW ADDITIONAL STORIES or apply these skills and lessons to a personal favourite of your own.



Charles – WhatBinderDotCom Literacy Skills – Synthesizing.PDF





Charles: Literacy Skills Series

Charles: Annotating

Charles: Determining Importance

Charles: Summarizing

Charles: Visualizing

Charles: Inferring

Charles: Questioning

Charles: Connecting

Charles: Comparing

Charles: Predicting

Charles: Synthesizing

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