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The Teacher Tip

Mining Childhood Passions in Analysis

February 7, 2018

Adapted from Beyond Literary Analysis by Allison Marchetti & Rebekah O’Dell. 

The things we love when we are little have a way of sticking with us when we’re grown—even  when  we  haven’t  consciously  thought  about  them  in  a  long  time.  

Asking our teenage writers to take a trip back to childhood can yield a bounty of passions they might be eager to dig into once again. 


1. Ask students to recall their childhood passions by using the questions below as notebook prompts or as a questionnaire. 

When you were younger . . . 

  • What did you want to be when you grew up? (At three or four? 
  • At nine or ten?) 
  • What were your favorite toys, games, or activities?
  • What did you watch over and over and over again?
  • What did you enjoy pretending? 
  • What did you know everything about? 
  • What were your favorite childhood books? 
  • What were your favorite sections in the library?
  • What did you like learning about from an older sibling or friend? 

2. From this list of possibilities, students should highlight or circle ideas that still feel exciting to them years later as potential topics for analysis.

3. Phone a friend. Chatting with siblings, parents, or grandparents can be helpful here, so students should feel free to take these questions home and get input from those who have known them the longest and the best. 

To learn more about Beyond Literary Analysis, visit 

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