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Fairy tales are not just for elementary readers; even middle and high school students may use fairy tales as tools for extending beyond reading comprehension and practicing close reading analysis skills. “The Emperor’s New Clothes” by Hans Christian Andersen is a comedic and satirical short story about two swindlers who convince an emperor of a ridiculous lie that comes at the cost of his subjects. English Language Arts teachers may assign this set of rigorous questions to complement the story and evaluate students’ high-order skills. An answer key and copy of the public domain narrative are provided. Materials are delivered in printable Word Document and PDF formats. By engaging with this close reading activity, students will:

  • Identify what the text states explicitly as well as implicitly
  • Explore how complex characters think, behave, and interact with others
  • Contrast the current emperor to those of the past, using the text for reference
  • Discern the function of a given passage
  • Apply knowledge of literary devices including dramatic irony and situational irony
  • Explore nuances in words with similar meanings in order to choose the most appropriate synonym for a given term
  • Explore implied themes about society
  • Examine how the story conforms to conventions of fairy tale literature
  • Make a claim about which human vice is most scrutinized in the story
  • Cite textual evidence in support of claims and ideas
  • Write ideas with clarity, accuracy, and precision