When Would You Like to Meet?

TWIST Analysis Graphic Organizers

A growing trend in ELA has been the incorporation of vertical teaming strategies in classrooms. These strategies include a number of acronyms, analogous to “PEMDAS”, but for English class. This “order of operations” helps students through a prose analysis by suggesting to them what and where they should start when interpreting a section of literature.

With the TWIST method, students are asked to look for and analyze the following terms: tone, word choice, imagery and detail, style, and theme. When completing a TWIST, students may use a paragraph or even a few pages, looking at each of these items systematically, both sequentially and as they relate to each other. For example, when examining tone and word choice, students should find a correlation between the two. The graphic above illustrates how each part of the TWIST should be connected, as each element overlaps with those adjacent to it.

TWIST Helps You Answer the Following Questions:

  1. How do great writers create a tone that a reader can feel through their work?
  2. What are the parts of literature, and how can we learn to analyze its meaning?
  3. How do literary elements affect a reader's understanding of a work of literature?

Breaking Down TWIST

Before reading, it is a good idea to introduce students to the steps of TWIST and go over any terms that may be new to them.


The general character or attitude of a place, piece of writing, situation, etc. Tone words should always be adjectives and convey one of the following attitudes: Positive, Negative, Humorous (Ironic/Sarcastic), Sorrowful (Fearful, Worried), or Neutral.

Positive Negative Humorous Sorrowful Neutral
  • Amiable
  • Calm
  • Confident
  • Excited
  • Joyful
  • Proud
  • Surprised
  • Whimsical
  • Accusing
  • Angry
  • Critical
  • Furious
  • Hateful
  • Insulting
  • Quarrelsome
  • Threatening
  • Comical
  • Ironic
  • Humorous
  • Joking
  • Mocking
  • Pompous
  • Satiric
  • Teasing
  • Anxious
  • Apologetic
  • Despairing
  • Fearful
  • Horrific
  • Mournful
  • Pessimistic
  • Somber
  • Apathetic
  • Candid
  • Detached
  • Earnest
  • Formal
  • Objective
  • Questioning
  • Reminiscent

Word Choice

The author’s use of specific and accurate words, to “show” the reader rather than to “tell” them. Adjectives are extremely descriptive, and nouns are very particular. When looking for word choice, students will notice ‘clusters’ of words that evoke the same meaning or tone.

Imagery and Detail

Imagery is visually descriptive or figurative language in a literary work. For this element, students want to look at the use of onomatopoeia, alliteration, similes, metaphors, hyperbole, analogies, personification, and euphemisms. These are all details that the author will use to give a sense of emotion to the reader. Very descriptive, figurative language paints a picture in readers’ minds, making this term exceedingly important for students to examine.


Literary style refers to the way that the author uses words – the author’s vocabulary, sentence structure, figurative language, and sentence arrangement. The way an author presents the information determines the way in which the reader interprets it. The wording itself lends insight into the emotions or concepts the author wants convey with the scene, setting, or characters.

Types of Literary Styles
  • Expository
  • Descriptive
  • Persuasive or Argumentative
  • Narrative
  • Original
  • Informal
  • Formal
  • Journalistic
  • Archaic


The subject of a piece of writing, usually the author's thoughts on a specific topic. When looking at theme, students should use the other parts of the TWIST to piece together information about the author's intentions. By looking at the tone and imagery, it makes it possible to pinpoint the topic. From there, students will need to infer the author's thoughts on it. Using imagery and style will help them uncover the attitude of the author on the topic.

TWIST Analysis Lesson Plan

This lesson will overview the TWIST model of interpreting prose and assist students in learning how to use this systematic method of hypothesis and discovery. This will lead students to understand the deeper meanings contained in the text by completing a prose analysis.

Grade Level: 6-12

Time: 45-Minute Class Meeting


Although, this lesson can be used for multiple grade levels, below are examples of the Common Core State Standards for Grades 9-10. Please see your Common Core State Standards for the correct grade-appropriate strands.

  • ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.1: Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text
  • ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.2: Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text
  • ELA-Literacy.RL.9-10.4: Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language evokes a sense of time and place; how it sets a formal or informal tone)


Students will be able to read and explain the elements of prose using the TWIST method on a segment of a literary work.

TWIST Example for “The Scarlet Ibis”

Using the first paragraph of “The Scarlet Ibis”, students can depict, explain, and predict what will happen in the story, while getting a good idea of the author’s voice in a prose analysis.

It was in the clove of seasons, summer was dead but autumn had not yet been born, that the ibis lit in the bleeding tree. The flower garden was stained with rotting brown magnolia petals and ironweeds grew rank amid the purple phlox. The five o'clocks by the chimney still marked time, but the oriole nest in the elm was untenanted and rocked back and forth like an empty cradle. The last graveyard flowers were blooming, and their smell drifted across the cotton field and through every room of our house, speaking softly the names of our dead.

"The Scarlet Ibis" James Hurst



Grief: Memories of those who have died; perhaps a child.


Dead, not born, bleeding, strained, rotting, brown, ironweeds, rank, untenanted, empty cradle, graveyard, drifted, dead.


“…the oriole nest in the elm was untenanted and rocked back and forth like an empty cradle.”: Image of an empty nest.


The author is using foreshadowing in the following lines: “summer was dead, but autumn was not yet born”; “…last graveyard flowers were blooming”; “speaking softly the names of our dead”.


The narrator speaks in a past tense tone using words and imagery that sound like the theme could be the passing or memory of a loved one.

After Reading

If this is your first time doing TWIST with your classes a great idea is to ask students to try filling out the worksheet individually then pair them up, or put them into groups, to create a poster. As you do these more often, you can challenge students by asking that they do it individually.

Once they have finished their worksheet and it has been checked, students can begin to create their storyboard of the prose analysis. Afterwards, you can have students present their storyboards and findings to the class! Just check out our article on how to present a storyboard!

TWIST Example

Find more activities like this in our Middle School ELA and High School ELA Categories!

Schedule a free Guided Session with us to become a Storyboard That pro!

*(This Will Start a 2-Week Free Trial - No Credit Card Needed)
© 2022 - Clever Prototypes, LLC - All rights reserved.