One of the most common trends in high school English classes, as well as some college writing courses is the SQUIDS assignment. Like many learning styles and strategies in academia, SQUIDS is an acronym commonly used to describe a particular writing assignment. It’s goals are listed below:
SQUIDS [Select a Quotation, Understand, Identify. Describe the Significance]
|1.||Select a Quotation.||Choose a quote that stands out in the text for its effect; find quotes that are significant to the theme of the work; select quotes that affect you as a reader. Copy the quotation; include page number. NOTE: A quotation can be from the narrative—it does NOT have to be from the dialogue of a character.|
|2.||Understand.||Prove your understanding by taking some time to consider the quotation’s relevance to the section of the work in which it is found and the work as a whole. Think about the sentence structure and its effect. Look for rhetorical effect.|
|3.||Identify.||Identify the context in which the quote appears—what happened before and after the words you chose. Where/when does it appear in the text? Categorize its status as a rhetorical or literary device|
|4.||Describing the Significance.||Be sure to connect the passage to overall themes of the book. What makes this quote important? Why does it stand out? How does it make you, the reader, take notice?|
Many students fall into the trap of explaining the plot surrounding the scene from which the quote is selected without ever truly explaining the quote’s significance and relationship to literary themes or motifs, as well as character development.
In addition, students often find it difficult to elaborate and expand on the understanding and significance behind a quote to compose a substantial essay.
Writing S.Q.U.I.D.S. style papers helps students develop critical thinking and persuasive writing skills on paper, key criteria for the essay portion of the SAT and ACT exams, as well as for term papers and theses.
Below are some helpful resources for writing these kind of essays: