Grades 11-12: A Need for Sleep: A Close Reading of a Soliloquy from King Henry IV, Part ll


5 apple rating


Reading Literature

RL.11-12.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.

RL.11-12.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including words with multiple meanings or language that is particularly fresh, engaging, or beautiful. (Include Shakespeare as well as other authors.)

Speaking and Listening

SL.11-12.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11-12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

SL.11-12.1(a) Come to discussions prepared, having read and researched material under study; explicitly draw on that preparation by referring to evidence from texts and other research on the topic or issue to stimulate a thoughtful, well-reasoned exchange of ideas.

SL.11-12.1(b) Work with peers to promote civil, democratic discussions and decision-making, set clear goals and deadlines, and establish individual roles as needed.

SL.11-12.1(c) Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that probe reasoning and evidence; ensure a hearing for a full range of positions on a topic or issue; clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions; and promote divergent and creative perspectives.

SL.11-12.1(d) Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives; synthesize comments, claims, and evidence made on all sides of an issue; resolve contradictions when possible; and determine what additional information or research is required to deepen the investigation or complete the task.


W.11-12.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

W.11-12.2(a) Introduce a topic; organize complex ideas, concepts, and information so that each new element builds on that which precedes it to create a unified whole; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.

W.11-12.2(b) Develop the topic thoroughly by selecting the most significant and relevant facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience’s knowledge of the topic.

W.11-12.2(c) Use appropriate and varied transitions and syntax to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among complex ideas and concepts.

W.11-12.2(d) Use precise language, domain-specific vocabulary, and techniques such as metaphor, simile, and analogy to manage the complexity of the topic.

W.11-12.2(e) Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.

W.11-12.2(f) Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented (e.g., articulating implications or the significance of the topic).

W.11-12.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

W.11-12.9(a) Apply grades 11–12 Reading standards to literature (e.g., “Demonstrate knowledge of eighteenth-, nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century foundational works of American literature, including how two or more texts from the same period treat similar themes or topics”).

W.11-12.9(b) Apply grades 11–12 Reading standards to literary nonfiction (e.g., “Delineate and evaluate the reasoning in seminal U.S. texts, including the application of constitutional principles and use of legal reasoning [e.g., in U.S. Supreme Court Case majority opinions and dissents] and the premises, purposes, and arguments in works of public advocacy [e.g., The Federalist, presidential addresses]”).


L.11-12.3 Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.

L.11-12.3(a) Vary syntax for effect, consulting references (e.g., Tufte’s Artful Sentences) for guidance as needed; apply an understanding of syntax to the study of complex texts when reading.

L.11-12.5 Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.

L.11-12.5 a) Interpret figures of speech (e.g., hyperbole, paradox) in context and analyze their role in the text.

L.11-12.5(b) Analyze nuances in the meaning of words with similar denotations.


This Grades 11-12 lesson set titled “A Need for Sleep: A Close Reading of a Soliloquy from King Henry IV, Part ll” from CPALMS Lesson Plan Development Initiative has an ELA/Literacy instructional time of six hours. In these lessons, students consider the literary elements Shakespeare uses to communicate King Henry’s inability to sleep. They complete close readings of this passage multiple times (whole class, small groups, independently) with different reading tasks in order to discover how diction, tone, syntax, and imagery help to convey King Henry’s state of mind. As a culminating activity, each student writes a well-organized essay that briefly summarizes Henry’s thoughts and uses textual examples in the analysis of how the diction, imagery, and syntax help to convey his state of mind. There is also an alternate summative assessment that has students individually create an oral presentation and slide show to address the above prompt.


Connecticut teachers are cautioned that the teacher notes/preparation materials will require familiarity to be used effectively. Since this lesson set is intended for students who have some familiarity with reading Shakespeare, looking carefully at the Prior Knowledge section is recommended. Suggested technology includes: document camera, computers, Internet connection, LCD projector.


This lesson is an exemplary example of how to make reading text closely, examining textual evidence, and discerning deep meaning a central focus of instruction. Instructional activities engage students in a productive struggle with complex text through discussion questions and other supports that build toward independence. Materials include: a detailed lesson plan, learning objectives, prior knowledge that students will need, guiding questions, quality attachments that enhance the lesson activities (with teacher annotated copies), assessment guidelines and rubrics that provide sufficient guidance for interpreting student performance of the targeted standards, as well as suggested accommodations and recommendations.

Click here for a link to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Rubrics for English Language Arts/Literacy.