What's in a Flashback?

Contributor: Rebecca Hann. Lesson ID: 10810

Can you see into the future? Can you look back at the past? You can if you find foreshadowing and flashback in your reading! You'll look forward to using new tools and put your old skills in the past!



English / Language Arts
learning style
Auditory, Visual
personality style
Lion, Otter
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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  • Have you ever considered yourself to be a detective?

You're thinking like a detective when you read, and you don't even realize it! Many writers leave clues in their work — clues that you must interpret and decipher in order to understand the characters and the story.

That sounds like detective work to me!

As with the previous Author's Craft Related Lessons, found in the right-hand sidebar, this lesson will focus on two more elements of Author's Craft: Foreshadowing and Flashbacks.

Foreshadowing is when an author gives clues as to what will happen later on in the novel.

A flashback is when the author reveals something that has happened to a character prior to the time the story is taking place.

Both techniques usually include information that is important to the character or the story development. This information is not always clearly stated, and sometimes the reader has to infer the connection.

Here are two helpful videos for understanding how foreshadowing and flashbacks work:

Foreshadowing Literary Device, by Harry You and Cameron Nyugen:

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Introduction to Flashback, from NMSteacher:

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It's important to remember that these elements provide glimpses into the past (flashback) and future (foreshadowing) of the characters.

Continue on to the Got It? section to take a quiz and detect these elements in story excerpts.

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