As a reader, I love texts with rich, detailed settings. Talking about setting with readers leads to great conversations as we talk about:
-How does the setting contribute to the plot?
-Could this story have happened in a different setting?
-How do the characters interact with the setting?
-What is the mood created with the words describing the setting?
-How does the setting change over the course of the story?
-(For historical fiction) What details about the time period can you learn?
With older readers, it's hard at first to help them understand that setting includes both the time and place of the text. Students want to just name the first location mentioned in the story and be content with that as the setting. But often, it's more helpful to name a generalized location.
I like to use this setting graphic organizer to help students notice and collect setting details. It scaffolds students to think about both the time and the place, and helps students to think about how the details connect to the setting as a whole. It's marvelously adaptable because we can put in the time and the place first, and then look for details to support them. We can also find details first, and then use those details to infer the broader setting. (I wrote more extensively about making inferences about setting in The Forest AND the Trees)