The Power of Reading

Students focus on subtle central messages and words that express feeling in various texts about reading and education around the world, discovering why people everywhere seek the power to read.

Unit Summary

A note from our team: As part of the upgrade to Fishtank Plus, this unit will be revised this year. Some texts, materials, and questions may change as part of the revision.

In this unit, students explore the power of reading and writing around the world. Over the course of the unit, students will grapple with and explore the power involved with education and reading, and why so many people across the world seek the power to read. Students will also discover that not all people have equal access to education and that in many places receiving a high-quality education is not an easy feat. As a connection to the informational unit on continents, when the setting is clearly defined by the author either in the author’s note or directly in the text, make sure to reference it and challenge students to notice features of the culture or country. It is important to note that many of the texts in this unit are fiction; therefore, large generalizations about an entire culture or country should not be made based on the books alone. Students should, however, be challenged to think about the ways in which the author portrays the characters’ struggles and desire for education and what we can learn from the characters’ experiences. It is our hope that this unit, in connection with other units in the sequence, will begin to open students’ eyes to the world around us and the ways in which values are similar and different around the world. 

In reading, it is assumed that students are inquisitive consumers of the text and are able to retell stories, including key details, using both the illustrations and words as a guide. Therefore, in this unit students will be pushed further to notice more nuanced central messages, particularly related to the idea of education and reading. Students will also be pushed to notice the words and phrases an author includes to suggest feeling and appeal to the senses. In Unit 3, students were exposed to the skill of compare and contrast by comparing and contrasting similar versions of the same story. In this unit, students will be pushed to the next level by comparing and contrasting more nuanced experiences and messages across multiple stories. 

In writing, students will continue to write daily in response to the text. In every piece of writing, students should be expected to correctly answer the question and provide details from the text to support their answer. In this unit, students will begin to learn how to explain their evidence and thinking in a way that shows a deeper understanding of the question or text. By the end of the unit, most students should be able to score a 3 on the Reading Response rubric.

Subscribe to Fishtank Plus to unlock access to additional resources for this unit, including:

  • Enhanced Lesson Plans
  • Student Handout Editor
  • Google Classroom Integration
  • Vocabulary Package
  • Fluency Package
  • Data Analysis Package
 

Texts and Materials

Some of the links below are Amazon affiliate links. This means that if you click and make a purchase, we receive a small portion of the proceeds, which supports our non-profit mission.

Core Materials

Supporting Materials

See Text Selection Rationale

Assessment

This assessment accompanies this unit and should be given on the suggested assessment day or after completing the unit.

Unit Prep

Intellectual Prep

?

Building Content Knowledge 

  • Research and learn about the countries in which the different stories take place. Be prepared to preview the different countries and one or two details about the countries’ values and culture. (Almost all of the books from this unit include very detailed author’s notes where more information can be learned). It is incredibly important that students understand that the stories show one example of what life might be like in the country; they are not representative of the entire country. 
    • Countries: Haiti, Chad, Bangladesh, Uganda, China, Afghanistan, United States, Korea, Mexico, Colombia, Iraq, Egypt 
  • Prepare for conversations on civil rights and discrimination. Virgie Goes to School with Us Boys, The True Story of Ruby Bridges, and Goin’ Someplace Special all highlight the racial discrimination that many African-Americans faced when trying to access public education. In order to fully understand the texts, students will need some level of historical context on the time period. 

Internalizing the Unit Texts and Standards 

  • Read unit texts, including any background information/context the author includes to help frame the context of the text. 
  • Take the unit assessment and notice key standards and understandings. 
  • Unpack unit standards. Determine the habits of good readers teaching points to introduce and reinforce. 
  • Determine a discussion focus for the unit based on targeted speaking and listening standards. Create a plan for how to introduce and reinforce the focus. 
  • Plan text previews that provide enough context and background information so that students are able to access and make meaning of the text. There are a few potential book previews found within the unit plan. Use these as a guide for the tone and format for additional book previews throughout the unit.

Essential Questions

?

  • What is the power of education and reading? 
  • Why do people seek the power to read? 
  • Do all people have equal access to education and books? Why? 
  • What does it mean to show courage?

Writing Focus Areas

?

  • In Units 1–3, students built a strong foundation for writing about reading. At this point, students should be able to correctly answer the question and provide details from the text to support their answer. In this unit, students begin to focus on explaining their evidence and thinking. At the beginning, this may be rote and students might just be restating what they have already said. In later units, students will be challenged to explain their evidence and thinking by including inferences. 
  • By this point, all structure focus correction areas should have been taught. Therefore, depending on student data and needs, plan targeted review mini-lessons or conferencing to ensure all students reach a 4 by the end of the year.

Language Focus Areas

  • Spiral two or three structure focus correction areas based on data and student needs.

Writing-About-Reading Focus Areas

  • Correctly answers the question with an inference, critical thinking, or facts that show a basic understanding of the question or text 
  • Includes details from the text (may not be the strongest or best evidence but are related) 
  • Explains evidence and thinking in a limited way
  • Uses vocabulary from content

Vocabulary

?

Literary Terms

setting, message, compare: same/similar, contrast: different

Text-based

eager, enthusiastic, energetic, joyful, motivated, determination, kindhearted, puzzled, disbelief, bold, assertive, forbidden, relaxed, calm, confident, corrected, encourage, challenge, embarrassed, patient, precious, eager, ancient, abandon, protect, protester, Jim Crow

Idioms and Cultural References

"piece of cake", "sit on the fence", "fish out of water"

Content Knowledge and Connections

?

  • In some parts of Haiti, schools are far away from the village; therefore, students have to travel a long way to get to school. 
  • Village schools in Chad, Africa, are often rebuilt every year because of a heavy rainy season that washes away everything. 
  • In Uganda, families need to find money in order to pay for school supplies. 
  • In China, there was a period of time in which only men went to universities. 
  • In Afghanistan when the Taliban was in charge, it was very dangerous for girls to attend school.
  • After slaves were freed, there were not a lot of schools open to black children, especially girls. 
  • Ruby Bridges was one of the first African-Americans to integrate schools after the Brown vs. Board of Education ruling. 
  • Learning a new language can be difficult and make transitioning to a new school hard. 
  • In the Appalachian Mountains and in parts Colombia, children got books from traveling librarians. 
  • During times of war in Iraq and Egypt, many people felt strongly about preserving the libraries so they weren’t destroyed.

Lesson Map

1

  • Same, Same but Different

    RL.1.3

    RL.1.7

Explain how the author shows that the boys are different but the same, by identifying and explaining key details from the text and illustrations that describe characters.

2

  • Running the Road to ABC

    RL.1.3

    RL.1.7

Explain how the author shows that the children feel energetic and joyful about going to school, by identifying key details from the text and illustrations to make inferences about characters.

3

  • Rain School

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

Explain how Thomas and the others show perseverance by identifying key details from the text and illustrations to make inferences about characters.

4

  • Yasmin's Hammer

    RL.1.3

    RL.1.7

Describe Yasmin’s dream and how she made it come true, by using key details from the text and illustrations to describe characters.

5

  • Beatrice's Goat

    RL.1.3

    RL.1.7

Explain why the goat changes Beatrice’s life, by identifying key details from the text and illustrations to describe key events and characters.

6

  • Yasmin's Hammer

  • Beatrice's Goat

    RL.1.9

    SL.1.1

    SL.1.4

Compare and contrast Yasmin’s and Beatrice’s experiences by using key details from the text and illustrations to compare characters and their experiences.

7

  • Ruby's Wish

    RL.1.3

    RL.1.7

Describe Ruby’s wish and how she made it come true, by using key details from the text and illustrations to describe characters in-depth.

8

  • Nasreen's Secret School

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

Describe how Nasreen shows courage and perseverance and how the power of knowledge changed her life, by identifying details from the text and illustrations that reveal information about characters and message.

9

  • Virgie Goes to School...

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

Explain why the author titles the book Virgie Goes to School with Us Boys by using the title to retell stories and their central message.

10

  • The Story of Ruby Bridges

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

    RL.1.7

Explain why Ruby’s story is one of courage, faith, and hope by using key details from the text and illustrations to describe characters and lesson.

11

  • Mr. George Baker

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

    RL.1.7

Explain how Mr. Baker and the narrator show friendship, by identifying key details from the text and illustrations to describe characters and lesson.

12

Discussion

  • All unit texts

    RL.1.9

    SL.1.1

    SL.1.4

    SL.1.6

Analyze and debate unit essential questions by stating a claim and providing evidence from multiple texts.

13

  • One Green Apple

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

    RL.1.7

Describe the challenges Farah faces and what she learns, by identifying key details from the text and illustrations to describe characters and lesson.

14

  • My Name is Yoon

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

    RL.1.7

Describe how Yoon felt at her new school and what caused her feelings to change, by identifying key details from the text and illustrations to describe characters and lesson.

15

  • My Name is Yoon

  • One Green Apple

    RL.1.9

    SL.1.1

Compare and contrast Yoon’s and Farah’s experiences at school and explain how they both showed courage, by identifying key details from two texts.

16

  • That Book Woman

    RL.1.3

    RL.1.7

Explain how the boy’s feelings change, by identifying details from the text and illustrations that reveal information about character and character change.

17

  • Waiting for the Biblioburro

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

Explain how the Biblioburro changed Ana’s life, by identifying details from the text and illustrations that reveal information about character motivation.

18

  • That Book Woman

  • Waiting for the Biblioburro

    RL.1.9

    SL.1.1

Compare and contrast That Book Woman and Waiting for the Biblioburro by using key details from the text and illustrations to compare characters and their experiences.

19

  • Tomás and the Library Lady

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

Explain how the Library Lady changed Tomás’s life, by identifying details from the text and illustrations that reveal information about character and motivation.

20

  • The Librarian of Basra

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

    RL.1.7

Defend if Alia Muhammad Baker is a hero or not by identifying details from the text and illustrations that reveal details about characters.

21

  • Hands Around the Library

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

Explain why the library still stands today and what we can learn from the Egyptians’ actions, by retelling key details and the central lesson of a story.

22

  • Goin' Someplace Special

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

    RL.1.7

Explain how ‘Tricia Ann showed courage and perseverance, by identifying key details from the text and illustrations to describe characters and lesson.

23

Discussion

  • All unit texts

    RL.1.9

    SL.1.1

Analyze and debate unit essential questions by stating a claim and providing evidence from multiple texts.

24

  • All unit vocabulary

    L.1.5

    L.1.6

Demonstrate understanding of word relationships and nuances in word meanings by participating in word sorts and activities using target unit vocabulary.

25

Assessment

26

Project

  • All unit texts

  • Project materials

    RL.1.9

    SL.1.1

    SL.1.2

    SL.1.3

Students will be able to identify obstacles people face when it comes to education and explain why it is valued across the world.

Common Core Standards

Language Standards
  • L.1.1 — Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

  • L.1.2 — Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

  • L.1.4 — Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 1 reading and content, choosing flexibly from an array of strategies.

  • L.1.5 — With guidance and support from adults, demonstrate understanding of word relationships and nuances in word meanings.

  • L.1.6 — Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts, including using frequently occurring conjunctions to signal simple relationships (e.g., because).

Reading Standards for Literature
  • RL.1.2 — Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson.

  • RL.1.3 — Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.

  • RL.1.6 — Identify who is telling the story at various points in a text.

  • RL.1.7 — Use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, setting, or events.

  • RL.1.9 — Compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of characters in stories.

  • RL.1.10 — With prompting and support, read prose and poetry of appropriate complexity for grade 1.

Speaking and Listening Standards
  • SL.1.1 — Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 1 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups

  • SL.1.2 — Ask and answer questions about key details in a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.

  • SL.1.3 — Ask and answer questions about what a speaker says in order to gather additional information or clarify something that is not understood.

  • SL.1.4 — Describe people, places, things, and events with relevant details, expressing ideas and feelings clearly.

  • SL.1.6 — Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation.

Writing Standards
  • W.1.1 — Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or name the book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply a reason for the opinion, and provide some sense of closure.

  • W.1.5 — With guidance and support from adults, focus on a topic, respond to questions and suggestions from peers, and add details to strengthen writing as needed.

  • W.1.8 — With guidance and support from adults, recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.