School Improvement in Maryland

Using the State Curriculum: Reading/ELA, Grade 2

Reading/ELA | Informational | Literary | Writing | Language | Listening | Speaking

Lesson Seeds: The lesson seeds are ideas for the indicator/objective that can be used to build a lesson. Lesson seeds are not meant to be all-inclusive, nor are they substitutes for instruction.

Standard 3.0 Comprehension of Literary Text

Indicator 6. Determine important ideas and messages in literary texts

Objective b. Recognize a similar message in more than one text


Select 2-3 books with a similar message. For example, A Day’s Work by Eve Bunting, The Principal’s New Clothes by Stephanie Calmenson, and A Big Fat Enormous Lie by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat all deal with the consequences of not being truthful. Begin by reading aloud, A Day’s Work by Eve Bunting. After conducting an interactive read aloud with the text to construct meaning, discuss the problem that was created when Francisco told the lie. Discuss the reasons that he told the lie. How did Mr. Benjamin find out that Francisco had lied? How did he feel when Mr. Benjamin and his grandfather realized that he had lied? How did Francisco and his grandfather try to make things right with Mr. Benjamin? Why was Mr. Benjamin willing to hire grandfather even though Francisco had lied? What lesson did Francisco learn from this experience? What is the author’s message to the reader?

Book Author’s Message
A Day’s Work by Eve Bunting Telling a lie can cause big problems for everyone involved. It is important to fix the problem that the lie caused.
A Big Fat Enormous Lie by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat Telling a lie can cause you to have a nagging feeling that won’t go away until you make things right. Those feelings go away once you admit your mistake and learn from it.
The Principal’s New Clothes by Stephanie Calmenson Don’t believe what others tell you, if your eyes tell you something different. Don’t be worried about what others may think of you if you tell the truth.

Next divide the students into small groups. Let each small group choose either A Big Fat Enormous Lie (less challenging reading level but symbolism) or The Principal’s New Clothes. Direct students to read the text either silently or in pairs. Then direct students to discuss the book using the following questions:

  • Who was untruthful in the book?
  • Why did this (these) characters tell a lie?
  • What were the consequences of the lie?
  • How did the characters who told the lie feel?
  • How did the characters make things right?
  • What did the characters learn from this experience?
  • What is the author’s message to the reader?

Add the author’s message to the chart above. Discuss the similarities in the messages among the stories but the very different way that the authors told their stories.


Select 2-3 versions of a favorite fairy tale (multi-cultural versions or fractured fairy tales) that are appropriately leveled to the guided reading groups. After the guided reading of the text have students determine the author’s message. Compare the authors’ message in each version to see if it is the same. Discuss the similarities and differences in the story events and characters. An example might include: Cinderella by Marcia Brown, Bubba the Cowboy Prince: A Fractured Texas Tale by Helen Ketteman, and “The Hidden One: A Native American Legend” by Aaron Shepard retrieved at