School Improvement in Maryland

Using the State Curriculum: Reading/ELA, Grade 3

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 8. Read critically to evaluate literary texts

Objective b. Identify and explain questions left unanswered by the text


To begin, make certain that students understand the role of an epilogue in a literary text. Students may be familiar with epilogues from motion pictures, or the teacher may be able to share an epilogue from written text through a teacher read-aloud or student silent reading. After students have read a literary passage, the teacher and students will create an epilogue for that passage. Through discussion, the teacher will designate particular characters and have students suggest and justify future actions or plans for those characters. The teacher should record student suggestions. Once all characters have been discussed, individual students may create their own story epilogues selecting the particular "future" for each listed character.


After reading a literary text, students should work in small groups with each group assigned a different character from the text. Each group should prepare a set of three to five interview questions for the assigned character. Each question should not be answerable by the text, but each question must be based upon the text. For example, an interview question would be based upon something the character did, said, or thought and predict an action or an interaction that does not actually occur in the text. An example from Langston Hughes's "Thank You, M'am": Mrs. Jones, why did you not call the police after the attempted purse snatching? In the text, there is sufficient detail to relay a plausible response to the question, and knowing the answer to that question would extend a reader's understanding of character and character interactions. Then students should indicate the action, speech, or thought on which their question is based and formulate their response on specific details from the text. Students should explain why knowing the answer to each question extends and deepens their understanding of the text. In a presentation to the class, students may act out the questioning by assuming the roles of the characters and the interviewer. Extension: This same activity can be accomplished with a set of author interview questions, but instead of different characters, the teacher can assign different literary elements.


Prior to this activity, the teacher should select and prepare an age-appropriate literary text. First, the text should be "chunked" into sections and at the conclusion of each section should appear a question left unanswered by the text. Together the teacher and students should read the first section of text. Following the reading students should offer a series of responses to the question and be able to support their plausibility from the text. This procedure should continue until the entire text has been read. Next, students should read a second text which has been "chunked" but for which questions have not been prepared. Students should read and pause at the end of each section to ask a question about that section of text. As students continue through the text, they may find that certain questions will be answered by the text but others may remain unanswered. To complete the process, students might give responses to unanswered questions and defend their validity from the text.


Prior to this activity, the teacher should select and preview an age-appropriate literary text that will yield a single or a number of subtle shifts in plot and/or character developments. Together, the teacher and students should read the text stopping at junctures where these shift/s occur. The teacher should identify the shift to students and then direct students to a plot/character development or character speech within that section of text that could be interpreted in a variety of ways. Working with a partner, students should discuss an interpretation of the plot/character development or speech that is valid within the context of the text. Next, students should share their interpretations with the entire class and discuss the important points of each interpretation. Students might select what they consider the top three interpretations. If additional shifts are present in the text, students can continue the process independently. An example of a subtlety would be Toni Cade Bambara's "Raymond's Run" which has a series of subtle shifts that reveal and define the narrator's character. A suggested area to focus interpretation is the last paragraph where the narrator discusses girls smiling at each other.


Prior to this activity, the teacher should select and preview an age-appropriate literary text that will yield direct shifts in plot or character that are in contrast to the development of that plot or character. An example would be chapter 11 in Christopher Paul Curtis's The Watsons Go to Birmingham 1963 where the character of Byron undergoes a direct shift. The teacher should identify the shift for students and then assist them in back mapping the development of that character to determine whether the shift in character was suggested in any way in the text.

Resources for Objective 3.A.8.b:
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