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For Teachers: Resources

“Before, During and After” Lesson Plan—Intermediate Grades

This lesson was written for late primary or intermediate students. The lesson is a series of questions that could be used with The Jazz Man. It is written using a typical “Before, During and After Reading” model. Before reading, teachers activate background knowledge students may have that they could use to assist them in understanding the short chapter book. Questions are asked during reading. After reading, there are a series of questions and an written assignment to help students revisit the story to develop additional comprehension of the selection.

Lesson Plan for The Jazz Man (PDF)

Explicit Comprehension Lesson—Second Grade, Problem/Solution

This lesson was written to help second grade students understand the narrative text structure of problem and solution. Research indicates that most children who have been read to as preschoolers already know and understand the problem/solution text structure. However, for children who have not been read to, learning the essential text structure of problem/solution is critical. These children have not developed a sense that stories have problems and solutions. Once understood, children can predict the organizational structure of stories. They know that a story begins with some kind of problem and ends with some kind of solution.

This comprehension lesson explicitly teaches students the problem/solution framework.

Explicit Comprehension Lesson, 2004 (PDF)

Explicit Comprehension Lesson—First Grade, Main Idea

This lesson was written to assist very young children in finding the main idea in a nonfiction selection. Getting the main idea is one of the most difficult strategies that students have to learn. Most students think the main idea is the thing that interests them the most. In general, students are not particularly good at finding the main idea. This lesson is the first in a series of lessons that are designed to begin the slow process of showing children what the main idea is and how to find it in a text.

Explicit Comprehension Lesson, 2006 (PDF)

Lesson Plans

There are lots of lesson plans available for free on the internet. However, they vary greatly in quality. Here are some that we have found to be of high quality and worthwhile to teach to your students.


Human Punctuation Marks

This short lesson helps primary grade readers understand the purpose and use of punctuation in a sentence.

Pasta Punctuation

Teaching punctuation can be deadly boring. Here is a way to make teaching quotation marks more interesting.

Good Readers Visualize

This is a nice introduction to visualizing for young readers. Teachers first read a story without the pictures, and then primary grade students draw pictures of what they saw. They then compare what they drew with the illustrator’s illustrations that go along with the selection.


All About Me. a Research and Writing Unit

This is a great way to begin the year. It is designed for upper elementary/ middle school students.

Gaining Background for the Graphic Novel Persepolis: A WebQuest on Iran

This is an excellent lesson plan for teaching the graphic novel Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, which includes a WebQuest on Iranian culture. The Biocube activity in this lesson can be used for various types of cross-content lessons. High School or advanced Middle.

Alphabiography Project: Totally You

This lesson could yield engaging stories from even the most reluctant writer.Students list events from their lives beginning with each of the letters of the alphabet. Then they write vignettes in chronological order about each event. The lesson includes a self-evaluation assessment. Good for middle school.

Analyzing Character in Hamlet through Epitaphs

Students write epitaphs on poster-gravestones about the characters in Hamlet, paying particular attention to tone, mood, and imagery in their writing. Includes a peer review. For high school.

Calliope Muse of Eloquence: English Words from Classical Mythology

An interactive website lesson. Students print out worksheets from the website and are able to answer the questions from links on the site. Students learn vocabulary from Greek mythology. Could be used for either middle or high school.

The Huexotzinco Codex

This lesson asks students to “read” the pictographs of The Huexotzinco Codex, a Puebla manuscript from 1531. Students use a primary source from the Library of Congress to create meaning about who created and used the document, and why. Includes an important math component. Middle school but could also be used in high school.

The World of Haiku

This lesson combines Japanese poetry with visual arts. Students read haiku, examine woodblock prints, and compare the two art form’s abilities to capture the events of everyday life. Students will analyze the art and look for evidence of Japanese culture. Finally students will write their own haiku, capturing an aspect of their own everyday life. Middle or high school.

Anne Frank: One of Hundreds of Thousands

This lesson focuses on historical events of WWII. Is asks students to understand the various policies and why they were implemented that forced the Frank family and many others into hiding. Students will read maps and work in groups to research and write newspaper articles based on factual events from the time.

Themes in Political Ads (PDF)

The Living Room Candidate: Presidential Campaign Commercials from 1952-2004 website has interesting lessons and features a lesson in which students analyze the use of children for emotional effect in political campaign commercials. It is a discussion and question-answering lesson that could be developed and expanded upon in various ways. Middle or high school.

Understanding the Language of Political Ads (PDF)

The Living Room Candidate: Presidential Campaign Commercials from 1952-2004 website has interesting lessons and features a lesson in which students read and view political comercial’s use of repetition, syntax, and positive/negative words. Students will discuss the manipulative effects of each. High school or advanced middle.

Impromptu and Extemporaneous Speeches

This is a two-part lesson in which students develop and evaluate both types of speeches. First, students work on developing presentation skills for an impromptu speech. Later, they research and develop an extemporaneous speech about a subject of their choosing. Throughout the process, students will learn about various types and motivations behind speeches. Middle or high school.

Create a Travel Brochure

This lesson allows students to research ancient civilizations and create a travel guide from their findings. It could easily be used to reinforce or build background knowledge for reading mythology and could also be used with specific pieces of literature like The Odyssey. Middle school.

Responding to A Sound of Thunder by Writing PowerPoint Presentations

Utilizing technology, this lesson has students create a PowerPoint presentation in response to literature. The literature and response questions could easily be adapted for any piece or level of literature. Includes a presentation element as well. Middle or high school.

Who Were the Samurai?

Web-based research is conducted and gathered about the Japanese Samurai in this lesson. Students fill out a KWL graphic organizer before researching, and the lesson includes an extension in which students learn about other roles in ancient Japanese life. Students work in pairs to research. The lesson is coupled with a haiku-writing lesson, but could work for various types of summative assessments.

Responding to Literature — Character Analysis

Students make a t-shirt that describes literary elements and analyzes characters in any piece of literature. Such elements are addressed as: climax, internal/eternal struggle, and static/dynamic characters. Middle school.

The Don't Say 'Uh' Game

This lesson sharpens students’ ability to speak on the spot, yet formally. Students draw a vocabulary word out of a hat and prepare an impromptu speech utilizing that word. When students speak they are only allowed to say the word “uh” three times and are judged by a panel of peers. Middle or high school.

The State of Your Union

Students watch and inspect the State of the Union Address from the website and create their own State of the Union Addresses. The lesson suggests taping students’ speeches in business attire. Middle or high school.

Vivid Verb Challenge

This is an excellent game in which students break into four teams and are given a small word group like say/said/tell, to come up with as many vivid verbs they can. The first team tells the others their word and the other teams have time to come up with a sentence using the verb. The team and the teacher vote on the best sentences. Middle school.

Voices of America

This lesson compares four American author’s perspectives of America though poetry. Students will hear, read, and write poetry about America and will look at elements of poetry. High school.

Relating Modern Music to Achebe's Things Fall Apart

After reading Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, students will hear and compare Creed’s song “Weathered.” Such issues as tone, theme, and imagery are focused on. Students write a song about the character’s feelings from the book. High school.

Romeo and Juliet Radio "Shout Outs"

After having read part of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, this lesson has students create “shout-outs” that a character from the play may say on the radio today. Students choose an appropriate song to go along with the message. A potential for performance is also present. Middle or high school.

 Internet Resources 

The following websites, listservs, and blogs offer book lists, book reviews, author information, and other related resources on children’s and adolescent literature.

Websites, Listservs, and Blogs on Children’s Literature (PDF)

Websites, Listservs, and Blogs on Adolescent Literature (PDF)

Annenburg Media

This website has teacher resources and teacher professional development in the area of literature and language arts.

Reading Rockets

This site has tips for teaching struggling readers, podcasts, webcasts, videos, blogs, and much, much more—all geared for teachers.

Tips for teaching literacy in English to ELLs

This website has helpful tips for teachers from the Federal Government regarding literacy instruction for ELLs.

The Every Child a Reader and Writer Initiative (ECRW)

ECRW has professional development for teachers as well as videos (classroom examples) of teachers and students engaged in literacy activities.

Last Updated: 5/24/18