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Lesson Plan

Accountable Book Clubs: Focused Discussions

E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)

Grades 7 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Unit
Estimated Time Eight 45-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Darla Salay

Burlington, New Jersey


International Literacy Association


Materials and Technology






  • About 10 copies of Becoming Naomi Leon by Pam Muñoz Ryan (Scholastic, 2005)

  • About 10 copies of Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan (Scholastic, 2002)

  • Computers with Internet access

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1. Read the two books recommended for the lesson: Esperanza Rising and Becoming Naomi Leon by Pam Muñoz Ryan or choose two other books that deal with a common theme or current social issue. For example, Hoot (Random House Children’s Books, 2004), Flush (Random House Children’s Books, 2007), and Scat (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2009) all by Carl Hiassen deal with environmental and ethical issues.

2. Choose several picture books to use as read-alouds to introduce the concept of social issues. The picture books should deal with social issues similar to those in the novels, such as race, class, gender, labor relations, fairness, and power (see Books About Social Issues). Alternatively, complete the ReadWriteThink lesson Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges: Critical Discussion of Social Issues.

3. The week before the lesson read aloud a picture book each day. Discuss how the social issues are affecting the characters’ lives. For example, in Amelia’s Road by Linda Jacobs Altman (Lee & Low Books, 1995), labor and social class affect Amelia’s feeling of belonging.

4. Make a chart of the various social issues you have discussed for students to reference.

5. Determine which students will read each book. One way to do this is to give a short book talk on each book and have students sign up for the one that most interests them.

6. Set up a wiki for each book group using PBworks.
  • From the PBworks website, click Solutions for Academics, then Create a Free PBWorks to set up an account and then create a free wiki (which they call a workspace) quickly.

  • To organize the collaborative homework on the wiki, create a separate page for each of the three collaborative assignments. (For example, Homework #1 Social Issue – Gender. Homework questions should be given to students and also posted on the wiki.)

  • Go to Settings, Click on Users and then Create accounts for your students. Using this function, students can be invited to the wiki without requesting their e-mail addresses. PBWorks will generate a list of usernames and passwords, which you can then print and give to your students so they can access the wiki.
7. Make a copy for each book group of the Critical Thinking Map. Make a copy for each student of the Critical Thinking Map Example, Collaborative Homework Questions, and Rubric for Paired Book Club Discussions.

8. If students do not all have Internet access at home, schedule times when they can use the lab or classroom computers for homework assignments following Sessions 1–6.

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