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Lesson Plan

Critical Reading: Two Stories, Two Authors, Same Plot?

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Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Four 45-minute class sessions
Lesson Author

Patricia Alejandra Lastiri

Patricia Alejandra Lastiri

Villanova d'Asti, Asti


International Literacy Association


Student Objectives

Session 1. Introduction to the stories

Session 2. Literary elements map

Session 3. Story comparisons

Session 4. Literary critics


Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • Develop and apply specific reading comprehension strategies (i.e., questioning, predicting, inferencing, summarizing, synthesizing)

  • Convey personal responses and opinions about a text reading through discussions

  • Develop critical thinking skills

  • Distinguish between fact and opinion

  • Recognize differing viewpoints in a story

  • Use the compare and contrast technique to analyze two stories

  • Work cooperatively

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Session 1. Introduction to the stories

1. Divide the class into two groups. Distribute copies of "The Luncheon" by W. Somerset Maugham to one group and copies of the "The Luncheon" by Jeffrey Archer to another group. Students should not know at this point that they are reading two different stories.

2. Prepare students to read the texts by introducing the title of the story.

3. Ask students to make predictions about what they are about to read by answering the following questions written on the board or on an overhead transparency:
  • Do you think the author had a special reason for giving the story this title?

  • What do you think the story will be about? What makes you think so?

  • What do you think will happen in the story?
Have students work in pairs or in groups of three to make predictions about the story. [Students will review their predictions during the last session to bring closure to the lesson.]

4. Ask students to read the first two paragraphs of the story silently and answer the following questions:
  • Who are the characters?

  • Where does the story take place?

  • What is the relationship of the characters?

  • What does each character remember?
5. Once students individually find the answers to the questions, have them share their findings within their group. Play only the role of moderator or facilitator, do not make judgments upon the students' findings.

6. Before having students read the next segment of the story, pose the following purpose-setting questions:
  • What does the woman look like? Can you prove it?

  • What kind of person is she? What makes you think so?

  • What does the narrator look like? How does the author tell you?
In this activity, students need to distinguish between fact and opinion. Students' assumptions about the woman and the narrator will be confronted by information provided in the story. Write the words, "Opinions" and "Facts," on the chalkboard. Then either conduct a whole-class discussion or have students work in small groups to differentiate the different responses.

7. Have students read the rest of the text silently. Circulate around to each group to facilitate discussion of the text. Once students finish reading, ask them to discuss the story within their group.

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Session 2. Literary elements map

Have students reconstruct the story that they read using the online interactive Literary Elements Map and share their printed maps within their group. During this activity, students should:

  • Interact with the story

  • Focus on important information

  • Better understand the story

  • Work cooperatively

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Session 3. Story comparisons

During this class session, students will realize or confirm that they have read different stories. To accomplish this task, mix students from each group and form new groups to share and discuss the stories.

Distribute copies of "The Luncheon" Comparison Table and ask students to compare and contrast the two stories. Story elements to be discussed include characters (description, actions, and feelings), setting (time and place), events, conflict, and resolution. As a concluding activity, have students choose one story element and use the Compare & Contrast Map to compare this element in the two stories.

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Session 4. Literary critics

Invite students, in groups of five or six, to review their earlier predictions now that they have finished reading the story. Students can also share their comparisons of the two stories. Write the following question on the board, "Two authors, two stories, same plot?" Ask students to think about and discuss this question.

After approximately 20 minutes, open a whole-class debate to bring closure to the lesson. During the debate, students will, as literary critics, determine if the two stories are similar or not. Ask them to support their conclusions with examples from both stories. Depending on the number of students in your class, you may prefer to have groups choose a representative speaker. Take notes on the board or overhead using the following categories:

  • Similarities

  • Differences

  • Evidence

  • Conclusions

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  • Response journal activity: Have students complete a journal entry in which they write about the strategies they used to read and analyze the stories, what they learned from the stories, and whether or not they enjoyed the lesson.

  • A literary column: Invite students to write a literary column in which they give their opinion about one or both of the stories. Post their writings in the classroom, on an instructional board in school, or in the school's newsletter.

  • Trading cards: Have half the students in the class create Character Trading Cards for the characters in one story, half for the characters in the other. Students can then work in pairs to discuss where the characters are similiar and where they are different. Ask students to exchange the cards and write their own stories using these characters.

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