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Lesson Plan

Demonstrating Understanding of Richard Wright's Rite of Passage

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Demonstrating Understanding of Richard Wright's Rite of Passage

Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Five 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Scott Filkins

Scott Filkins

Champaign, Illinois


National Council of Teachers of English


Materials and Technology

Student Interactives






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Cube Creator

Grades   3 – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Organizing & Summarizing

Cube Creator

The interactive Cube Creator helps students identify and summarize key elements. It can be used as a prewriting or postreading activity.


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  • NAACP Legal Defense Fund | History

    This page summarizes the history of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, including its focus on addressing inequalities in the justice system.

  • Race and Juvenile Justice System

    From the Leadership Conference, a civil rights advocacy agency, this chapter from Justice on Trial examines historic and contemporary examples of racism within the juvenile justice system.

  • Racial Inequality in Youth Sentencing

    From the Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth, this page offers examples of racial inequality related to juvenile criminal sentencing.

  • Honorable Jane Bolin, the first Black Woman judge!

    From the African American registry, an educational non-profit, this page offers insight into the first African American female judge in New York City, appointed in 1939.

  • William H. Hastie

    Biographical information on the first African American federal judge, appointed in 1937.

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  1. While this lesson plan provides an authentic performance task that offers some guidance on the day-to-day
    teaching of the novel, it is not exhaustive by any means. The book provokes rich discussions
    around Johnny’s character, his predicament, and his response to it; the teacher should remain flexible
    in responding with instruction that meets student needs. Consider using an approach similar to the
    one in "Facilitating Student-Led Seminar Discussions with The Piano Lesson" to facilitate such discussions.
  2. Review the links in the Websites section to gain a sense of the juvenile justice system and emergence of
    African American judges that coincides roughly with the setting of this novel. Some teacher expertise
    in this area will be useful when students are considering the audience for their letter.
  3. Arrange for student access to Internet-connected computers for informal research in Session Three.
  4. There are multiple opportunities for teacher modeling and sharing of student work-in-process
    throughout the lesson. Preview resources such as the ReadWriteThink Strategy Guides on Write Alouds and Shared Writing to facilitate such work.

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