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Lesson Plan

Digging Deeper: Developing Comprehension Using Thank You, Mr. Falker

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Digging Deeper: Developing Comprehension Using Thank You, Mr. Falker

Grades K – 4
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Three 20- to 30-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Nancy Drew

Tecumseh, Ontario

Publisher

International Reading Association

 

Materials and Technology

Printouts

Websites

Preparation

 

MATERIALS AND TECHNOLOGY

  • Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco

  • Chart paper and colored markers

  • Student response journals (optional)

  • Sticky notes

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PRINTOUTS

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WEBSITES

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PREPARATION

1. Read the book Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco. This story is the semiautobiographical account of a young girl's struggle to learn to read. For more background about the author and the book, you may wish to refer to the author's description of the book on PatriciaPolacco.com.

Before the lesson, you should practice reading the book aloud with fluency and expression. You will also want to decide whether you are going to show the illustrations to students as you read. It is sometimes better not to do this, especially if you are going to ask students to make predictions.

2. You will be using a combination of comprehension strategies and interactive writing activities in this lesson. To obtain more information about comprehension strategies, visit Comprehension Instruction: What Makes Sense Now, What Might Make Sense Soon or Reading Comprehension Strategies. For information about interactive writing, visit About Interactive Writing.

3. For Session 1, think about three or four appropriate spots in the text where you can stop reading and reinforce connections between your students and Trisha, the main character, using specific questions.

Places you might stop and questions you might ask include the following:

Note: The pages in Thank You, Mr. Falker are not numbered. For the purposes of this lesson, the first few words from each page are used to indicate which page of the book is referred to.
  • (The page that begins "The grandpa held the jar of honey...") A picture of the man and the girl begins the story. What is the meaning of the sentence "Yes, and so is knowledge, but knowledge is like the bee that made that sweet honey, you have to chase it through the pages of a book!"?

  • (The page that begins "Trisha, the littlest girl in the family...") What do we know about Trisha so far?

  • (The page that begins "The harder words got for the little girl...") Why do you think drawing is so important to Trisha?

  • (The page that begins "Reading was just plain torture.") How do you think Trisha feels about the move?

  • (The page that begins "Now Trisha wanted to go to school less and less.") Why do you think Trisha hates school so much?

  • (The page that begins "Mr. Falker would stand behind Trisha...") Will Trisha ever learn to read? Preface this by saying, "I wonder if the kids will stop laughing at Trisha."

  • (The page that begins "But the nicer Mr. Falker was...") Why does Trisha feel safe in that dark place?

  • (The page that begins "But Mr. Falker caught her arm...") On the basis of "You're going to read—I promise you that," what do you predict will happen?
Place sticky notes on the pages you select with the question you are going to ask students or the "think-aloud" you are going to use.

4. Session 2 helps students understand how events in Thank You, Mr. Falker contribute to a character change in Trisha. Copy the Character Change Continuum onto chart paper or the board.

5. For Session 2, determine where you are going to stop reading and question students to gather information for the Character Change Continuum. Suggested stopping places and questions include:
  • (The page that begins "The grandpa held the jar of honey...") What do we know about the character of Trisha so far?

  • (The page that begins "But at the new school...") Tell me about Trisha.

  • (The page that begins "Mr. Falker would stand behind Trisha...") Does Trisha still feel bad about herself? What has happened to change the way she feels?

  • (The page that begins "But Mr. Falker caught her arm...") How do you think Trisha feels now? What has happened to change the way she feels?

  • (The page that begins "That night, Trisha ran home...") What is Trisha feeling now? What has happened to make her feel that way?
Place sticky notes with the questions you are going to ask on the pages you select.

6. Make enough copies of the Observational Assessment Checklist to take notes on each student during each session of the lesson.

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