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Lesson Plan

Exploring the Subtext Strategy: Thinking Beyond the Text

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

Grades 2 – 4
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time One or two 45-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Sarah Dennis-Shaw

Avon, Massachusetts


International Literacy Association


Materials and Technology





  • Copy of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst, illustrated by Ray Cruz (addional copies for students optional; Aladdin, 1972)

  • Computer with Internet access and audio

  • Large computer monitor or projection screen

  • Index cards

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1. Read and familiarize yourself with the story before conducting this lesson. You will need to have a good understanding of the plot and characters in order to model the Subtext Strategy.

2. Visit Kennedy Center: StorytimeOnline and test your computer's audio capabilities by clicking on Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Make sure that students will be able to hear the story and view the illustrations.

3. Prepare index cards by writing the name of each character from the book on a card.

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