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Modeling Reading and Analysis Processes with the Works of Edgar Allan Poe
|Grades||6 – 8|
|Lesson Plan Type||Unit|
|Estimated Time||Seven 50-minute sessions|
Explore reading strategies using the think-aloud process as students investigate connections between the life and writings of Edgar Allan Poe. The unit, which begins with an in-depth exploration of “The Raven,” then moves students from a full-class reading of the poem to small-group readings of Poe’s short stories (“The Black Cat,” “Hop-Frog,” “Masque of the Red Death,” and “The Fall of the House of Usher”). The unit concludes with individual projects that explore the readings in more detail. Students have the opportunity to choose among the following four activities: write a narrative in Poe’s style; design a sales brochure for the House of Usher; complete a WebQuest on Poe; or investigate the author further by exploring biographical and background information in more detail. The lesson includes options for both students who need direct instruction and those who can explore with less structure.
Plot Diagram: Students can use this open-ended online tool to graph the plot of any story.
Venn Diagram: Use this online tool to organize ideas for a compare and contrast essay, or while reading to compare and contrast two works of literature.
ReadWriteThink Printing Press: Use this online tool to create a newspaper, brochure, booklet, or flyer. Students choose a layout, add content, and then print out their work.
Janet Alsup and Jonathan Bush explain in, "But Will It Work with Real Students?": Scenarios for Teaching Secondary English Language Arts, that "sometimes students have difficulty reading and writing because they do not understand what a successful process is. Many teachers are so adept at reading and writing, and have been doing it so successfully for so long, that they cannot easily articulate the process to their students" (4). Exploring the reading process becomes even more important when we turn to literary works with challenging vocabulary, complicated grammatical structures, and complex stylistic and literary devices. In such situations, teachers "can model the reading/writing process so that students can (1) see that a process exists and (2) observe certain cognitive maneuvers that occur when a successful reader or writing engages with language" (4). Through close textual reading that focuses on think-aloud and specific analytical goals, this lesson models reading and analysis strategies that students can later apply to other texts.
Alsup, Janet, and Jonathan Bush. 2003. "But Will It Work with Real Students?": Scenarios for Teaching Secondary English Language Arts. Urbana, IL: NCTE.