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"Three Stones Back": Using Informational Text to Enhance Understanding of Ball Don't Lie

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"Three Stones Back": Using Informational Text to Enhance Understanding of Ball Don't Lie

Grades 8 – 11
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Two 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Scott Filkins

Scott Filkins

Champaign, Illinois


National Council of Teachers of English



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From Theory to Practice



As part of their study of Matt de la Peña's novel Ball Don't Lie, students re-read a selected passage closely, focusing on understanding the passage and the ways a secondary character's advice to the protagonist relates to an important concept in the book—namely, wealth inequality.  Then students investigate the accuracy of that character's claims by reading a nonfiction report on wealth inequality. They demonstrate their understanding by creating a graph, chart, or illustration that combines the information from both sources.

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NCTE’s (2012) policy research brief Reading Instruction for All Students cautions against overly prescriptive, narrow definitions of close reading and complex text, instead asking for teachers to take an approach that integrates both “text-based and situation-based” models (p. 2). “The text-based model focuses on the way words are organized into sentences, paragraphs, and whole texts. The situation model refers to the meaning that results from integration of the text-based approach with the reader’s prior knowledge and goals” (p. 2).  More specifically, this lesson provides examples of the brief’s suggestions to

  • “recognize the role that motivation plays in students’ reading by modeling for students how to engage with complex texts that do and do not interest them”
  • “have students read multiple texts focused on the same topic to improve comprehension through text-to-text connections ”
  • and “develop students’ ability to engage in meaningful discussion of the complex texts they read in whole class, small group, and partner conversations so they can learn to negotiate and comprehend complex texts independently.” (p. 2)

National Council of Teachers of English.  (2012). Reading Instruction for All Students: A Policy Research Brief produced by the National Council of Teachers of English.

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