Standard Lesson

Amelia Bedelia Up Close! Closely Reading a Classic Story

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Lesson Plan Type
Standard Lesson
Estimated Time
Four 30–45-minute sessions
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With the adoption of the Common Core State Standards and its emphasis on complex texts, students need opportunities to read closely and engage in deep thinking. After reading Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish, students discuss text-dependent questions to promote an understanding of the story's character. Through subsequent readings, they construct and support arguments concerning the character traits of Amelia Bedelia and use the text to determine how Amelia Bedelia and the Rogers can have different reactions to the same events. After these discussions, students demonstrate their understanding of character by completing a trading card for Amelia Bedelia.

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From Theory to Practice

  • Texts can be deemed complex based on three measures: qualitative, quantitative, or the characteristics of the reader and purpose of the task.
  • Students should be provided with the opportunity to struggle with and succeed in reading complex texts.
  • As students gain experience with the close reading of complex texts, the materials they are able to read independently will also increase in complexity.
  • Text-dependent questions help students return to and focus on the text, making inferences and forming arguments concerning the author's purpose.
  • Through repeated reading, students are able to think critically about text.
  • Students need to know the purpose for reading, but the material and content should not be frontloaded, taking away the necessity to read.
  • For primary students, text can be read aloud during a close reading.

Common Core Standards

This resource has been aligned to the Common Core State Standards for states in which they have been adopted. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, CCSS alignments are forthcoming.

State Standards

This lesson has been aligned to standards in the following states. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, standard alignments are not currently available for that state.

NCTE/IRA National Standards for the English Language Arts

  • 1. Students read a wide range of print and nonprint texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works.
  • 2. Students read a wide range of literature from many periods in many genres to build an understanding of the many dimensions (e.g., philosophical, ethical, aesthetic) of human experience.
  • 3. Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).
  • 4. Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
  • 6. Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.
  • 11. Students participate as knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical members of a variety of literacy communities.
  • 12. Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).

Materials and Technology

  • Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish

  • Student computers with Internet access

  • Demonstration computer with Internet access

  • Paper and writing supplies



  1. Get a copy of Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish.

  2. Bookmark the interactive Trading Card Creator on all student computers and your demonstration computer.

  3. Make sure you have enough paper and writing supplies for each student to use during Sessions 1 and 2. (Please note, in Session 2 you may use the back of Amelia Bedelia's Chore Table printout to save resources.)

  4. Print out a copy of Amelia Bedelia’s Chore Table and the Trading Card Creator Planning Sheet for each student.

  5. Print out a copy of the Amelia Bedelia Close Reading Rubric for you to use for each student.

  6. Ensure that you have printing capabilities so students can make a hard copy of their completed character trading cards.

Student Objectives

Students will

  • Analyze a text deemed complex based on qualitative measures by answering text-dependent questions and using this information to create their own representations of a character

  • Define words and phrases with multiple meanings by completing the Amelia Bedelia Chore Table printout

  • Form and support opinions and arguments about a character, citing textual evidence in their critical writing

  • Infer the feelings of a character using textual evidence to support their claims in a group discussion

  • Demonstrate understanding of character and supporting evidence through the completion of character trading cards

Session 1

  1. Introduce the text by saying, “Today we are going to use details from a story, like the words and phrases used by the author, to describe a character.”

  2. Read aloud the entire text of Peggy Parish’s Amelia Bedelia. To promote a close reading by the students, do not stop reading to model or think aloud about the text.

  3. As a whole group, discuss the following text-dependent questions to promote general understanding of the story:

    • “Who is the main character in this story? How do you know?” Students should provide examples from the text as they answer the questions.

    • “What words and phrases did the author use to describe the character?” Record students’ answers on chart paper.
  4. Distribute blank paper and writing supplies.

  5. Have students work individually to draw a picture of Amelia Bedelia and use at least three of the words from the text, which you just recorded on your chart paper, as descriptors. For example, a line from her mouth could say, “She’s a good baker. She makes lemon meringue pie.” A thought bubble could include the statement “My, these folks want me to do strange things.” Collect students’ drawings for assessment.

  6. Bring the class back together to discuss how words as well as pictures help us visualize this character.

Session 2

  1. Review Session 1 by asking students to describe Amelia Bedelia.

  2. Explain the purpose of this session, saying, “Today we are going to reread a section of Amelia Bedelia and use the words in the text to figure out how the character of Amelia Bedelia thinks.”

  3. Distribute Amelia Bedelia's Chore Table to all students. Explain that in the first two columns they need to record answers about chores and what Amelia Bedelia does while they are reading, filling in the third column about what Amelia Bedelia should do after they finish reading.

  4. Read the text from when Amelia Bedelia begins her chores (“Now let’s see what this list says.”) through Amelia Bedelia measuring the rice (“And Amelia Bedelia measured that rice.”). Do not stop to model or think aloud while reading.

  5. After reading, provide students with time to complete their tables, and then use their notes during the following discussion. The discussion should focus students’ attention on words with multiple meanings, asking them to support their opinions and arguments with examples from the text.

    • “What are Amelia Bedelia’s chores?”
    • “What does she do as she follows the list? What is she supposed to do?”
    • “What words on the list confuse Amelia Bedelia?”
    • Divide the class into small groups to discuss the following, using “I agree” / “I disagree” statements: “Is Amelia Bedelia right or wrong in how she completes her chores?”
  6. Have students take out a writing utensil and turn to the back of their table (or distribute blank paper). Ask them to complete the following writing prompt: “Would you like Amelia Bedelia to be your maid? Why or why not?” Collect student work for assessment.

Session 3

  1. Review Session 2, asking students to restate and support their opinions of whether or not Amelia Bedelia was correct in how she completed the chores. During this discussion, also review the terms that caused confusion for Amelia Bedelia.

  2. Introduce this session with the following: “Amelia Bedelia is not the only character in the story. Today as we reread, we are going to think about how Amelia Bedelia and the Rogers react differently to the same events.”

  3. Begin reading when the Rogers return (“Amelia Bedelia heard the door open.”). Read until the end of the book.

  4. Divide students into groups of three or four to discuss the reading. Ask the following questions, requiring students to form opinions and arguments using the text as supporting evidence:
    • “Does Amelia Bedelia think she has done a good job? What evidence from the text supports your answer?”

    • “How does Mrs. Rogers feel about Amelia Bedelia? How does Mr. Rogers feel? Support your answers with evidence from the text.”

    • “All three characters are seeing the same results from Amelia Bedelia’s work, but they have different reactions. How are their thoughts the same? How are they different?” (If you are completing this lesson early in the year, it may be necessary to have a minilesson on comparing/contrasting prior to this session, depending on the abilities of your students.)
  5. After the discussion, distribute the Trading Card Creator Planning Sheet and have students record their answers. By completing the planning sheet, students can form their thoughts before being required to type, as doing both simultaneously can be a challenge for early primary students.

Session 4

  1. Prior to this session, open the Trading Card Creator interactive on all computers.

  2. Instruct students to click on “Get Started.”

  3. Prompt students to type in their names and then Amelia Bedelia for their topic, and click on “Fictional Character.”

  4. From this point on, students should refer to the responses to each question on their planning sheets; ask them to begin typing their answers. Since students’ thinking has been completed, you may choose to help them type if they struggle with keyboarding skills. Depending on the needs of the class, this can be accomplished by typing one or two answers for students who are falling behind the group. However, if the class as a whole struggles with typing, you may choose to elicit volunteers or complete the typing activity in small groups.

  5. When students are finished, have them print and assemble their trading cards. Collect them for assessment, and during a later class, you can return them to the students.

  6. Assess each individual student using the Amelia Bedelia Close Reading Rubric.


Collect leveled texts with strong leading characters. Have students read an appropriate text and complete a character trading card based on the book. This enables students to apply the deep thinking they have engaged in throughout this lesson to their independent work.

Student Assessment / Reflections

  • Make an overall assessment of student work in all sessions using the Amelia Bedelia Close Reading Rubric.

  • Assess each student’s ability to analyze a text and utilize the presented information by reviewing the drawings of Amelia Bedelia created during Session 1.

  • Assess each student’s ability to identify and define words and phrases with multiple meanings using Amelia Bedelia's Chore Table, completed in Session 2.

  • Determine each student’s ability to form and support opinions, citing the text as evidence, by analyzing their critical writing in response to the Session 2 question, “Would you like Amelia Bedelia to be your maid? Why or why not?”

  • Assess each student’s ability to make inferences about the characters’ feelings and to support these inferences with evidence from the text through small-group discussion in Session 3.

  • Assess each student’s understanding of character by analyzing the completed character trading cards at the conclusion of Session 4.
This is a very interesting lesson plan. It would be helpful to see the lesson plan that was used. I am in a master's program and just getting comfortable writing lesson plans, but it is very very neat. Thanks.
This is a very interesting lesson plan. It would be helpful to see the lesson plan that was used. I am in a master's program and just getting comfortable writing lesson plans, but it is very very neat. Thanks.
This is a very interesting lesson plan. It would be helpful to see the lesson plan that was used. I am in a master's program and just getting comfortable writing lesson plans, but it is very very neat. Thanks.

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