Read Away

Unit Plan

Phil Coogan
Adapted by Linda Scott
3 weeks

California Language Arts Content Standards
Standards Addressed in this Unit
3.0Literary Response and Analysis
3.7 Recognize and understand the significance of a wide range of literary elements and techniques, including figurative language, imagery, allegory, and symbolism, and explain their appeal.
3.8 Interpret and evaluate the impact of ambiguities, subtleties, contradictions, ironies, and incongruities in a text.
3.9 Explain how voice, persona, and narrator affect tone, characterization, plot, and credibility of a text.
1.0 Writing Strategies
Students write coherent and focused essays that convey a well-defined perspective and tightly reasoned argument. The writing demonstrates students' awareness of the audience and purpose. Students progress through the stages of the writing process as needed.
Organization and Focus
1.1 Establish a controlling impression or coherent thesis that conveys a clear and distinctive perspective on the subject and maintain a consistent tone and focus throughout the piece of writing.
Supporting Standards

Teacher Background Reading


This unit is designed to allow students to choose fiction or non fiction texts.


Smiley Select and adapt these learning activities to best meet the needs of your students, and to fit the time available.

Starting Out
Before beginning the assignment try some of the activities from the Logging Up Reading Mileage unit to get your students thinking about reading and its importance.

More importantly students need to be enthused about the following:

  1. The degree of choice they have about what they read for this assignment.

  2. The range of books (see Recommended Literature: Kindergarten through Grade Twelve) they have to choose from. Try some of the following during an initial reading/library period:

    • Share the assignment with your librarian/resource center staff to ensure a wide range of books, suitable for the range of tastes and abilities in your class are available for the introductory period.

    • As they work on the assignment students may need review of some of the linguistic terms mentioned, including parts of speech.

    • Draw upon your own knowledge of some of the texts as well as the knowledge of colleagues (if available), students in your class and your librarian to "market" some of the available books. Depending upon you and the class, this might involve some of the following:
      • Always show students the cover - put 1-2 on over-head transparency and ask student to make predictions based on their readings of the covers
      • Brief plot synopsies designed to whet appetites
      • Hints about the themes to be encountered in particular books
      • "Warnings" about the "mature content" of some of the books
      • Using overtly manipulative reverse psychology, share your personal dislike of some books
      • Show the opening sequence from film versions of 1-2 of the books
      • Read blurbs - if they are well written and enticing
      • Prepare readings of opening extracts or particularly exciting/moving parts of a book
      • Talk briefly about some aspect of an author's life if this is likely to attract some students to their book

      Above all, be as knowledgeable and passionate as you can about the books you are introducing.