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The Power of Reading

Students focus on subtle central messages and words that express feeling in various texts about reading and education around the world, discovering why people everywhere seek the power to read.

Unit Summary

As part of the upgrade to Fishtank Plus, this unit was revised in January 2021 Some texts, materials, and questions may have changed as part of the revision. If you are looking for the 2018-2019 version of this unit, visit our archives.

In this unit, students explore the power of books and reading. In the first part of the unit, students experience the joy that books and reading bring to people's lives, and learn about some of the different ways people access books, especially in places where books are hard to get. In the second part of the unit, students learn about a range of barriers people have faced when trying to learn how to read, both in the United States and around the world, and build an understanding of the steps people have taken individually and as part of a community to overcome the barriers. Students will discover that not all people have had equal access to education and that in many places, past and present, receiving a high-quality education has not been an easy feat. It is our hope that this unit will help open students' eyes to injustices connected with educational access and will inspire students to take action to help members of their community get access to books or education.

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Texts and Materials

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Core Materials

See Text Selection Rationale

Assessment

This assessment accompanies this unit and should be given on the suggested assessment day or after completing the unit.

Unit Prep

Essential Questions

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  • How do people get access to books?
  • What barriers have people faced when trying to learn to read? How do they overcome them?

Writing Focus Areas

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Sentence-Level Focus Areas

  • Write simple and complex sentences.
  • Include details that describe “who,” “what,” “where,” “when,” and “why.”
  • Use conjunctions “because,” “but,” and “so.”

In this unit, students continue to work on using complete sentences in response to the text. In particular, they continue to work on using the conjunctions “because,” “but,” or “so” to show more nuanced thinking and ideas in response to the text. They also learn how to use precise words to show “who,” “what,” “where,” “when” and “why.”

Vocabulary

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Text-based

barrier confident complicated companion degrading determined devour discouraged dismissed disbelief disability distress eager forbidden frustrated insist injustice integrate inferior invent joy lure ordinary outwit proud precious unusual vow yearn

Related Teacher Tools:

Lesson Map

1

  • Book Fiesta!

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.7

    SL.1.1

Identify your favorite things about reading and books.

2

  • The Good Little Book

    RL.1.3

    RL.1.7

    SL.1.1

Explain how the little book brought joy to the boy’s life.

3

  • Waiting for the Biblioburro

    RL.1.3

    RL.1.7

    SL.1.1

Explain how the Biblioburro changed Ana’s life.

4

  • That Book Woman

    RL.1.3

    RL.1.7

    SL.1.1

Explain how Cal changes from the beginning to the end and what causes the change.

5

  • Tomás and the Library Lady

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

    RL.1.7

Explain how the Library Lady changed Tomás’ life.

6

  • Digging for Words

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

Explain how José brought joy to the kids in his neighborhood.

7

  • Little Libraries, Big Heroes

    RL.1.3

    RL.1.7

Explain why Little Free Libraries are important.

8

  • Six Dots

    RL.1.3

    RL.1.7

Explain the challenges Louis faces when he tries to find books and how it makes him feel.

9

  • Six Dots

    RL.1.3

    RL.1.7

Explain how Louis Braille helped all kids get access to books and why this was important.

10

Writing

    W.1.1

    W.1.5

    W.1.8

    L.1.1

    L.1.2

Write about ways to take action and get books to people in your community.

11

  • Running the Road to ABC

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

Explain how the children feel about going to school.

12

  • More Than Anything Else

    RL.1.3

    RL.1.7

Explain what Booker wants more than anything else and how he makes his dream come true.

13

  • Virgie Goes to School...

    RL.1.3

    RL.1.7

Explain why Virgie wants to go to school with her brothers and how she feels when she is there.

14

  • The Oldest Student

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

    RL.1.7

Explain the lessons we can learn from Mary and why they are important.

15

  • The Story of Ruby Bridges

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

Describe Ruby and what we can learn from Ruby.

16

  • Separate is Never Equal pp. 1 – 19

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

    RL.1.7

Explain why Sylvia and her family cannot attend the local public school and what action her family takes.

17

  • Separate is Never Equal pp. 20 – 35

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

Explain how the Mendez family fought for justice and why their fight was important.

18

Discussion & Writing

    SL.1.1

    SL.1.2

    SL.1.6

    L.1.6

Analyze the barriers people have faced when trying to learn how to read and how they have overcome them.

19

  • Ruby's Wish

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

Explain how Ruby made her wish come true.

20

  • Nasreen's Secret School

    RL.1.3

    RL.1.7

Explain how school and learning to read changes Nasreen’s life.

21

  • Grandmother School

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

Explain what lessons we can learn from Aaji.

22

  • Thank You, Mr. Falker pp. 1 – 22

    RL.1.3

    RL.1.7

Describe the challenges Trisha faces at school and how they make her feel.

23

  • Thank You, Mr. Falker p. 23 — to end

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

Analyze how Mr. Falker changes Trisha’s life.

24

Assessment

25

Writing

    W.1.1

    W.1.5

    SL.1.1

    L.1.1

    L.1.2

    L.1.6

Write a thank you letter to someone who helped you with books or reading.

Common Core Standards

Language Standards
  • L.1.1 — Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

  • L.1.2 — Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

  • L.1.4 — Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 1 reading and content, choosing flexibly from an array of strategies.

  • L.1.5 — With guidance and support from adults, demonstrate understanding of word relationships and nuances in word meanings.

  • L.1.6 — Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts, including using frequently occurring conjunctions to signal simple relationships (e.g., because).

Reading Standards for Literature
  • RL.1.2 — Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson.

  • RL.1.3 — Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.

  • RL.1.7 — Use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, setting, or events.

Speaking and Listening Standards
  • SL.1.1 — Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 1 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups

  • SL.1.2 — Ask and answer questions about key details in a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.

  • SL.1.6 — Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation.

Writing Standards
  • W.1.1 — Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or name the book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply a reason for the opinion, and provide some sense of closure.

  • W.1.3 — Write narratives in which they recount two or more appropriately sequenced events, include some details regarding what happened, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide some sense of closure.

  • W.1.5 — With guidance and support from adults, focus on a topic, respond to questions and suggestions from peers, and add details to strengthen writing as needed.

  • W.1.8 — With guidance and support from adults, recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.

Spiral Standards

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RL.1.1

RL.1.10

RL.1.4

RL.1.6

RL.1.9

SL.1.3

SL.1.4

SL.1.5

W.1.6