Unit 5: The Power of Reading
Students learn about the joy books and reading bring to people's lives, the different ways people access books, and some of the barriers people have faced when trying to learn how to read.
As part of the upgrade to Fishtank Plus, this unit was revised in January 2021. See which texts and materials have changed as part of the revision in this guide to our 1st Grade text adjustments.
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.
Fishtank Plus for ELA
Unlock features to optimize your prep time, plan engaging lessons, and monitor student progress.
Some of the links below are Amazon affiliate links. This means that if you click and make a purchase, we receive a small portion of the proceeds, which supports our non-profit mission.
Book: Book Fiesta! by Pat Mora (HarperCollins Publishers, 2016)
Book: The Good Little Book by Kyo Maclear (Tundra Books, 2015)
Book: That Book Woman by Heather Henson (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2008)
Book: Waiting for the Biblioburro by Monica Brown (Tricycle Press, 2011)
Book: Tomás and the Library Lady by Pat Mora (Dragon Fly Books, 1st Dragonfly Books Ed edition, 2000)
Book: Little Libraries, Big Heroes by Miranda Paul and illustrated by John Parra (Clarion Books; Illustrated edition, 2019)
Book: Digging for Words: José Alberto Gutiérrez and the Library He Built by Angela Burke Kunkel (Schwartz & Wade; Illustrated edition, 2020)
Book: Ruby's Wish by Shirin Yim Bridges (Chronicle Books, Reprint edition, 2015)
Book: Nasreen's Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan by Jeanette Winter (Beach Lane Books, 2009)
Book: Virgie Goes to School with Us Boys by Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard (Aladdin, Reprint edition, 2005)
Book: Grandmother School by Rina Singh (Orca Book Publishers; Illustrated edition, 2020)
Book: Running the Road to ABC by Denize Lauture (Aladdin, Reprint edition, 2000)
Book: The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read by Rita Lorraine Hubbard (Schwartz & Wade; Illustrated edition, 2020)
Book: More Than Anything Else by Marie Bradby (Orchard Books, 1995)
Book: The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles (Scholastic Paperbacks, Rep Anv Sp edition, 2010)
Book: Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh (Harry N. Abrams; Illustrated edition, 2014)
Book: Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco (Philomel Books; Illustrated edition, 2012)
Book: Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille by Jen Bryant (Knopf Books for Young Readers; Illustrated edition, 2016)
This assessment accompanies this unit and should be given on the suggested assessment day or after completing the unit.
Download Content Assessment
Download Content Assessment Answer Key
The central thematic questions addressed in the unit or across units
Specific skills to focus on when giving feedback on writing assignments
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.”
In this unit, students have multiple opportunities to write opinion pieces to build a deeper understanding of unit content and texts.
Literary terms, text-based vocabulary, idioms and word parts to be taught with the text
To see all the vocabulary for this course, view our 1st Grade Vocabulary Glossary.
Identify your favorite things about reading and books.
Explain how the little book brought joy to the boy’s life.
Explain how the Biblioburro changed Ana’s life.
Explain how Cal changes from the beginning to the end and what causes the change.
Explain how the Library Lady changed Tomás’ life.
Explain how José brought joy to the kids in his neighborhood.
Explain why Little Free Libraries are important.
Explain the challenges Louis faces when he tries to find books and how it makes him feel.
Explain how Louis Braille helped all kids get access to books and why this was important.
Write about ways to take action and get books to people in your community.
Explain how the children feel about going to school.
Explain what Booker wants more than anything else and how he makes his dream come true.
Explain why Virgie wants to go to school with her brothers and how she feels when she is there.
Explain the lessons we can learn from Mary and why they are important.
Describe Ruby and what we can learn from Ruby.
Explain why Sylvia and her family cannot attend the local public school and what action her family takes.
Explain how the Mendez family fought for justice and why their fight was important.
Discussion & Writing
Analyze the barriers people have faced when trying to learn how to read and how they have overcome them.
Explain how Ruby made her wish come true.
Explain how school and learning to read changes Nasreen’s life.
Explain what lessons we can learn from Aaji.
Describe the challenges Trisha faces at school and how they make her feel.
Analyze how Mr. Falker changes Trisha’s life.
Writing – 3 days
Write a thank you letter to someone who helped you with books or reading.
Create a free account to access thousands of lesson plans.
Already have an account? Sign In
The content standards covered in this unit
— Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
— Use frequently occurring prepositions (e.g., during, beyond, toward).
— Produce and expand complete simple and compound declarative, interrogative, imperative, and exclamatory sentences in response to prompts.
— Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
— 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.
— With guidance and support from adults, demonstrate understanding of word relationships and nuances in word meanings.
— 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).
— Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson.
— Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.
— Use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, setting, or events.
— Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 1 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups
— Ask and answer questions about key details in a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.
— Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation.
— 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.
— 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.
— 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.
— With guidance and support from adults, recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.
Standards that are practiced daily but are not priority standards of the unit
— Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
— With prompting and support, read prose and poetry of appropriate complexity for grade 1.
— Identify words and phrases in stories or poems that suggest feelings or appeal to the senses.
— Explain major differences between books that tell stories and books that give information, drawing on a wide reading of a range of text types.
— Identify who is telling the story at various points in a text.
— Compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of characters in stories.
— Ask and answer questions about what a speaker says in order to gather additional information or clarify something that is not understood.
— Describe people, places, things, and events with relevant details, expressing ideas and feelings clearly.
— Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.
— With guidance and support from adults, use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers.
Being a Good Friend