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. 



Unit 6

1st Grade

Unit Summary

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 those 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.

Students use everything they have learned from previous units to deeply analyze a text. When describing a character, students review how to notice a character’s actions, motivations, traits, feelings, and relationships in order to develop a nuanced understanding of the character and determine the central message of the story. When discussing the text, students work on using all of the strategies they learned in previous units to participate in an effective partner, small-group, or whole-group discourse. When building on others’ talk in conversations, students may begin to critique and analyze the reasoning of others as a way of continuing the conversation through multiple exchanges, however, the focus is still on building on and responding to others’ comments.

Students continue to practice writing fluently in response to the Target Task question, using a variety of simple and complex sentences to show more nuanced thinking and understanding of the text. Over the course of the unit, students have multiple opportunities to refine their opinion writing skills by writing opinion pieces that include a strong opinion, two to three reasons, and a sense of closure.

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Texts and Materials

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Core Materials

Supporting Materials


These assessments accompany this unit and should be given on the suggested assessment day or after completing the unit.

Unit Prep

Intellectual Prep

Unit Launch

Before you teach this unit, unpack the texts, themes, and core standards through our guided intellectual preparation process. Each Unit Launch includes a series of short videos, targeted readings, and opportunities for action planning to ensure you're prepared to support every student.

Essential Questions

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

Reading Focus Areas

  • To determine the central message of a story, readers notice the character's feelings, traits, relationships, and change.

  • When describing a character, readers notice a character’s actions, motivations, traits, feelings, and relationships.

Writing Focus Areas

Opinion Writing

  • State an opinion. 

  • Include two to three reasons to support the opinion.

  • Provide a sense of closure.



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

To see all the vocabulary for Unit 6, view our 1st Grade Vocabulary Glossary.

Supporting All Students

In order to ensure that all students are able to access the texts and tasks in this unit, it is incredibly important to intellectually prepare to teach the unit prior to launching the unit. Use the intellectual preparation protocol and the Unit Launch to determine which support students will need. To learn more, visit the Supporting all Students teacher tool.

Lesson Map

Common Core Standards

Core Standards


Supporting Standards

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Unit 5

Inspiring Artists and Musicians

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