Finding Your Power: Freddie Ramos

Students continue to build reading and writing skills by engaging with the beginning chapter book series Zapato Power.



Unit 4

2nd Grade

Unit Summary

In this unit, students continue to explore the characteristics of chapter books by reading and engaging with the beginning chapter book series, Zapato Power. Building off of what students learned in Unit 3: Pinky and Rex, students will explore what it means for two people to be friends and how friends are able to help each other by examining the somewhat unusual friendship between Freddie and Mr. Vaslov, an older man who lives and works in Freddie’s apartment building. Over the course of the unit, students will also be challenged to think about what it means to be a superhero and the differences between using “super” powers and brain power to solve problems. It is important to note that these books are part of a beginning chapter book series; therefore, there are aspects of the plot that are less developed or not as powerful as other books that students read in the progression. The chapter book series does, however, introduce students to a male Latinx protagonist, something that is often missing from children’s literature and helps students explore similar themes and topics from other units with texts that are accessible. It is our hope that this unit, in connection with other units from the sequence, will set students up for success in reading and understanding longer chapter books.

This unit should be done predominantly as shared or independent reading; therefore, this unit gives students a chance to practice the reading skills they have developed in previous units. Similar to Pinky and Rex, students will be challenged to think about how authors develop characters over the course of a single text and how that understanding builds as they read more books in a series about the same characters. Students will focus on character motivation and what motivates both of the main characters, Freddie and Mr. Vaslov. Students will also begin to notice the different types of descriptive language authors include—specifically figurative language—and how descriptive language helps a reader better visualize the story and bring it to life. Finally, students will begin to notice how chapter titles are a clue for what is important in a chapter and can be used to guide retells and summaries of the key events within a chapter.

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Texts and Materials

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Core Materials

Supporting Materials


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

Unit Prep

Intellectual Prep

Unit Launch

To learn more about how to prepare a unit, internalize a lesson, and understand the different components of a Fishtank ELA lesson, visit our Preparing to Teach Fishtank ELA Teacher Tool.

Essential Questions

  • Can people of different ages be friends? Why or why not?

Yes, people of different ages can be friends. Even if they are not the same age, young and old people can accept and support each other. Mr. Vaslov creates the Zapato Power shoes for Freddie because he likes him and can see that he needs some support. Freddie helps Mr. Vaslov when he is stuck on the roof of the building and promises to take care of Starwood Park when he is recovering. It is not the same kind of friendship that two young people might have, but that does not mean it is not important and helpful.

  • What is more important: brain power or superpower? Why?

They are both important, but at different times. Sometimes it is more effective to use your brain power. Often, you have to think deeply to solve a problem. Freddie had to think about where the beach ball might be. If he had not done that, he would not have been able to use his superpower to reach it! Also, Freddie needed to think about the “POOPEE” mystery before solving it. His super speed would not have “caught” the suspect. He had to put clues together in order to figure it out. However, sometimes superpower is important because it can help people who are in danger. Freddie used his Zapato Power to save both Gio and his puppy from running into the street and getting hurt. Superpower and brain power help you at different times for different reasons.

Foundational Skills

  • Use proper intonation to show interpretation of the text.
  • Read with expression and volume to match interpretation of the passage.

The main focus of this unit is on reading with expression, particularly character dialogue, in order to show understanding of the text. In both core texts, the character dialogue reveals a lot about a character’s motivation, feelings, and perspective; therefore, a large focus of this unit should be on including opportunities for students to practice rereading dialogue with intonation, expression, and volume to match interpretation of the passage.

Writing Focus Areas

Sentence-Level Focus Areas

  • Use subordinating conjunctions to write more interesting and complex sentences.

In this unit, students will learn to begin sentences with subordinating conjunctions.

Practicing subordinating conjunctions promotes the use of complex sentences, enables students to vary sentence types, and even improves reading comprehension. When students learn to use this kind of syntax in their writing, they are better able to read and understand complex texts. Learning to write with subordinating conjunctions will help students craft strong topic and/or concluding sentences as they begin to write paragraphs.

Narrative Writing Focus Areas

  • Brainstorm a focused narrative with a beginning, middle, and end.
  • Use precise verbs and adverbs to describe a character's actions.

Narrative writing in this unit builds on to work done in Unit 2. At the end of the unit, students will brainstorm and write their own narratives with a focus on using precise verbs and adverbs to describe a character’s actions.



chuckled clinging confess concentrate controls dashed developing excuse groaned gulped hollered inventor investigate pouted protested puzzled resist snooping suspicious wailed whined



To see all the vocabulary for Unit 4, view our 2nd Grade Vocabulary Glossary.

Content Knowledge and Connections

  • Explain that friendships come in many different forms.
  • Explain that friends help one another solve problems and help each other explore things they are interested in.
  • Explain that brain power is sometimes more important—and effective—than superpower.

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 3

Cinderella Around the World


Unit 5

Learning From Mistakes: Keena Ford

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