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


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

Prepare to teach this unit by immersing yourself in the texts, themes, and core standards. Unit Launches include a series of short videos, targeted readings, and opportunities for action planning.

Essential Questions

  • Can people of different ages be friends? Why or why not?
  • What is more important: brain power or superpower? Why?

Writing Focus Areas

Sentence-Level Focus Areas

  • Write simple and complex sentences
  • 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.
  • Write a beginning with a strong hook.
  • Use precise verbs and adverbs to describe a character's actions.
  • Use temporal words to show time has passed. 
  • Provide a sense of closure.

Narrative writing in this unit builds on to work done in Unit 2. In their first narrative writing project of the unit, students use what they know about the characters in the first book of the series to write what come next after the book ends. Students learn to use details to describe character actions and incorporate temporal words to show time passing. 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.

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.

Speaking and Listening Focus Areas

  • Build on others' talk in conversations by linking their comments to the remarks of others 
  • Ask for clarification and further explanation as needed about topics and texts under discussion 

In this unit, students work on using all of their strategies to participate in discourse. When building on others' talk in conversation, students may begin to critique and analyze the reasoning of others, the key work of Tier 3 of the three tiers of academic discourse. The focus areas and discourse in this unit align with Tier 2 and Tier 3 of the three tiers of academic discourse and all rows of the Academic Discourse Rubric (K-2). See the Teacher Tool on Tiers of Academic Discourse to help support students with the focus areas for this unit.



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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

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