Close Read: My Brother Martin - Craft and Structure

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SWBAT identify the author's purpose for writing the story "My Brother Martin" by Christine King Farris.

Big Idea

This is our second read of "My Brother Martin" by Christine King Farris. We are going to dig deeper into the text and analyze the author's purpose for writing the text.


Second Read of My Brother Martin

20 minutes

For the second read of "My Brother Martin" by Christine King Farris, I have typed up the text of the story so that the students can mark it up.  I have not included this in the resources because I don't want to infringe on any copyright laws. We do have a purchased copy of the story for each of our students.  

I will give each child 2 different colored highlighters and some sticky notes.  I will partner the kids up carefully.  My struggling readers will be paired with a reader that can give them the support they need to be successful without taking over and doing everything for them.  

This will be their task while reading:

What is the author's purpose?  While reading, mark key ideas that lead you to an understanding of the author's purpose for writing this story with your yellow highlighter.

From what point of view is the story told?  How can you tell?

Which words in the story were unfamiliar to you before reading the story?  Highlight these words in pink.  Then, using clues from the text, write the word and what you think the word means on a sticky note.

Write any questions you have while reading the text on a sticky note.

Farris, C.K. (2006). My Brother Martin: A Sister Remembers Growing Up with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. New York, NY : Aladdin

Group Project

30 minutes

After reading and highlighting the text, I will lead the students in a class discussion where we will decide together as a class what the author's purpose for writing the text was.  We will discuss as a class some of the evidence they found to support their decision about the author's purpose for writing the text. (This should be easy for students to find since they highlighted ideas supporting the author's purpose in yellow.)

We will then take a close look at the illustrations on pages 316 and 317 of the story.  (These are the page numbers of the story in our basal.  I am unsure of the page numbers of the picture book version. It is the illustration that shows the King children and their white playmates from across the street just after they were told they could not play together.)

I will ask the student to turn to that illustration and brainstorm with me some emotions that the children might have been feeling.  I will then write each of the emotions that we come up with on the top of a chart paper.  I will hang then hang each piece of chart paper around the room. Then I will divide the kids into four groups and have each group go around and list the characteristics of someone who is felling that emotion.  For example:



slummed shoulders

poor posture

head down


They will rotate until they have brainstormed at each poster.  Once they have completed each poster, we will talk about them as a group.  I will go around to each poster and say "Ok, now let's take a look at these characteristics and see which ones we find evidence from in the text or illustrations."  One by one we will read through the characteristics and see if we find evidence in the text or illustrations for it.  If we do find evidence, we will circle it.  If we don't, we will cross it out.  Once we have done this for each poster, or each emotion, we will look at the poster that has the most circled characteristics.  The emotion with the most evidence backing that emotion.  We will them discuss why that emotion seems to be most fitting.

Next, we will take a look at the vocabulary words they found in the piece and the definitions they came up with.  Not all words can be defined using context clues, so this is a good time to teach children how to use a dictionary to look up the meaning up unknown words.  The whole idea is to teach kids more independence in their reading.  The need develop skills that will help them understand text or words within text even if their teacher or parent is not their to assist them. 


Summary Writing

10 minutes

As a culminating activity for the day, I will have the students write a summary of the story.  I will have them use the structure of the story as a framework for their summaries.  

In the beginning,


At the end,

If time permits, we will share our summaries.