In a close read it is important not to front-load the students with a a lot of pre-knowledge information. The students learn to find information on their own through the text. I do, however, like to discuss the essential question with the students before we start the story. Our essential question for this unit is:
What can we learn from the text about the importance of honesty?
Together we will read through "A Day's Work" by a Eve Bunting. We will stop periodically to discuss things that students might not understand within the text.
After reading, we will discuss the questions found in the resources to ensure that each student has a good understanding of the key ideas and details of the story.
As a class, we will brainstorm what we think the main idea of the story is. I will encourage the students to back up their answers with examples from the text.
I will then have the students do a quick write on the main idea of the story, using evidence from the text to support their answer.
Bunting, E. (1994). A Day's Work. New York, NY : Clarion Books
After our first read of "A Day's Work" and our class discussion focused on key ideas and details, we will examine more closely a couple of pieces of the text through a compare and contrast activity. The idea of a close read is to get the students to revisit the text and delve more deeply into the content and meaning of the text. I hope to help students accomplish this with the compare and contrast activity.
We will take a closer look at the pictures and text from the two different trips that Fransisco and Abuelo took in the back of the van. Abuelo is Fransisco's grandfather who recently moved from Mexico. Abuelo does not speak English but wants to find work to help keep food on the table for his family. Fransisco goes with Abuelo to look for work so that he can translate for Abuelo. When a man came to find a worker for a garden project, Fransisco lied to the man and told him that his grandfather was a gardener. The first trip that Abuelo and Fransisco take in the back of the van is a positive one on their way to the job site to earn money. Even though Abuelo has hesitations because he doesn't know how to garden, the tone is positive in the text. Abuelo does not know that Fransisco lied to the man at this point. The second trip in the back of the van is just after the man discovered that Abuelo and Fransisco had pulled out all the plants and left the weeds. Grandfather found out that Fransisco had lied to get the job. Grandfather told the man that they would work for free to correct their mistake. The second trip in the van is the trip back home where the tone is more somber. We will look at the both the text and the illustrations on pages 13 and will 14. We will then compare them with the second trip on pages 28 and 29. (Note: We have the Kindle version of this book. The pages numbers are based my best guess from that kindle version of the book.)
I will have the students pair up to complete the top hat graphic organizer which compares and contrasts the two trips in the van.
To close the lesson, I will have a few students share their writing from the main idea quick write. I love to let students share. I feel they gain so much from each other. Then the students and become the teacher in the class and often they are much more effective at teaching the other students than I am. The students love to share by this point in the year. They are timid and nervous about it at the first of the year, but we do so much of it that they become very comfortable with it and enjoy it.