A Closer Look at Malala

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SWBAT read closely to discover the author's purpose.

Big Idea

Read with a purpose.

Attention Grabber

10 minutes

My students became so interested in Malala, and begged to see more videos about her!  Today I started with a short video clip that shows more footage of her life in Pakistan and then her speaking after her recovery.

Click here to view the video.


As we watched the video, I asked them to put themselves her shoes. Would they be willing to take the issue this far? 

Once we finished the video, we had a short discussion about it.  I also referred back to some of my kindle questions from the Circle of Knowledge lesson like, "In what ways did Malala affect society? and "Why do people risk their lives for a cause?"

Next, I gave students a copy of the questions they'd be answering next.  We previewed them by reading them together to prepare for a second, closer reading.  

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Close Reading

25 minutes

Next, I had my students work through a series of Close Reading questions. These questions required my class to look back at specific parts of the story and consider the how and the why behind it.  

I used the I DO, WE DO, YOU DO strategy to give them the proper support they needed to work through these complex questions.  

I modeled this process with them first.  The first question asked:

Why did the author choose to begin the article with Malala's attack?  

Before we answered, I asked the students to reread the beginning of the article and share their impressions.  I asked, "What did you think the first time you read this?"  Many of them explained that they were upset or shocked.  I asked, "Why would the author want you to feel this way?"  Most students understood that they author was trying to get their attention and hook them.  We compared it to a strategy we used in writing where students begin narrative writing with a part from the middle, the most exciting part, to get the reader interested.  After our discussion, I had students help me write an answer to the question.  

The next question asked students to refer back to page 6, and find out what details help them understand the meaning of the word oppressive in the following sentence:  Those who live in areas under Taliban control are forced to follow oppressive religious rules.  

I guided my students to page 6 where they would find the answer. I asked them to read it, and  and try to answer with a shoulder partner.  I noticed that many of my students wanted to define the word oppressive.  They didn't realize that the question was asking them to find the details that would help them understand the word oppressive.  

I stopped them, and asked them, "What are some of the rules that people must follow?"  They listed no music, movies, TV as well as special rules for girls like:  no schooling, no bright clothes or make up, and no leaving the house without a male chaperon.  Then I asked, "How would you describe those rules?"  They used works like strict, punishing, and harsh.  I explained, could that be what oppressive means? With this scaffolding, they were able to answer.  

I had them work on the last 3 questions with their shoulder partner, and I monitored them to make sure they were reading closely and carefully!

Critical Thinking

10 minutes

To finish up, I asked my students to choose one of the following questions:

1.  Based on the article, and the graphics, what can you conclude about access to education in the united states versus some of the other parts of the world?  Does this change your view of your own education?

2.  What were the Taliban's two goals in attacking Malala?  How have their actions toward these goals backfired?

3.  What role has technology played in Malala's crusade?


I asked them to answer their question completely citing evidence from the text to support their opinions.  I gave them about 5 minutes to do this.  Then I asked them to get up and mingle holding either a 1, 2, or 3 up in the air to represent their question.  I asked students to form a group of 3 or 4 people who also answered the same question.  They were supposed to sit and share answers for a minute or two.  When everyone was finished I had them mingle with their numbers again, but this time they had to partner up with someone who answered a different question.  They were asked to sit with that person and compare answers.