Here is a disclaimer about "Gaston." The first time student read this story, they think it is a stupid story about a girl who squishes a bug. I like to take a few minutes to hear their comments, and assure them that there is a bigger idea to the story. I explain that yesterday, by reading for claims, we got some background knowledge on the dynamics of this family. Today we will begin figuring out why this story is about more than a girl squashing a bug. I will also ask them to share their opinions about which parent they think the girl should live with (they ended class yesterday writing about this.) just to get their minds going before they read again.
For today's second reading, students will be looking for places in the text where the girl is cared for and places where the girl is on her own. I will have them highlight these places and mark with a C for cared for and an O for on her own . Because the students are generally a little iffy about the story at this point, I like to model this for a bit with them. I project the story up on the Smart Board with my document camera. I will read aloud with them and model my thinking and coding.
Once the get the hang of it, I will read aloud but ask them to point out the evidence. I may still need to give my two cents at times, so they don't miss important ideas. When I feel like they can handle working without me, I will have the students divide into pairs to finish reading, highlighting, and coding the text. While they are working, I will circulate and make sure they haven't missed anything big.
At the end of the story, I will ask my students to choose from a list of 4 interpretive questions involving different aspects of the story. I want them to choose their own question, but all of the questions will cause them to have to look a little deeper at the meaning of the story. Since it is a tough story for the students, I am going to let them write with a partner while using the RACE Method.