Close Reading with the Secret Life of Walter Mitty

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SWBAT look deeper into the most important part of the story in order to gather more evidence for the theme.

Big Idea

Can you see it from both sides?

Lesson Opener

10 minutes

Connect:  I will say, “We have read The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and annotated when we see the character doing something out of the ordinary in order to infer the theme. We are now going to look closer at two parts of the text in which we can think deeper about theme.    

Teach: I will say, “In order to have a deeper understanding of the text, I am going to practice the skill of close reading using the strategy of rereading the text to test out my theme. The process I will use is as follows:

1) Read a section that provides the most evidence for my theme

2) Categorize my evidence

3) Write a deeper understanding of my theme by thinking about points of view

I want students to do their own thinking about Walter Mitty, so I am going to show them how I think through theme in Song of the Trees (our first text in this unit). I will read the part of Song of the Trees where Mr.Andersen is trying to take advantage of the Logan family.

I will say, “In this section of the text there is evidence for the theme; People use their power to take advantage of others, but Mr.Andersen is really being manipulative. He knows that times are hard because it is the Great Depression and that the family needs the money for medicine and food. From Mr.Andersen’s point of view he is doing whatever he can to make money. From the point of view of Big Ma and Momma, they are doing whatever is best for the family.”


“Now I am going to categorize my evidence by points of views. I will make a two column chart; Mr. Andersen/Big Ma and Momma. I am now going to take my text evidence and place it under one of those two categories, if it does not fit, it is a piece of text evidence that either does not fit under my theme or I may need to make a new category.” I will then show the students how I upgrade my writing from yesterday by thinking deeper about the theme; People devise negative and positive plans in order to protect what is important to them.” 

Active Engagement

5 minutes

Active Engagement: I will say, “Now you are going to take your theme from yesterday and reread a part of Walter Mitty in which you can think about theme through the point of view of Walter and his wife. Turn and tell your partner which section of the text you will reread.” I will check for understanding listening to every level of learner (at least 3 students-one who is at standard, one is approaching standard, and one who is above standard).

Closing of Active Engagement: I will say, “Remember, in order to have a deeper understanding of the text, great readers and writers practice the skill of close reading by using the strategy of finding the section of the text in which their theme can be supported. They review the theme they have been working with, read the section of the text that provides evidence for the theme, then categorize and organize their evidence through two different points of view in the text.

Independent Practice

25 minutes

Independent Practice: I will say, “Now you are going to reread the part of your choice (not more than 2 pages), organize your evidence and then write long about it with a new upgraded theme.”

Students will organize and write quietly while I conference. I will put on the writing music and point out the thought prompts they can use.  


5 minutes

Closing: Students will share their writing with a partner and then out loud to the class. For today students will turn in their “write longs” in order for me to assess their deeper understanding of the story.