Analyzing the Author Day 2 of 2

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SWBAT use evidence from the text to analyze the author’s purpose in writing the narrative.

Big Idea

Tomas leaves Iowa and heads back to Texas. Tomas leaves Iowa as a storyteller. How does this happen? Come learn about his journey.


5 minutes

Summary and Context

Rereading takes readers deeper. It allows them to notice ideas about the characters, setting, and events that they previously did not. In this case, I want them to consider how the author shapes the characters/events. Yesterday, we reread the first part, today, we will reread the second half. I will explain to my students that, in rereading, we sometimes reread only certain pages and, on some pages, only certain sentences. The main goal is to understand why the author wrote this story, so it's okay to focus our reading in the places where this purpose is revealed.

The narrative of Tomas and the Library Lady, by Pat Mora is labeled as realistic fiction. It is a point I have discussed with my students. This story happens to be true. The story was written about Tomas Rivera when he was a child. Today, I will share with my students this information. I will show them a picture of Tomas Rivera as an adult and give them some background information (see PPT in next section). Though I don't think it's usually necessary to provide such background when the text can speak for itself, I also think this will deepen the interest in the text and strengthen the connection that some students will make to the text, so it's worthwhile in this case.

Before we begin, I will review briefly with the students what happens in the first part of the story.

At their tables, I will be using a PowerPoint Presentation to reread and pose text dependent question from the parts of the story I have selected to read today. My questions today invite the students to go deeper, to explore why the author wrote this narrative, and to find out how the author feels about her characters.

Then, I will gather the students on the rug, and we will continue exploring the question, "Why did the author write this story?" in a Socratic Seminar. Also, I will ask the students to choose one character and explain why that character is important to the story in a journal entry. I will ask them show evidence form the story when completing this work.

Lesson Opening:

I share the objective with my students. Then, we review what we have read so far and learned about Tomas, his family, and the Library Lady.

Rereading to analyze the author's purpose

25 minutes

At their tables, I start by sharing about the real Tomas Rivera, the inspiration for the narrative. I share how he became the Chancellor of UC Riverside by sharing a couple of the slides from the PowerPoint Presentation. I explain the word "chancellor."

Next, we will move into rereading the text. I will use the power point presentation and our anthology for the rereading. In rereading, the students will do most of the reading on their own.

In asking the students the text dependent questions, I remind them to go back to the text and find the evidence from the book that supports their thoughts. I provide guidance by asking them:

  • How do you know?
  • Where in the book does it show that/say that?
  • Read the sentence(s) which state what you are talking about.

Socratic Seminar

10 minutes

I gather the students back on the carpet for our socratic seminar. I quickly review the rules for participation and the Handing-Off method that students use to maintain the flow of the discussion moving along. They can reference the Handing-Off Chart for discussion starters that will help them enter the conversation.

Today, we look at two questions:

  1. Why did the author write this story?
  2. Choose one character. Why is this character important to the story?

As students respond to these questions, I encourage them to go back into the text to support their thoughts.

I am looking for them to answer with complete sentences and to be participating by either sharing or listening. I am also looking for them to know how to hand-off the discussion to their peers.

To keep them engaged in this process because it is new, I make this time "short and sweet," as they say. As the year progresses, I will extend this Socratic Seminar time, and students will take on a bigger role. 

I have attached a document that goes more in depth of how I implement Socratic Seminar in my classroom in case you are curious and want to know more about this strategy.

Journal Response

20 minutes

Now, my students write a response to the following: Choose one character; why is the character important in the story? Show evidence from the story.

As they write, I walk around and make sure they are on task and provide assistance if needed. As soon as they are done, I read their writing and give them feedback.

I am looking for them to write in complete sentences. I am asking them to be careful with spelling especially if the word they are writing can be found in the text. I encourage them to use neat writing too.

Here are some of their work samples: