This unit is designed to help students build knowledge about human rights while simultaneously building their ability to read challenging text closely through a case study of the threats to human rights faced by fictional characters in the novel Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan. Students read this novel in conjunction with selected articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, of which they determine the main ideas and details to support the main ideas, and then summarize. Students also read informational texts related to the story’s historical context. Through their reading, they trace the journey of Esperanza, a young girl born into a comfortable life of privilege in Mexico in the 1930s, who is forced to flee to California and must rise above her difficult circumstances.
For the mid-unit assessment, students closely read a new article of the UDHR to use str ategies to identify the meaning of unfamiliar vocabulary, to identify the main ideas, and to summarize the text. In the second half of the unit, students prepare for and participate in text-based discussions about the threats to human rights faced by the characters in Esperanza Rising and also their emotional response to these threats to human rights. This prepares them for the end of unit assessment, in which students participate in a text-based discussion about threats to human rights in Chapters 4–6 of the novel.