Narrator’s Point of View and Evidence of Author’s Perspective in Dragonwings | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2012 G6:M3A:U1

Narrator’s Point of View and Evidence of Author’s Perspective in Dragonwings

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In this unit, students are involved in a study of how an author develops point of view and how an author's perspective, based on his or her culture, is evident in his or her writing. Students will begin reading Laurence Yep's Dragonwings (870L), a high-interest novel about an eight-year old boy from China who joins his father in San Francisco in the early 1900s. As they read the novel, students will also read excerpts of Laurence Yep's biography The Lost Garden in order to determine how his culture and experiences have shaped his perspective, and how his perspective is evident in Dragonwings.

Through the close reading of these texts, students will learn multiple strategies for acquiring and using academic vocabulary. At the end of Unit 1, having read half of the novel, students will write a literary analysis explaining how being brought up in a Chinese family in San Francisco affected Laurence Yep's perspective of Chinese immigrants living in San Francisco, supported by details from Dragonwings that show evidence of his perspective.

Big Ideas & Guiding Questions

  • How does an author develop the narrator's point of view and perspective?
  • How does an author's culture affect his perspective, and how is that perspective communicated through his writing?
  • Understanding diverse points of view helps us to live in an increasingly diverse society.

Content Connections

This module is designed to address English Language Arts standards as students read literature and informational text about life in San Francisco's Chinatown in the early 1900s. However, the module intentionally incorporates Social Studies practices and themes to support potential interdisciplinary connections to this compelling content. These intentional connections are described below.

Big ideas and guiding questions are informed by the New York State Common Core K-8 Social Studies Framework:

Unifying Themes (pages 6-7)

  • Theme 1: Individual Development and Cultural Identity: The role of social, political, and cultural interactions supports the development of identity. Personal identity is a function of an individual's culture, time, place, geography, interaction with groups, influences from institutions, and lived experiences.
  • Theme 2: Development, Movement, and Interaction of Cultures: Role of diversity within and among cultures. Aspects of culture such as belief systems, religious faith, or political ideas as influences on other parts of a culture such as its institutions or literature, music, and art.
  • Theme 10: Global Connections and Exchange: Past, current, and likely future global interactions and connections. Cultural diffusion, the spread of ideas, beliefs, technology, and goods. Role of technology. Benefits/consequences of global interdependence (social, political, economic). Causes of and patterns of migration of people. Tension between national interests and global priorities.

 Social Studies Practices, Gathering, Using, and Interpreting Evidence, Grades 5-8:

  • Descriptor 2: Identify, describe, and evaluate evidence about events from diverse sources (including written documents, works of art, photographs, charts and graphs, artifacts, oral traditions, and other primary and secondary sources)
  • Descriptor 3: Analyze evidence in terms of content, authorship, point of view, purpose, and format; identify bias; explain the role of bias and audience in presenting arguments or evidence


Each unit is made up of a sequence of between 5-20 lessons. The “unit at a glance” chart in the curriculum map breaks down each unit into its lessons, to show how the curriculum is organized in terms of standards address, supporting targets, ongoing assessment, and protocols. It also indicates which lessons include the mid-unit and end-of-unit assessments.

Texts and Resources to Buy

Texts that need to be procured. Please download the Trade Book List for procurement guidance.

Text or Resource Quantity ISBNs
by Laurence Yep
One per student
ISBN: 978-006440085, 0064400859

Optional: Community, Experts, Fieldwork, Service, and Extensions

Invite recent immigrants to the United States who could speak about the experience of coming to a new country and fitting into a new culture.


  • Arrange for a visit to a local Chinatown, so that students can compare the buildings and architecture to those outside Chinatown.
  • Arrange for a visit to a flight/aviation museum or exhibit, so that students can learn more about early flying machines like those described in Dragonwings.
  • Arrange for a visit to a museum or exhibit about earthquakes, so that students can learn more about earthquakes and the aftermath.


Optional Extensions

  • A study of the history of a local Chinatown.
  • A study of the history of flight.

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