Close Reading to Learn about Lyddie’s Character | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA 2012 G7:M2A:U1:L4

Close Reading to Learn about Lyddie’s Character

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Long Term Learning Targets

  • I can analyze the interaction of literary elements of a story or drama. (RL.7.3)
  • I can determine the meaning of words and phrases in literary text (figurative, connotative, and technical meanings). (L.7.4)
  • I can express my own ideas clearly during discussions. (SL.7.1)

Supporting Targets

  • I can analyze how plot, character, and setting interact in Lyddie.
  • I can use context clues-- both in the sentence and on the page--to determine the meaning of unknown words.
  • By engaging in a discussion with my partner, I can analyze one section of Lyddie to deepen my understanding of the plot, characters, and setting.

Ongoing Assessment

  • Reader's Notes
  • Chapter 6 of Lyddie Text Dependent Questions


AgendaTeaching Notes
  1. Opening

A. Entry Task: Checking for Understanding (5 minutes)

B. Reviewing Learning Targets (5 minutes)

2. Work Time

A. Reading Aloud Chapter 6 of Lyddie (10 minutes)

B. Close Reading of Page 43 in Lyddie (20 minutes)

3. Closing and Assessment

A. Fist to Five Self-Assessment (5 minutes)

4. Homework

A. Read Chapter 7 of Lyddie and Complete Reader's Notes for Chapters 6 and 7.

  • In the previous lessons, students have heard the text read aloud and seen you model. In this lesson, students work in pairs to analyze the text.
  • This lesson also introduces the routine of close reading a shorter excerpt from the text. In a close reading lesson, students will carefully read or reread one passage from the text. There is a Close Reading Guide (for teacher reference) to help you guide this portion of the lesson (Part B of Work Time). Students work with the text-dependent questions worksheet during this part of the lesson.
  • Students will closely read the excerpt from Chapter 6 in which Lyddie gives Ezekial, a runaway slave, the money she has been saving. The lesson focuses on RL.7.3. Students analyze the interaction between the two characters to better understand Lyddie and her decision to go to the mills at Lowell. By the end of the lesson, students should understand Lyddie's generosity, empathy, and commitment to freedom.
  • As a part of the close reading, students perform a mini Readers Theater. This is a way for them to apply what they have learned about the characters' feelings and motivation.
  • Note that to preserve time for the close read, you only summarize Chapter 5 rather than read it aloud. The student version of the Reader's Notes for Chapter 5 already has plot, setting, and character notes for student reference. The notes were attached in Lesson 3 (to use if you assigned it for homework); distribute them in this lesson at the beginning of Work Time A if you did not distribute them in Lesson 3.
  • Review: Lyddie Reader's Notes, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, and Chapter 5, Teacher's Editions; Chapters 3-6 in Lyddie.
  • Post: Learning targets.


effect, affect, explicitly, implicitly, infer; tavern (18), homespun (20), garment (23), servitude (23), comrade (25), mean (27), secretive (29), calicoes (29), anxieties (31), practiced skill (32), fugitive (33), diminish (43), enormity (43), leaden (43)


  • Lyddie (book; one per student)
  • Checking for Understanding, Chapters 3 and 4 entry task (one per student)
  • Weaving Room Discussion Appointments handout (from Lesson 3)
  • Page 43 in Lyddie (one per student)
  • Chapter 6 of Lyddie Text-Dependent Questions (one per student)
  • Chapter 6 of Lyddie Close Reading Guide (for Teacher Reference)
  • Lyddie Reader's Notes, Chapter 5 (from Lesson 3; see Lesson 3 Teaching Note)
  • Lyddie Reader's Notes, Chapter 6 and Chapter 7 (two separate supporting materials, one per student)
  • Lyddie Reader's Notes, Chapter 6 and Chapter 7, Teacher's Edition (two separate supporting materials; for Teacher Reference)


OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Entry Task: Checking for Understanding (15 minutes)

  • Distribute Checking for Understanding, Chapters 3 and 4 entry task to students as they enter. Remind students that they can use their Reader's Notes, but not the book itself, to answer these questions. Remind them that the purpose of this is not to "quiz" them but to show you how they are doing with taking notes and with understanding characters, plot, and setting in Lyddie.
  • Remind students of the modeling in Lesson 3 about how to use their Reader's Notes to complete the entry task. Direct them to complete the entry task individually. As they do so, circulate to check the Lyddie Reader's Notes, Chapter 3 and Chapter 4 for completion.
  • Post definitions for the Reader's Dictionary and prompt students to revise their Reader's Dictionaries as necessary.
  • Provide specific positive feedback to students for their growing mastery of the reading routines in this unit, and in particular recognize their growing independence and stamina in tackling a complex text for homework.

Note: Depending on your plans for collecting this work, you can either collect the entry task as students finish and before they discuss the questions, or you can have students keep their papers and self-correct them as the class discusses the questions.

In some lessons, the entry task will lead to class discussion. In this particular lesson, just briefly answer the questions so you will have time to focus on the close reading.

  • Setting the right tone with the Checking for Understanding routine is important in this lesson. It should serve to help students self-evaluate and to help you plan instruction. Whichever method you choose for collecting the entry task, make sure that it allows you to gather data about how well students are doing with these questions independently, as that will allow you to target specific students for more support or tailor your whole-class instruction.

B. Reviewing Learning Targets (5 minutes)

  • Direct students' attention to the learning targets for today, particularly: "By engaging in a discussion with my partner, I can analyze one section of Lyddie to deepen my understanding of the plot, character, and setting." Remind them of their experience with text-based discussions in Module 1; explain that as they read Lyddie, they will continue to have text-based discussions, but they will often focus on only one section of the text in a given class period. In a more complex text like Lyddie, it often helps readers to slow down and read one passage very closely. Reading a passage closely helps you understand the characters, plot, and setting more precisely and also helps you notice how an author is using language.
  • Ask a few students to name one thing they will do to help their partnership succeed in understanding the text. Listen for them to name actions such as clarifying definitions, asking questions, paraphrasing, staying within the excerpt, and using Reader's Notes.
  • Remind them of the norms for moving to be with their partner and direct them to take their Reader's Notes and Lyddie and use their Weaving Room Discussion Appointments handout to find their Weft Threads Discussion Appointment.

Work Time

Work Time

A. Reading Aloud Chapter 6 of Lyddie (10 minutes)

  • Briefly summarize Chapter 5 for the students (or ask a student volunteer to do so). Say: "Triphena tells Lyddie to take a vacation while the mistress is away. Lyddie decides to go to her cabin. Along the way, she stops to see Charlie. She's disappointed because he isn't home. However, the woman (Mrs. Phinney) is very kind to her. True to her independent nature, Lyddie refuses to stay for dinner and hurries on to the cabin. She wonders if Charlie thinks of these people as his new family."
  • Point out that the Reader's Notes are already completed for this chapter.
  • Read aloud from page 38 ("When she rounded the bend ...") to the break on page 42. Pause and ask students to identify the setting, characters, and event(s).

B. Close Reading of Page 43 in Lyddie (20 minutes)

  • Explain that students will now be reading an excerpt from Chapter 6 closely to analyze the interaction between Ezekial and Lyddie. This will help them understand the characters' feelings and how this event will affect Lyddie. Point out to students that the verb to affect is spelled with an "a" for action, but the noun the effect is spelled with an "e."
  • Ask the students to raise their hands if they know which learning target this addresses. Wait for most of the students to raise their hands and then call on one to explain. Listen for: "I can analyze how plot, character, and setting interact in Lyddie."
  • Distribute copies of page 43 of Lyddie. Tell students that you will read the text aloud, and they should read along silently. Ask them to underline words or phrases that help them understand how a character feels and why he or she acts in a certain way. Remind the students that the words might not explicitly name an emotion (e.g., "she was sad") but might implicitly show an emotion (e.g., "her eyes began to fill with tears").
  • Read the excerpt aloud with expression.
  • Ask the students to "popcorn" (share out randomly as they choose) some of the words they underlined that refer to Ezekial, then some that refer to Lyddie.
  • Display or distribute Chapter 6 of Lyddie Text-Dependent Questions. Use Chapter 6 of Lyddie Close Reading Guide to guide students through a series of text-dependent questions related to the excerpt on page 43.

Closing & Assessments

ClosingMeeting Students' Needs

A. Fist to Five Self-Assessment (5 minutes)

  • Direct the students to the learning target:

*     "By engaging in a discussion with my partner, I can analyze one section of Lyddie to deepen my understanding of 
 the plot, characters, and setting."

  • Ask the students to give themselves a quick self-assessment with the Fist to Five protocol. Describe what you see. For example, you might say: "I see lots of 4s and 5s! Great! That means your discussions were very useful today." Praise the students for their character analysis skills.
  • Developing self-assessment and reflection supports all learners, but research shows it supports struggling learners most.


  • Read Chapter 7 of Lyddie and complete Lyddie Reader's Notes, Chapter 6 and Chapter 7. 

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