This Common Core based lesson on Sherman Alexie's Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian has students combine text evidence and inference making with individual, paired, and whole group work for an engaging lesson.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.1 Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.10 Read and comprehend complex literary and informational texts independently and proficiently.
Students should already be familiar with what an inference is and what it means to make an inference.
Students should have completed this reading before they begin the activity.
How to use a three level reading guide:
Explain to students that they will begin at level one in which the answers are “right there on the page.” In level two, the answers will not be directly stated in the text, and they will have to read between the lines. In level three, students will give opinion-based responses that they will support using the text or their own experience and ideas.
First, students will work alone to mark each statement true or false, then they will go back and get text evidence to support each of their answers.
Next, students will partner up and share their responses. If students’ answers are in agreement, they should simply move on. If their answers are different, they should compare text evidence. Students may change answers if their partner has more compelling text evidence, then they should also update their evidence to show why they changed their minds.
Students will probably go through the level one questions quickly. Level two will take them more time. Once most students are on level three, I usually bring them together for a whole-class discussion of those questions. In that discussion, we relate the level three questions back to major themes that are emerging in the story so far.