On the back of a motorcycle, I was trying to figure out an easy way to assess and interest my readers. Being a middle school teacher, I find myself continually frustrated because nothing on the web seemed to fit my needs. Either what I find is too easy or better suited for an AP exam, my students couldn’t hope to access. So, still on the back of a motorcycle, I started to list what I really need to truly teach reading while not boring my students to drool state:
1. Fluency passages
2. Short passages that have questions directly aligned with the components of comprehension
3. Passages that are interesting to my kids and that can still be used to support the curriculum and Common Core State Standards.
I have to admit that it seemed a little impossible. Then it hit me! One of my favorite things is to teach the hero’s quest. For those of you that don’t know, the hero’s quest is a literary trope that has influenced everything from Star Wars to The Hobbit. It is super fun to teach and my kids love it.
So I decided to create a one stop resource. These passages are short and to the point but taken together, they tell a complete story of one hero’s quest. They can be used in isolation or as an entire unit. They include word counts so they can also be used to assess fluency. Each passage has questions broken down by skill. I focused on the most important skills and the ones my students have the most difficulty with: summarizing (which includes main idea and detail questions), inferencing and predicting, author’s purpose, compare and contrast as well as sequencing and organizing.
Because each passage is about the same length and has similar questions, they can easily be used for pre and post assessments AND all are leveled so you know the reading level. This is a great motivator for students who are struggling and even for those who aren’t. This is part one of a part two resource. It contains steps 1-7 of the Hero’s Quest.
As I use this in my classroom, I have found daily value, watching students grow as readers and become engaged in the hero’s quest. I hope you find it just as valuable!
This includes 11 passages and corresponding questions.