This is a guide to a close reading of Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai. It's a wonderful book written in free verse chronicling Ha's, a ten year old girl, journey from war-torn Vietnam to Alabama and her problems as a second language learner and with bullying.
Close reading will be an integral part of teaching with the Common Core. Students need to know how to be analytic when reading texts and poems. I have outlined the components of authentic literacy and what it looks like in the classroom. I formatted the unit as follows. It begins with an explanation of close reading and how to format a lesson. Then, there is a story summary, themes listed and character descriptions. After that, I created focus questions for each chapter. There are explicit gradual release formatted lessons sprinkled throughout. I included a close reading sheet for each of the explicit lessons. You could use the focus questions to create more close reading lessons using the blank templates or for class discussions. At the end, there is a blank sheet for planning and to use with close reading of different chapters. I hope your students enjoy it as much as my students did.
Awards for Inside Out and back Again:
2012 Newbery Honor Book, 2011 National Book Award for Young People's Literature, New York Times Best Seller
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