Llorona - Day of the Dead short story, reading fluency for middle school

Robert Walton
Grade Levels
6th - 8th
Formats Included
  • PDF
10 pages
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Robert Walton


“Llorona” blends two ghost stories, a local legend and a fair dose of Central California history into what I hope is an interesting tale for middle school students. Its Flesch reading ease score is 89%. Its Flesch-Kincaid grade level is 2.5 I intend for this story and its activities to be used as a stand-alone reading fluency unit. There are five days worth of activities, including a puzzle and answer keys for all of the questions.

Reading fluency is a problem for many young people in many middle school classrooms. Strategies and patterns of thought are useful tools for students who experience difficulty in reading. I’ve taken my newest Joaquin Murrieta story and created daily lessons using such tools by having students apply each lesson to the same piece of text: vocabulary development on Monday; prediction on Tuesday; literal comprehension on Wednesday; reciprocal teaching and inference on Thursday; a post test and synthesis questions on Friday. I hope you’ll find that students’ comfort and familiarity with the characters will lead to both mastery and enjoyment of the story.

"Llorona" was honored by being included in the Bewildering Stories 3rd Quarterly Review of best stories.

If you and your students enjoy “Llorona”, please have a look at my other Joaquin story units on TPT. Also, you might take a peek at my author website to find out more about my writing for young people:


Total Pages
10 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
1 Week
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when encountering an unknown term important to comprehension or expression.
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases by using context clues, analyzing meaningful word parts, and consulting general and specialized reference materials, as appropriate.
Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.


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