Biography means "writing about life." In this study of biographies, readers will apply their knowledge about reading narratives, and apply these understandings to a different structure called narrative nonfiction.
Readers will read to learn not only about the significant character, but also the group of people that person represents and the groups of people that person impacted. That is, readers read biographies not only to learn about specific famous figures, but also to learn about the world in which they live and to extract life lessons.
The unit is divided into three bends:
1. Connect their knowledge of fictional story structures to focus on the deep comprehension and synthesis of story elements of narrative nonfiction.
2. Examine the unifying idea or message behind a life story, learning that a biography is often a commentary on society at large.
3. Apply their understandings about biographies to ease them into understanding the structures and patterns of other forms of narrative nonfiction.
The primary goal of this unit of study is to help students become stronger readers. The main objective is not to learn content, but rather to learn how to read the genre of biography. Reading skills, rather than the details of a remarkable person’s life, are the emphasis. Readers will use story grammar to determine importance, to synthesize, and to analyze critically across long stretches of text, ultimately growing theories about them. This unit helps readers develop the ability to find connections, explain the meaning of unexpected actions, and make arguments about the significance of the person's accomplishments or life activities.
The resource is organized around TWELVE big ideas of biographies. Each big idea has the following:
• Session Synopsis (a lesson plan based on Lucy Calkins' work)
• Anchor Chart (visual references for students)
• Word Wall cards (vocabulary cues)
• Purposeful Task (independent or group work)
• Response Prompt (reflection - oral or written)
All of the offerings for each big idea do not have to be completed. Choices are dependent on readers’ conceptual readiness. The intent is to provide instructional choices.
I have also included a bibliography and an overview of how I organize my reading block.
Thank you for purchasing the resource.
I hope it is a beneficial additional to your instructional plan.
Check out my other Reading Units:
Building A Reading Life