The Cay (pronounced key) by Theodore Taylor begins on the island of Curacao, a Dutch island just off the coast of Venezuela. It’s 1942 and the German submarines are torpedoing the large oil refineries which are supplying the Allies with fuels for the war being fought in Europe. Eleven-year-old Phillip is an American living on Curacao with his mother and father, the latter being an expert in producing aviation fuel. Phillip’s mother decides to return to the United States and on the way there, there ship is sunk, stranding Phillip on a raft with a huge, old. black man named Timothy. The two eventually reach land in the form of a tiny cay in the middle of Caribbean in a little traveled section called the Devil’s Mouth. Phillip, having been struck on the head during the attack, goes blind and becomes dependent on Timothy, who in return, tries to make Phillip as independent as possible. A hurricane hits and Timothy dies, but Phillip is able to survive on his own until he is finally rescued.
This is an excellent book to teach the skill of character change. Phillip starts out being very immature and prejudiced against black people, but as he learns to do things for himself at Timothy’s insistence and despite being blind, he matures and loses his prejudice against blacks. Sequence of events is an included item on a section quiz and point-of-view can also be examined. Deciphering dialect - in this case West Indian dialect that is spoken by Timothy - is another skill that can be covered.
This unit divides the book into three sections. Each section has a list of vocabulary words with the definition as used in the book and the page number where the word is found. (Dell Yearling 2002 edition) . I’ve included the vocabulary list of words on a second page without numbers and hyphens to make it easy to generate a crossword puzzle on discoveryeducation.com for extra vocabulary practice. Directions are on the page. A quiz for each section is included as well as a final book test. The section quizzes test the students’ knowledge of the vocabulary words and has 10 or 15 comprehension questions about the section. The final test has 10 multiple choice questions and 15 true or false questions. The final vocabulary test selects 20 of the words from the three sections and breaks them down into two ten questions matching sets. Section quizzes and the final test are given in both a regular format and a modified format. The modified test (Form M) breaks the vocabulary list into smaller units and gives the page number as reference for the comprehension questions. The true and false section in the final test is modified by having the qualifying word or phrase underlined as well as a reference page for locating the answer. You may choose to further modify the test by eliminating one of the multiple choice answers after downloading the file. A modified test may be used by students who require accommodations or modifications to tests. Answer keys are provided in the same format to facilitate easier grading. Margins used to create this unit are left margin: 1.0, right margin: 1.0, top margin: 0.6, and bottom margin:0.8 This unit created by Jane Maitski.
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