Using Poppleton to Teach RL.2 & RL.3: A Common Core Reading Lesson

Here's a lesson to teach reading literature standards, RL.1, about key details, RL.2 about the lesson of the story (and how the key details of the events help one understand the lesson), and RL.3, describing how characters respond to events.   

Use the story Neighbors, by Cynthia Rylant.  If you don't have it, no worries, show it to your students here through YouTube

In this story, Poppleton gets tired of his neighbor Cherry Sue constantly offering him food, morning, noon and night.  At first, he obliges her and accepts her offerings, but day after day, his frustration grows stronger until finally he snaps and shoots her with a garden hose.   In order to understand Poppleton's growing frustration and motivation for doing what he did, readers must "hold" and "carry" key details from each event as it unfolds to understand why Poppleton acted the way he did.  By teaching anchor standards RL.2 and 3, you help readers of text, even the simplest of text like Poppleton books to consider how events in the stories are related to one another. In addition, reading and inferring for key ideas and details will push readers into inferring character motivation and see how their actions are cause and effect relationships to the events in the story.  Obviously, Poppleton has reasons for his behavior, and even though this may not be typical behavior for him, readers will come to learn more about him and his behaviors across several Poppleton books and come to expect characters to act in a certain way. If you're readers have already had text based discussions about the central message of stories, then your readers will probably come up with the central message of this story as, Poppleton learned his lesson about not losing his temper next time and using his words, or, Don't go to the neighbors if you're not invited. Who knows? What will your students say the lesson is?

Use any of the RL.2 or RL.3 sheets in my new Reading Literature packet to have students share their thinking about how the key details of events from this story developed the message.  Like this one would be perfect!

The Poppleton Common Core RL lesson, by way of Lucy Calkins, in "Pathways to the Common Core."

Happy Reading! Jen


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