Vocabulary to improve reading comprehension:
pestilence, sagacious, brazier, revelers, dominion
Tier 3 Language Arts Vocabulary:
setting, personification, simile, symbol
How do Poe's use of setting, symbolism, personification, and simile impact the overall effect of the story?
What before, during, and after reading strategies assist in improving reading comprehension?
2, 45-minute periods
W= By the end of the lesson, students will have read and comprehended a story written with complex word choice and sentence structure. Students will understand the impact of literary devices such as personification, symbol, simile, and setting on a story.
H=Before reading, students will define a few key words to aid in comprehension and will briefly hear a connection between the story and the author's life to help build background knowledge. During reading, students will stop to draw quick sketches of what they are reading. This activity develops students' ability to visualize and gives them a chance to process what they are reading. After reading, students will reflect upon the text by sequencing events, matching quotations, and analyzing use of literary devices.
E=This lesson will equip students with reading skills that they can transfer to other stories within the Mystery and Suspense unit.
R=Students must return to the text to sequence events and match quotations. They will revisit their student-friendly definitions as needed during reading. In small and large group discussion, they will rethink their understanding of the use of literary devises.
E=Students will express their understanding of the story through their retelling and will evaluate with their retelling partners whether they were able to include main events. They will evaluate their ability to sequence the narrative events by referring often to the text. They will summarize the reading skills utilized in this lesson so that they can transfer these skills as they approach new stories.
T=This lesson can be tailored to various reading levels by allowing students able to read the text independently to do so; reading aloud to other students or utilizing an audio version for struggling readers; using an adapted version of the story for readers significantly below grade level.
O=This lesson is organized using before, during, and after reading activities to help students approach the text. Prior to this lesson, students would already have used student-friendly definition formulas, defined literary terms and plot elements and discussed their use in poetry, and gained relevant background knowledge on the author's life. Following the reading of this story, students would read one or two more stories with guidance from the teacher before reading and responding independently to a story. This technique scaffolds their ability to read complex texts independently.
1. Vocabulary- Prior to reading this story, students would typically have read "The Tell-Tale Heart" as a class. They would already be familiar with Poe's use of complex vocabulary and sentence structure and understand the importance of knowing definitions of a few words essential to the plot. Students would have already practiced student-friendly definition patterns. Students could complete the first section of the packet in partners or individually with classroom dictionaries.
2. Building Background Knowledge - Students would have already learned some basic background knowledge about the life of Edgar Allan Poe. For this story, however, it is helpful and intriguing for students to learn a bit more about tuberculosis--the disease that took the lives of Poe's mother, step-mother, and wife. A quick mini-lesson focusing on these facts helps to engage students: 1) vaccines for TB are now widely used in the US, but prior to the vaccine, this disease had become an epidemic becuase of its high level of contagion 2) TB affects the lungs and causes extreme couging; in some cases victims of the disease may cough up blood 3) Poe realized his own wife was inflicted when she was singing and a cough produced blood on her lips. The story "Masque of the Red Death" seems to personify the disease that caused so much tragedy in Poe's life.3. Literary Terms - Students would have been introduced to these terms through poetry in our Mystery and Suspense unit. I ask students to review the terms by writing definitions in their own words (and referring to notes as needed). Students should be looking for Poe's use of these devices as they read.
1. Students get in partners and re-tell the story using their stapleless books. Students should alternate explaining pages and fill in details to help their partners. During this time, the teacher circulates to clarify any misunderstandings.
2 and 3. Students attempt to put the narrative events listed in their packets in order. While students work on this independently for a couple of minutes using their books as needed, the teacher passes out the 15 large event cards (1 to each of 15 students). The teacher then asks those student to arrange themselves in the correct order while the teacher passes out cards with the quotations to those who did not get a large card. These students attempt to match their quotes with one of the events on the chart. Once the first group is in narrative order, those with the quotes should then place themselves next to the appropriate card. The events and quotes then read their cards aloud in order. The class can discuss any changes that need to be made and then write their final answers in their packets.
4. Students should attempt to first answer the literary term questions independently and then discuss them in partners and share with the entire group in a final discussion. (Think-Ink, Pair-Share)
5. Before exiting, students should reflect upon the reading strategies used in this lesson to help them comprehend the story by completing the ticket out the door.
The teacher should circulate to spot check vocabulary and literary term definitions
As students do their quick sketch books, the teacher should observe students and provide immediate support for individuals who may be struggling to summarize a section of the story. The teacher can direct the student to key lines in the text or help clarify additional word meanings that may be hindering the student's comprehension.
By listening to the students' retellings and observing the student's ability to sequence themselves and match the quotes to the events, the teacher should be able to sense whether students comprehended the plot of the story. The purpose of the ticket out the door is to have students reflect upon the reading strategies used to aid comprehension. The teacher should return these tickets to students when students read their next Poe story to help students transfer the skills.
optional audio book for differentiation:
Edgar Allan Poe Audio Collection [unabridged] published by Caedmon ISBN: 0694524190
optional abridged version for differentiation:
Edgar Allan Poe's Tales of Mystery and Madness by Edgar Allan Poe, illustrated by Gris Grimly ISBN: 0689848374
Tales of Terror by Edgar Allan Poe, illustrated by Michale McCurdy ISBN: 0375833056
online version of the stapleless book:
background on Poe's life:
Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site
National Park Service site on Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
background on tuberculosis (article from World Book online):