Iditarod: The First Ten Years – Reading Informational Text

Following our Teacher on the Trail’s theme of the Iditarod Air Force, this month’s lesson prompt, based on the book “The First Ten Years”, is for pages 114 – 115, 117 – 118. “The History of the Early Iditarod Air Force” by Rob Stapleton. The comparison text is “Iditarod Air Force: lifeblood of the race” by Dorothy Olmstead on

This lesson shows how to use both texts to compare text types and author’s point of view.

grade level: 6 – 8

subject:  language arts – Informational Text

College and Career Readiness Standards practiced in this lesson:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.3  Analyze in detail how a key individual, event, or idea is introduced, illustrated, and elaborated in a text (e.g., through examples or anecdotes).

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.6  Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and explain how it is conveyed in the text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.9  Compare and contrast one author’s presentation of events with that of another (e.g., a memoir written by and a biography on the same person).

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.4  Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings

Have students do a first read, marking the text for any questions about content or words they are unfamiliar with.  Then read the article aloud as a model of fluency; discuss any content or vocabulary questions students may have.

For each text:

  • Students identify the author and determine the author’s point of view, positive, negative, neutral, and give examples of how that is conveyed in the text.
  • Give each text to half of the class. Have students read it individually, then have them read it in small groups of the same text.  Have each half of the class, or smaller groups if it is easier, prepare a 3 – 5 minute presentation (Google Sliders, posters, etc.) to summarize their reading.  After the presentations, students can compare/contrast the texts as to:  information given, people mentioned, dates covered, descriptions of flying and what pilots say about being in the Iditarod Air Force.
  • Do a word diffusion.  Using words students marked for discussion, announce each word before reading the text and have each student sort the words into 1 of 3 categories:  T – I can TEACH this word, H – I have HEARD of this word, Q – I have QUESTIONS about this word. After reading and discussion, have students revisit their lists and reorganize their words in the same fashion as before.

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