This editable 12-question guided reading worksheet promotes active reading strategies, facilitating general reading comprehension and higher-order analysis of a Grimms’ fairy tale: “The Owl.” By completing this activity, secondary students will demonstrate general plot recall and active engagement with the text via making annotations and answering high-order questions. Though labeled a close reading handout, it may also serve as an assessment tool that holds students accountable for assigned independent or group reading of this short story.
The resource is delivered in Word Document and Google Document. An answer key is provided, as is a copy of the narrative, which is in the public domain. “The Owl,” an 833-word text, has an estimated Lexile measure of 1300-1400, making it an appropriate addition to any short story or fantasy unit at the high school level.
This resource aligns well to Academic Literacy Project teaching principles and may serve as the basis for small-group discussions. Through these discussions, students decode language and pose/respond to questions relating to plot, broad topics, and character development, demonstrating an ability to analyze how complex characters transform and advance the plot and themes by applying logic and citing compelling, meaningful textual evidence. They will also evaluate their peers’ reasoning and use of rhetoric to advance claims, clarifying or challenging unclear ideas. Using this resource for structured guidance, students, ultimately, will present information, conclusions, and supporting textual evidence clearly, concisely, and appropriately, thereby helping their peers comprehend their thinking.
In addition to helping students gain deeper understanding of the material and greater confidence in their ability to read and comprehend complex texts, this resource helps prepare students for ACT reading question types.
Questions pertain to the following:
- Exploring character motivations, whether explicitly stated in the text or implied through character actions, and articulating responses clearly
- Exploring the author’s craft, exploring unique and unfamiliar phrasing to discern intent and meaning
- Responding clearly, concisely, and accurately to analytical questioning
- Analyzing textual details to draw inferences and support rational arguments
- Applying knowledge of literary devices to the text, articulating how they are applied while citing textual evidence in support of claims (emphasis on hyperbole, simile, and situational irony)
- Exploring textual details to find and articulate similarities among characters
- Analyzing the accuracy of an analogy made in the text
- Writing with clarity and precision