This editable close reading exercise features 9 text-dependent, higher-order questions, helping students improve reading comprehension of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird (chapter 1). An answer key is included.
This resource aligns well to Adolescent Literacy Project teaching principles. I recommend using these worksheets as the basis for small-group discussions. Through these discussions, students pose and 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 – and teacher – comprehend their thinking. In the role of facilitator, I observe my students becoming more consistently engaged with the novel and taking greater ownership of their learning.
In addition to helping students gain deeper understanding of the material and greater confidence in their ability to read harder texts, this resource was designed to prepare students for ACT-style questioning.
Questions pertain to the following:
- Simon Finch’s history and how he “regarded with impotent fury the disturbance between the North and the South”
- Atticus Finch’s history and how he broke “the tradition of living on the land”
- Atticus Finch’s first two clients and their ignorance
- The Haverfords’ having “dispatching Maycomb’s leading blacksmith in a misunderstanding arising from the alleged wrongful detention of a mare”
- The narrator’s intent when describing Calpurnia’s hand as “wide as a bed slat and twice as hard”
- An interpretation of the following phrase: “inhabited by an unknown entity the mere description of whom was enough to make us behave for days on end”
- Defining and interpreting vocabulary and phrasing in context (‘predilection’ and ‘a neighborhood scold’)
- Atticus’s use of metaphor to communicate how there are several ways to break a person down to the point of isolation from the outside world