This editable 12-question close reading exercise helps students derive deeper meaning from the twelfth chapter of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. By engaging in this activity, students will draw rational inferences about characters, evaluate text to determine tone, explore author’s intent, define complex vocabulary in context, and more. Two abridged passages are included: one focusing on Scout’s struggle to understand Jem’s adolescent changes, the other on Calpurnia’s confrontation with Lula. An answer key with detailed rationale for each correct choice is included, as are Word and PDF versions of the assessment.
Questions pertain to the following:
- Applying grammar rules: choosing the most adequate coordinating conjunction.
- Drawing logical inferences: Scout’s ignorance in regard to Jem’s adolescent changes.
- Discerning meaning from what the text explicitly states: "Mrs. Dubose was not cold in her grave.
- Discerning meaning from regional expressions: “fret too much.”
- Analyzing text for deeper meaning: a meaningful shift in Scout and Calpurnia’s relationship, contrasting previous interactions.
- Analyzing text: discerning tone in a passage.
- Determining author’s intent: the effect imagery has on the reader.
- Defining vocabulary in context: contemptuously.
- Analyzing text for deeper meaning: Scout’s struggle to understand the change in Calpurnia’s speech.
- Analyzing craft: using context to determine the most applicable theme.
- Analyzing character and citing textual evidence in support of a claim: Calpurnia’s emotional and mental state.
This resource aligns well to Adolescent Literacy Project teaching principles. I recommend using these worksheets as the basis for small-group discussions, letting students discuss, debate, and support their reasoning for answer choices. 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 may prepare students for ACT-style questioning.