This editable 8-question close reading exercise helps students derive deeper meaning from the thirteenth chapter of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. By engaging in this activity, students will draw rational inferences about characters, apply literary devices to the text with an emphasis on allusion, define complex vocabulary in context, and more. One abridged passage is featured, focusing on expository details pertaining to Aunt Alexandra and her traditional Southern values in contrast to the children’s outlook on the world. 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:
- Clarifying meaning: “She had river-boat, boarding-school manners.”
- Clarifying meaning: “Born in the objective case.”
- Analyzing character: Aunt Alexandra’s lack of critical thinking abilities in contrast Atticus and his children.
- Drawing rational inferences about characters: Jem’s attitude toward Aunt Alexandra’s traditionally Southern values.
- Defining challenging phrases in context: “obliquely expressed.”
- Clarifying meaning and applying literary devices (allusion): “I revived half-remembered tales of changelings and mandrake roots that Jem had spun long ago.”
- Analyzing character and citing textual evidence in support of a claim: the quality that constitutes “fine folks.”
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.