Chris Adcock
English Language Arts
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
High School
  • American Dream
  • Grade 11 ELA
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial

    Independent Reading Groups

    Independent Reading Groups


    In this lesson, students will meet with their Independent Reading Group to discuss the reading so far.


    Read the lesson and student content.

    Anticipate student difficulties and identify the differentiation options you will choose for working with your students.

    Whole Class Discussion

    Transition from the independent work to group work by reminding students of the protocols you established together several lessons ago.


    Look back over the norms you came up with for group work. Is there anything that you believe should be added, based on your work so far?

    Reading Group Roles

    Help students prepare to work in groups by explaining the different roles. You may change the roles if you feel that different ones will work better for your class.

    • SWD: Be aware of group composition and provide support to students as needed. It may be helpful to check in with some students prior to the group activity to help them identify ways in which they can contribute to the group's success.

    Work Time

    Meet with your group and decide who will fill each role: leader, timekeeper, note taker, and reporter.


    Reading Group Discussion

    If students are not accustomed to working in groups, they may struggle to stay on task or accomplish the assignment. You can set up a visible timer to allow students to see how much time is left. Remind them at intervals how much time they have left to accomplish various parts of the task.

    Work Time

    Now that you have your roles, work with your group to understand the following aspects of your book.

    • Setting: Describe the time and location of the book you are reading. If there are multiple settings so far, mention them all.
    • Key characters: Who are the most important characters you have been introduced to so far? For each character, provide a few important details.
    • Plot: Write a concise summary of the plot of your book up to the point your group has read.
    • Points of clarification: What parts of the book so far have been confusing? List any questions you have about things you don’t understand.

    Now discuss the following questions. Keep notes about the key points of your discussion.

    • Which, if any, characters do you see pursuing a vision of the American Dream? What is this vision, and why do you think the characters are pursuing it?
    • What obstacles have various characters faced? What possible forces might be getting in the way of their achieving their visions?
    • Do you see any broader themes, messages, or lessons emerging about the American Dream? Explain.

    Reading Group Class Share

    Elicit comments from each group and encourage students to ask questions about each other's readings.

    Work Time

    Share your group’s experiences with the whole class.

    • Provide a quick summary of the reading your group has done.
    • What was the most interesting observation your group made today?

    Listen as your classmates present their ideas.

    Journal Entry 6

    Encourage students to review their initial ideas about the American Dream from the beginning of the unit.

    • ELL: Before writing, it can be helpful to allow some additional time for ELLs to discuss with a partner, to help them organize their thoughts. Allow ELLs to discuss in their primary language if their partner speaks the same language.


    Compose Journal Entry 6 by responding to the following topic.

    • Based on your reading and discussion so far, what insight does your Independent Reading book give you about the American Dream?


    Evolving Ideas Reflection

    Prompt students to include quotations that influenced their thinking.


    What is one thing you have thought about differently through the reading, writing, and discussion you have done so far in this unit? Answer in two or three paragraphs.