Bends in the Road
Potential Mini-lessons
Readers know what a social issue is and build their schema by reading about contemporary social issues.
  • Readers can read essays and commentary about social issues in order to answer the question “What is a social issue?”
  • Readers can immerse themselves in essays and commentary about social issues and then use their new schema to brainstorm a list of social issues.
  • Readers recognize that a social issue is a big, real world issue, which might appear in books or in our lives in a smaller, more personal way. One social issue is….and an example of that social issue in real life is…, A social issue isn’t…
Readers look at social issues with a critical lens.
  • Readers know that every book has many social issues hiding inside. Readers look for evidence that show when a character is dealing with social issues (as opposed to a personal issue) and keep track of the issues that appear in the book.
  • Readers know that big social issues (racism, sexism, ect.) affect us in smaller, more personal ways. We look for places where a character is struggling, which helps us notice what bigger social issues are involved.
  • Readers can choose one issue to focus on, and this issue can become a lens. A lens is a way of reading a text with a certain issue in the front of our minds.
  • We use our lens to collect evidence about how a certain social issue is working in the text. We look for the obvious examples and also for the small clues that the issue is there.
Readers gain a deeper understanding of a social issue by looking closely at characters.
  • Readers notice that characters aren’t alone in the world. Characters/People are influenced by choices that other individuals or groups make.
  • Readers think about the stakeholders for a social issue and look for the voices that are not heard. Readers ask “Why might this be this way?”
  • Readers think through the perspective of their lens and ask themselves “Who has power?” and “Why?”
  • Readers think about whether we agree or disagree with the choices characters make. Readers notice that our own knowledge about the world and our own experiences with these social issues affect how we feel about a character or story. Our own life creates a lens that we read with.
Readers find ways to bring what they learn about using a lens into their own lives.
  • Readers pay close attention to how characters can change the world around them after being impacted by a social issue.
  • Readers can put themselves in a character’s shoes and ask “What would I do to change the situation?”
  • Readers can theorize about what an author was trying to say or teach us about a certain social issue. Readers ask, “What does the author want to say about the world?”
  • Book clubs can ask themselves “What does the author want us to think about our own world and what can we do to change things in our lives?” Book clubs can make a plan to create positive change around the social issues that affect us.