Get the full list of nonfiction links students will access during the 6th grade C. I. A. Unit of Study, The Children of the Dust Bowl. Click on the links to view and print each nonfiction article in this unit and book club!
The more students know about the topic of a story, or nonfiction text, the greater their understanding and learning will be as they read. Reading several texts on a single topic increases students’ acquisition of new vocabulary.
Across the Read Side By Side Reading Program, students read literary and informational chapter books. Their understanding of the concepts, ideas, and themes in these text is extended through the reading shorter, topic-aligned articles, poems, passages, maps, and primary documents.
Some of these articles are written for the program and are included in the guide, while others are electronic resources, requiring students to participate in on-line reading. It is also an option for teachers to print these articles for students if computers are not available for the lesson.
The way in which the texts are sequenced across the program is important. Each unit of study bootstraps the language and knowledge that will be needed for the next. This careful sequencing makes advanced text more accessible to less proficient readers; the sequence intentionally builds students vocabulary and domain knowledge. Across sixth grade units, students explore the topic of the American Dream and ask the question, “Is the American Dream still alive?”
Children of the Dust Bowl, by Jerry Stanley
As this historical nonfiction text opens, readers learn about the effects of the Stock Market Crash of 1929, further exploring the topic in a video titled, What Are Stocks? and two on-line articles, The Market Crashes, and Sinking Deeper and Deeper: 1929-33. Stopping to learn about stocks and the day known today as Black Tuesday, helps students access and build prior knowledge needed to understand the read-aloud book, Children of the Dust Bowl.
Students view the powerful documentary produced by PBS titled, Surviving the Dust Bowl, also available on DVD. The transcript can be found here. This documentary tells about the drought in the Southern Plains in the 1930s and the dust storms that occurred as a result. Firsthand accounts of this time period, as well as pictures and video, make this documentary unforgettable.
Near the end of the unit, students learn more about Dorothea Lange, whose iconic photographs of the Great Depression helped instigate social change. First students will read an article titled, Dorothea Lange’s Social Vision: Photography and the Great Depression. Then they will watch a video titled Dorothea Lange, Migrant Mother, 1936 which shows Dorothea Lange’s granddaughter visiting the Library of Congress in order to view, for the first time, her grandmother’s original photographs. (Warning: This lesson will give you goose bumps!! This may be my favorite lesson in the entire Read Side By Side Reading Program!)
The books selected for the 6.2 book club all are historical fiction titles, and take place during the time of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency. They will begin by watching a video titled, The American Presidents: Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Students will read nonfiction as they study the setting of their assigned books—high, mid, or low—during the book club time. Additionally, each book club title offers several nonfiction texts for students to read when finishing work early, or to extend learning at home. Below are links to those articles:
A Letter to Mrs. Roosevelt, by C. Coco De Young
Sylvia and Aki, By Winifred Conkling
Out of the Dust, By Karen Hesse
Written by Sarah Collinge