Grade 8: THE LANDLADY by Roald Dahl, a Close Reading


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Reading Literature

RL.8.1 Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

RL.8.2 Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to the characters, setting, and plot; provide an objective summary of the text.

RL.8.3 Analyze how particular lines of dialogue or incidents in a story or drama propel the action, reveal aspects of a character, or provoke a decision.

RL.8.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts.

RL.8.5 Compare and contrast the structure of two or more texts and analyze how the differing structure of each text contributes to its meaning and style.

RL.8.6 Analyze how differences in the points of view of the characters and the audience or reader (e.g., created through the use of dramatic irony) create such effects as suspense or humor.


W.8.1 Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.

W.8.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

Speaking and Listening

SL.8.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 8 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.


L.8.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

L.8.2 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

L.8.4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words or phrases based on grade 8 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.

L.8.5 Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.


This Grade 8 lesson titled “THE LANDLADY by Roald Dahl, a Close Reading” by Washoe District and cited on is intended to be completed in five 45-minute sessions of English Language Arts/Literacy instruction. The lesson gives students opportunities to read a complex text closely and discuss the short story, answering text-dependent questions as a guide. As a culminating task, students independently complete an evidence chart in order to write an argumentative essay about how the author creates suspense and a sense of foreboding as he drives the reader to discover the moral of the story. Students may use any relevant notes they compiled while reading and answering the text-dependent questions as they craft their essays.


Connecticut teachers should be cautioned that the website and the teacher notes/preparation materials will require familiarity to be used effectively. No pacing guide is included. As the lesson materials state, additional supports and accommodations may be needed for students who are ELL, have disabilities, or read well below the grade level text band. While there are assessments guidelines, there is no aligned-rubric that elicits direct, observable evidence of the degree to which a student can independently demonstrate the major grade-level CCSS standards with appropriately complex text. It is important to be aware that page numbers and unit/week designations found in this lesson relate to a specific edition of the text. If you are using a trade book or different edition of this title, the page/unit/week references in this lesson will not match. Consult the content referenced in the body of the lesson to determine appropriate page numbers for your text. The short story is not included in the lesson materials; however, the text is available for no cost online in several places on the Internet. Click on this sentence for a link to a free download of the story.


This lesson is a good example of how to make reading text closely, examining textual evidence, and discerning deep meaning a central focus of instruction. The instructional activities focus on challenging sections of the text and engage students in a productive struggle through discussion questions and other supports that build toward independence. Materials include text-dependent questions with suggested evidence-based answers for teachers, a list of Tier ll/Academic Vocabulary, and for the culminating task: a sample completed pre-writing evidence chart and a student response sample of the argumentative essay.