Grade 8: Close Reading of “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin – A Common Core Unit for ELLs


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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.8.10 By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, at the high end of grades 6-8 text complexity band independently and proficiently.


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.

W.8.5 With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on how well purpose and audience have been addressed.

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.

SL.8.4 Present claims and findings, emphasizing salient points in a focused, coherent manner with relevant evidence, sound valid reasoning, and well-chosen details; use appropriate eye contact, adequate volume, and clear pronunciation.

SL.8.6 Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.


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

L.8.5(a) Interpret figures of speech (e.g. verbal irony, puns) in context.

L.8.6 Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases; gather vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.


This Grade 8 unit titled “Close Reading of THE STORY OF AN HOUR by Kate Chopin—A Common Core Unit for ELLs” from is a set of five ELA/Literacy lessons of no specified length.  In this unit, instruction is highly structured as ELL students work to gain background knowledge of a time period prior to their work on a series of interactive readings. Vocabulary instruction is embedded throughout the unit’s activities that move beyond a literal understanding of a complex text to the analysis of its characters, the discovery of irony in certain events, and a summarization of the plot. Working in small groups, graphic organizers are used to answer text dependent questions. As a culminating activity, students individually write a brief argument that defends whether or not they find the ending of the story to be ironic.


Connecticut teachers should be aware that this unit does not include an aligned rubric to provide sufficient guidance for interpreting student performance of the major targeted grade-level Common Core standards.   While it is important to provide highly structured organizers for ELL students to use while engaging in the lesson activities, it would be more informative on the summative assessment to allow students to independently write their argument without a graphic organizer.  Additional background information may be needed by some ELL students to fully visualize and understand the events and the characters’ actions/feelings.


This unit is a good example of how to tailor instruction of complex, grade-level texts in order to engage ELL students in a productive struggle that helps them to build toward independence. Instruction provides appropriate scaffolding that includes discreet instruction and practice in reading and writing skills so that students directly experience the complexity of the text.  Extension activities are provided.