Unit 4, Lesson Plan Review 1

A High-Interest Novel Helps Struggling Readers Confront Bullying in Schools

By Kathleen Benson Quinn

MlA Citation:

Quinn, Kathleen Bensen. “A High-Interest Novel Helps Struggling Readers Confront Bullying in Schools – ReadWriteThink.” Readwritethink.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.



Grade: 9-12

Content Are: ELA

Theme: Developing student understanding and knowledge about bullying.

Topic: Using the novel The Bully by Paul Langan to explore and address the issue of bullying in school.

Summarize Standards: This unit focuses on the NCTE/IRL reading and writing standards for 9-12 grade. Students will be asked to read and analyze the novel that the unit focus on. Per these standards, students are asked to render an in-depth literary analysis of the unit’s novel through appropriate written and verbal means.

Anchor Text: The Bully by Paul Langan (Townsend Press, 2002)

Alternate Text Resources:

Literacy Connections: Readers’ Theater

RT Tips: A Guide to Reader’s Theatre

What is RT?

Educator’s Guide to Bullying

Parents’ Press: Bullies & Victims


Literary Elements Map

Group Processing Evaluation Form

Readers Theatre Evaluation


Lesson Phases: The initial lesson phase will involve class discussion about bullying and introducing the unit’s focus novel. The next phase is the reading phase, students comprehension of the novel will be assessed through Literary Elements Mapping, T-Charts, Journal Writing, and Readers Theater. The final phase is the postreading phase where students present their completed Literary Elements Mapping and Readers Theater skits. Worked on in small groups as students read the novel these two assignments are the culmination of this unit.

Instructional Literary Strategies: Through journaling and class discussion the impact and pain of bullying will be explored. Through these aspects of the unit, the novel will be analyzed and brought into a more personal and immediate dimension. As the novel explores bullying, students will be encouraged through these activities to relate the events of the novel to their own experiences with bullying. Through this personal element, the lessons of the novel and this unit will stick with students for years to come. 

Evaluate Student Engagement: This unit fosters student engagement in the learning process through its well thought out and comprehensive reading activities. Through this unit’s carefully planned reading of the novel and the corresponding activities, students will develop all the skills mandated by the NCTE/IRL standards. Hopefully, the class and the teacher will be able to handle the very personal nature of the novel’s subject matter. If the teacher is able to capture the pain and horror of bullying and the class is able to have mature discussions about bullying then this unit can be a powerful opportunity to make a positive difference. If the class or the teacher is not up to this lofty task then this unit will simply be a well-organized novel analysis.

Thinking Skills: This lesson encourages the analytical and compression skills that are essential in the ELA.

Like/Dislikes: I like this lesson quite a bit, it is well laid out and the activities are well written. My only dislike is the reading schedule. It would be quite hard to read a full novel and complete all the ancillary activities in only six classes (90min).

Possible Modifications or Adaptions: I would lengthen this unit and explore more deeply the emotional/societal implications of bullying.

Technology Used: All the activities in this unit besides the Readers Theater can be done or found online.

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