Last year, a Storyworks class from Baton Rouge wrote to editor Lauren Tarshis. They wanted to share their incredible stories of surviving the Louisiana Flood of 2016, the worst natural disaster in the U.S. since Hurricane Sandy. Lauren went down for a visit and has turned their experiences into a thrilling article about survival, heroism, and healing.
Learning Objective: Students will read a narrative nonfiction article and identify the main idea: how a terrible flood brought out the best in people.
1. Preparing to Read
Preview Text Features and Vocabulary; Watch a Video (40 minutes)
2. Close Reading
Read and Unpack the Text (45 minutes)
Read the article as a class, or play our audio version as students follow along. Have students read it a second time in small groups, answering the close-reading and critical-thinking questions.
3. Skill Building
Featured Skill: Main Idea and Supporting Details
Ideas to Engage and Inspire
Collaborate for Peer Editing: Guide students to each set up a Google doc to respond to the writing prompt. After writing a first draft, have them share their letters with a partner using the “Share” button. Each pair can then edit each other’s work, using the “Suggesting” mode. (Click “Editing” and choose “Suggesting” from the dropdown menu.) This option allows them to discuss the edits and choose to accept them or not. Afterward, they can share their edited work with you.
Have students write a letter explaining why the Episcopal community feels fortunate even though they lost so much.
Read the lower-Lexile version of this article together with your struggling readers. At the end of each section, ask students to highlight one sentence they think was important in it. Ask them to share and discuss their choices.
Have students highlight facts in the article about the Louisiana flood; as a hint, tell them to look in the section “‘That’s Just Stuff.’” Prompt them to do research to find more facts about the flood, then present their findings in an infographic.
Most of the vocabulary words in this article could be used to describe the accompanying photos. Ask students to point out a photo that fits with each word and, if students are ready, use the word to talk about the picture.
Discuss this article with guided-reading groups. For discussion prompts, select questions from the close-reading or lower-level questions, depending on the group. Guide students to answer them using evidence from the text.