"What Good are the Words?" A Close Reading of an Excerpt from The Book Thief

A close reading of an excerpt from The Book Thief provides high school readers with an opportunity to examine how Markus Zusak uses syntax, repetition, and figurative language to contribute to the power of the novel, and to help develop his themes. The carefully scripted plan includes guiding questions, reading tasks, guided practice activities, assessments, and accommodations.

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CCSS: Designed
Classroom Considerations

  • The plan assumes that readers are familiar with metaphors, similes, and personification, and have practiced interpreting figurative language
  • The reading passage comes from near the end of the novel

  • A color-coded, version if the excerpt is attached as a teacher reference
  • The carefully scaffolded activities included for guided and independent practice insure that all learners can successfully master the concepts

  • None