PS/IS 686 | Brooklyn, NY

Gr5 New Class Read Aloud – Number the Stars

Our new class read aloud is Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. We will be exploring this Historical Fiction (HF)  text through a multi-dimensional lens:

  • as a reader to construct meaning
  • as a writer to learn about HF writing genre craft techniques/elements
  • as a historian to build knowledge and understanding of how/why events occurred throughout history
  • inside the shoes of the many character’s in order to read with empathy
  • from the perspective of humans facing oppression during this time period (World War/Holocaust)


In the coming weeks, we will also begin our year-long inquiry into Human Rights. We will begin to have discussions and tie in Human Rights to Number the Stars.

As fifth grade readers we continue to work on deepening our understanding of how books work through/by:

  • engaging in meaningful conversations book talks whole class, in partners, or in small groups.
  • slowing down to self-monitor my own reading process in order to grow comprehension.
  • justify what I know with how I know it (citing textual evidence).
  • inferring, summarizing, synthesizing skills
  • forming theories, building ideas, and adding on to each other’s thinking.
  • asking questions (questions > answers).
  • thinking beyond the text (Inferentially) and noticing literary elements such as Symbolism, Metaphors, Flashbacks.
  • making connections to what we face in today’s global world.

Before starting to read: I held the cover of the book up and asked the class to notice and analyze the cover. This is one way a reader gets his/her mind ready to read (before opening the book) Many students formed questions and had wonderings, some students noticed the blue cover as a symbolic sign of sadness, students had theories about the character’s facial expression, the gold necklace and the title of the book. It was a rich discussion. We began the inquiry by creating a post-it chart and by stopping & jotting our thoughts/ideas on post-its. Post-it charts are a great way to make everyone’s thinking visible. Moving forward, students will be asked to respond to reading by elaborately writing more in depth or through talking. I will continue to work on facilitating student talk in order to deepen their understanding of how books work. Stay tuned, for more!

Making Thinking Visible Photos (reading is an invisible process…we can’t see what happens in the minds of readers’ unless they show/capture it by writing or share it through talking.