Title: Dreaming of America An Ellis Island Story Author: Bunting, Eve Publisher

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Intermediate Guided Reading Lesson Plan

Title: Dreaming of America An Ellis Island Story

Author: Bunting, Eve

Publisher: Troll

ISBN: 0-8167-6521-9


Historical Fiction

Text Structure:

Narrative Informational



Literacy Core Objective: 5th Grade

S7/O2 - Apply strategies to comprehend text.

Social Studies Core Objective:.5th Grade

S4/O4 - Understand the impact of major economic forces at work in the post-Civil War.

Enduring Understanding: Purpose for reading

Many immigrant groups were attracted to the American Dream. The rise of immigration caused cities to grow and technology and industry to change and improve.

ELL Strategies:

Ask students how long they have lived in their home. Ask when and how students may have moved to the area. Explain that when our country was first beginning, that people came from all over to come here and that many entered the country through Ellis Island.

I Can Statements” - Essential Questions:

  • Why do people move?

  • Did America fulfill the dream of immigrants?

  • Has immigration been the key to America’s success?

Before Reading

Vocabulary: Use the graphic organizer for the vocabulary. Word, Kid friendly definition, and sketch. You may want to do the vocabulary in sections each day.
abustle (p.1) corridor (p.8) gusty (p.15) wharf (p.22) commemorate (p.25)

wake (p.) parcel (p.8) horizon (p.18) moored (p.22)

perched (p.2) companion (p.11) pang (p.18) ferry (p.23)

lurch (p.2) lurched (p.12) steward (p.20) brogue (p.25)

bored (p.5) heaved (p.12) courting (p.20) stammer (p.25)
Activate/Build Prior Knowledge:

Read Introduction – A People of Hope, by Linda Magnuson at: http://library.thinkquest.org/26786/en/introduction/intro.php3?tqskip=1%20A%20People%20of%20Hope

Then show the following immigrant slideshow to students. Ask the students to imagine themselves in the immigrant’s situations. Have them think about what they might be feeling and thinking.


Comprehension Strategy: Connections

During Reading

Attend to Comprehension Within, Beyond, & About the text:

Using appropriate Guided reading strategies, students will be reading at their own pace and teachers will be listening to students read, monitoring, giving feedback, taking anecdotal notes and running records.

Suggested Pacing:

Day 1 - p. 1-15 Day 2 – p. 16-29

Encourage students to make connections with the characters as they read. Write their connections on post-it notes and stick to the page where the connection was made.

After Reading

Attend to Comprehension Within, Beyond, & About the text:
Discuss connections that students made with the characters in the text. Look back through the book at the real photographs and descriptions of immigrants and discuss the feelings and thoughts of students about those situations.

Content Core Integration:(Science, Soc. St., Math, etc.)


Students will interview an immigrant in their town to collect his or her story. Students will then write an oral history of the person to publish in a class book or online at: http://teacher.scholastic.com/activities/writing/index.asp?topic=Immigration

Mini lessons for teachers on writing oral histories can also be found at this site.


  • Write about something that you would be certain to take with you if you were leaving your home to come to the United States. What would be the one object you couldn't leave behind?

  • Tell students they are going to another country and give each one of them a large brown bag. Instruct them that they cannot bring anything with them that will not fit into the bag. They are to go home and decide what possessions they would like to take. Tape off sections of floor about 3 x 5 ft. and tell them that it is the section for them and their belongings. They may not put any of their stuff in the other squares.

*Not all activities will be done in each lesson. Some lessons may take multiple days to complete. However, all students should be reading each time you meet.

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