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How Authors Capture Readers’ Imaginations: A Study of Peter Pan

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The Foundational Reading and Language Standards Resources Package for Grades 3–5

Use this guide to build additional literacy blocks alongside the module lessons.


In this unit, students begin reading a classic piece of literature to build their understanding of how writers craft stories that capture a reader’s imagination. Students will begin their study of Peter Pan by exploring how readers hold on to a narrative over time when reading chapter books. Through a series of close-reading lessons, students will build their ability to read longer, more complex texts. Students will build their vocabulary through routines that focus on the key vocabulary they need to analyze narratives (character, traits, motivations, actions, sequence of events, scene) as well as specific vocabulary from the beautifully written text Peter Pan. Through reading, writing, and discussion, students will begin to analyze the characters by carefully examining the traits, motivations, and actions of the novel’s main characters.

In the mid-unit assessment, students will apply their learning by independently analyzing the central character, Peter. Then the class is introduced to opinion writing as they deepen their ability to analyze character and how a character moves the story along. They will develop and support opinions about specific characters, gathering specific passages from the text as evidence. The class will engage in discussion groups in which students form and support opinions about characters and their actions in the text. After each discussion, students will write about how their opinion may or may not have changed based on the evidence their group presented. In the end of unit assessment, students state their opinion about a specific decision made by a character in the text.


Each unit is made up of a sequence of between 5-20 lessons. The “unit at a glance” chart in the curriculum map breaks down each unit into its lessons, to show how the curriculum is organized in terms of standards address, supporting targets, ongoing assessment, and protocols. It also indicates which lessons include the mid-unit and end-of-unit assessments.

Big Ideas & Guiding Questions

  • How do authors capture a reader’s imagination?

Content Connections

This module is designed to address English Language Arts standards, with an emphasis on the Reading Literature standards with a classic piece of literature. This particular module does not have any explicit Social Studies or Science connections.


Texts to buy

Texts that need to be procured. Please refer to Trade Book List for procurement guidance.

Cover Text Quantity ISBNs
Classic Starts: Peter Pan (Classic Starts Series)
by J.M. Barrie and Tania Zamorsky
One per student
ISBN: 978-1402754210, 1402754213

Texts included in the unit

Texts that are included in the lesson materials.

Cover Text Quantity Publisher
The Birds Leave the Nest
by J.M. Barrie
The Mermaid Lagoon
by J.M. Barrie

Optional Activities

Invite authors to talk with the class about their craft.

Field Work


Art: Collaborate with the art teacher for students to create visuals of scenes from the text that capture their imagination. 

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