Category Archives: Summer Reading Reading Guides

This category gives FREE guiding questions for summer reading for 6th grade and up.

News Literacy Skill Building

As with any learning goal, working towards becoming news literate is a self-propelled process that takes commitment and vigilance.  Plotting out a strategy or to-do list can be a helpful guide to move through the layers of understanding.

Before you embark on this journey, however, understand that becoming news literate isn’t a simple skill that can be applied absent mindedly, like learning how to ride a bike or make a grilled cheese sandwich. Going though the process of becoming news literate will involve first facing the fact that, most likely, there will be a process of unlearning. Given how polarized Americans are, there is a good chance that some of the beliefs you espouse are biased.  And that is okay. We all have been influenced in one way or the other over the last decade or so. Just know that while working to be news literate, you may have to face your own bias. Be ready.

Now that you know what you are going to face, how do you create a learning strategy to master news literacy? Well to start off, you need to know where you are to understand where you have to go. The first step would be to assess your current level of news literacy.

STEP 1: What is my current news literacy skill level?

When it comes to learning anything new, any teacher, tutor or coach will want to assess a new student’s baseline. They have to understand where the student’s current skill level lies in order to come up with a learning strategy.  You will have to do this for yourself. Luckily,  there is a neat online tool to test your current news literacy level. Take this quiz prepared by The News Literacy Project. It is a 12 question quiz that focuses on what reports and photo journalists are allowed to do, their sources, how to spot ads and other aspects of understanding digital information. Once you have your results the quiz will help you identify in what areas of interpreting digital information you can use assistance.

STEP 2: Where can I obtain more information?

Now that you understand where you are, it will be easier for you to know in which direction your self study needs to go. The good news is, many universities and non partisan organizations are working to fight fake and biased news and provide a plethora of information to review. Some of those organizations are outlined in a previous blog post Basic News Literacy to Combat Fake News.  For the most part, each source provides steps to take when confronted with a information that seems outrageous or questionable.

The site on which you took the original news literacy quiz is another great resource: newslit.org.  They have great articles, other quizzes, news and statistics for those learning news literacy skills.  Also, be sure to sign up for their news letter, The Sift for current examples of fake, biased or misinformation. The news letter is a great way to stay up to date on the latest falsehoods sweeping the nation.

STEP 3: Classes

If you have come this far in your journey, and still want to continue, taking a class may be a good idea for you.  Coursera.org offers a course that is developed and taught by professors from State University of New York and the University of Hong Kong.  This is a 13 hour, six week course that dives into such topics as “Where can we find trustworthy information?” and “How to apply news literacy concepts in real life?”

The course can be found here: https://www.coursera.org/learn/news-literacy

You are able to either audit the course for free, or pay for the course in order to earn the certificate, and have your assignments graded by professors, etc.

Some other online learning options include the linked resources below:

Journalism School

Digital Resource Center

STEP 4: Apply

Now that you have gathered all the tools and knowledge available at this time, it is time to apply what you have learned.  To be accurate, application should be attempted after each news literacy lesson. Seek and Find.

This, quite frankly, can be the exhausting part at first until it becomes second nature. However, if you are committed to training your brain to strain the opinions, falsehoods and bias from the information you consume, it is necessary.

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Chapter 13

How does the author describe Lincoln’s night before?

Which players did Lincoln hangout with after the game? Where did they go?

Why do you think Tony was quiet at first?

What did Tony tell Lincoln about the TV from the thrift shop?  Based on this, do you think Tony was ever rally mad at Lincoln?

What plans did Lincoln and Tony make?

How did the phone call go with Monica?

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Filed under Summer Reading Reading Guides, Taking Sides Gary Soto

Chapter 12

What was Lincoln trying to communicate to his mom? Was he successful?

Why did Lincoln carry a framed picture with him from the bathroom to the kitchen?

What did Bukouski address Lincoln about?

Why did Lincoln say what he said originally?

How did their argument end?

Did his knee hurt when he practiced?

Who did Lincoln see on the Franklin side?

Which team possessed the ball first?

Who was Lincoln looking at on the Franklin side, instead of watching the game?

What happened to Bukowski in the game?

Did Lincoln find Monica in the crowd? Who was she with?

How did the second half start for Lincoln?

“…feeling giddy because he was now understanding that he was a Franklin boy beneath a Columbus uniform.”  Why is this sentence and the paragraph the follows it, an important discovery for Lincoln?

Lincoln was going to play for himself, not school pride…” Who did Lincoln “take sides” with?

Who won the game? What was the score?

Did Tony and Lincoln make up?

What was said during the conversation between Mr. Kimball and Coach Yesutis?

What happened when Coach Yesutis grabbed Lincoln hard by the arm?

Did James communicate with Monica?

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Filed under Summer Reading Reading Guides, Taking Sides Gary Soto

Chapter 11

In the paragraph, ” Lincoln helped steady the door…” What is the significance between Ray and Lincoln in the paragraph?

What type of questions did Lincoln’s mom have about the  intruder?  What was she worried about?

Who was the letter from that Lincoln received? What did the letter say?

What memory does Lincoln have of Tony while he is trying to do his homework?

How does Lincoln feel about seeing Monica at school?

What did Lincoln have for lunch?

Which team mate passed by while Lincoln was eating lunch?

Summarize their conversation.

As Lincoln was walking toward the library, the author described the remaining pep rally activity? What was it?

Lincoln saw Monica again. What happened?

Who got to play in Lincoln’s place?

Chapter Story Element Questions

Character: Lincoln finally opened up to Monica about what was going on with him.  Why?

Plot: What problems are Lincoln still facing? Has anything been solved since the beginning of the story?

Setting: Where did this chapter take place?

Story Structure: Name the chapter.

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Filed under Summer Reading Reading Guides, Taking Sides Gary Soto

Chapter 10

What did Lincoln do to help remedy the “intruder” situation?

Why couldn’t Lincoln tell Monica about the break in?  Is that typical of Lincoln?

How did Lincoln’s “appointment” with Monica end?

Describe the second encounter Lincoln had with Monica in the hallway. Why did Lincoln act that way?

Did Lincoln try to tell his coach about his knee? What happened?

When was Lincoln finally able to tell his mom about the intruder?

After practice, Coach Yesutis and Lincoln exchanged words. Summarize the conversation.

Why did Lincoln wave off James?

Chapter Story Element Questions

Characters- Both Monica and James were rebuffed by Lincoln when they were being nice to him.  Why do you think Lincoln does this?

Plot- The conversation between Lincoln and Coach Yesutis lead to a plot change.  What was that?

Setting- The words describing the setting in the last two chapters also feed into Lincoln’s mood.  The words, creep and creeping, alone, limping in the darkness, describe the setting, but how can they be applied to Lincoln’s feelings?

Story Structure- Name the Chapter

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Filed under Summer Reading Reading Guides, Taking Sides Gary Soto

Chapter 9

How was Lincoln’s knee in the morning?

Was Lincoln excited about possibly seeing the doctor?

How does Lincoln want to handle his hurt knee with regard to school?

Who did Lincoln call in the morning? What “appointment” does he make at lunch?

Where, did we learn, does Flaco come from?

Why did the rapper Iced T remind Lincoln of Tony?

Lincoln woke up to a startling surprise.  What was it? How did Lincoln handle it?

Chapter Story Element Questions

Character- Did you expect Lincoln to handle the intruder the way he did?

Plot-What is the significance of Lincoln dealing with a break in both in the mission district and Sycamore?

Setting: Where did this chapter take place?

Story Structure- Name the chapter.

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Filed under Summer Reading Reading Guides, Taking Sides Gary Soto

Chapter 8

Lincoln did a lot of thinking before he went to visit Monica.  Almost two pages worth!  What were some of the thoughts he was having before he met Monica?

Why do you think Lincoln lied about going to church?

Lincoln thought about having the “venison conversation” on the way to meeting Monica.  Did the talk turn out as he planned?

What games did Lincoln and Monica play? Who won each game?

The text says, “He passed the ball to Monica and was relieved it didn’t pass through her hands and smash her in the face.” What is this referring to from earlier in the chapter?

Why did Lincoln scream, “Ay”?

Why did Monica not answer Lincoln when he asked if she wanted a boyfriend?

Lincoln learned two exciting things about Roy, Lincoln’s mom’s boyfriend, when he gets home from playing basketball with Monica.  What are they?

What story did he hear about Coach Yesuitis?

Chapter Story Element Questions

Character: Monica- Throughout this chapter there were several things Monica did that Lincoln “liked”.  Based on this, what characteristics does Lincoln like in a girl? Regarding Ray, Lincoln’s approval of Ray seems to change in this chapter.  Why?

Plot: Towards the end of the chapter, Lincoln hurts his knee and this may affect an upcoming event in the plot (as discussed at the end of this chapter.) What might be affected?

Setting: Do you think Lincoln’s injury had to do more with the setting or with the character Monica?  Describe the setting of the basketball game with Monica and explain how it could have contributed to Lincoln’s injury.

Story Structure: Name the chapter.

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Filed under Summer Reading Reading Guides, Taking Sides Gary Soto

Chapter 7

What happened in Lincoln’s dream?

What were Lincoln’s initial thoughts about Tony?

What happened between Lincoln and his mom? Why? Who was right? Has something like this ever happened to you? How did you resolve it? How does Lincoln resolve it?

Why didn’t Lincoln tell James about his argument with his mother?

Describe the eating scene with James Lincoln and James’ family.  How is this similar to AND different from, meals in Lincoln’s house?  Did Lincoln enjoy himself?

What complaint does Lincoln have about his coach?

Why did Lincoln not tell James about Monica?

Chapter Story Element Questions:

Characters: Lincoln, in two instances in this chapter, chose to keep information to himself.  Is this typical of Lincoln’s behavior?  Why or why not?

Setting: Lincoln took us somewhere new in this chapter?  Where? Describe it. Did Lincoln like it?

Plot: Were there any major plot changes? Did anything unexpected happen in this chapter?

Story Structure: Name the chapter.

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Filed under Summer Reading Reading Guides, Taking Sides Gary Soto

Chapter 6

1. Who seems more motivated to get the TV back, Lincoln or Tony?  Why do you have that opinion?

2.Why do you think Lincoln got mad at Tony when he said, ” You have been living with white people too long?”

3.Why did the author insert descriptive imagery in the middle of Lincoln and Tony’s argument?  Did it help prove a point in the argument?  What is the author trying to prove with the imagery?

4. After the argument, Lincoln starts comparing his old and new neighborhood. Why?

5. In the last sentence on page 56, how does Lincoln feel about the TV? What is really bothering him?

6. Did they find the TV?  What were some other items they looked at?

7. Each boy thought about and handled the TV situation differently.  Explain.

8. Where did Lincoln go after he left the Thrift Store? Name three things he did while there.

Chapter Story Element Questions

Characters: After “spending the day” with Tony and Lincoln, you got to see their personalities.  Write a brief character sketch for both characters, then answer the following questions:  How are Tony and Lincoln the same?  How are they different?

Setting: Lincoln traveled by foot until the end of the chapter.  Use the text as your guide and draw a map of the setting of this chapter.  Indicate where Lincoln walked and what he did.

Plot: Were you shocked about the way things ended between Lincoln and Tony in this chapter?  Or did you expect something like this again?  Reference the text in your answer.

Story Structure: Would you consider what happened in this chapter a “building event” or a “climactic event?” Why?

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Filed under Summer Reading Reading Guides, Taking Sides Gary Soto

Chapter 5

1. What is the significance of the first three paragraphs describing the change in scenery from Lincoln’s new to old neighborhood?  Have you witnessed a similar transformation in scenery while traveling?  Explain/ Describe.

2.What do you think Tony wants to talk to Lincoln about?  Make a prediction.

3. Why do you think the three men in the back of the record store caught Lincoln’s attention?

4. Do you think it made sense for Mrs. Contreras to tell the encyclopedia salesmen she didn’t have kids ( and make her children be quiet and turn down the TV?) Have you ever been in a similar situation where you weren’t sure how to politely excuse yourself from an unexpected event?

5. Was your prediction correct?

6. What do you think Lincoln will do if he finds his TV?

Chapter Story Elements Questions

Plot: Where are Tony & Lincoln going? What are they doing?

Setting: Where did this chapter take place?; What parts of the setting did you find odd?

Characters: What new characters did we meet?

Story Structure: Name the Chapter.

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