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Brother to the Wind



A theme is the central message or idea about life presented in a story, novel, poem, or play.  Writers can present a theme directly, by stating it; or they can present a theme indirectly, through plot, characters, or setting.  More than one theme can be introduced and developed in a story.

          Sometimes a theme can be introduced in the beginning of a story.  What is the theme of this story?

                    -Trying to achieve a dream despite the ridicule of others.

          Is this theme stated directly or implied?  Explain your answer.

                    -It is implied through the plot and through the character of Emeke.  He is described as wanting to fly more than anything, even though the other boys laugh at him.

          Strategic readers look for the theme or themes as they begin to read a selection. 


Problem and Solution:

          Story characters often face difficult problems.  Finding the solutions to these problems drives the story.  Plots that rely strongly on a problem-solution format are characteristic of folk tales.

          Summarize Emeke’s problem.

                    -He wants to fly.

          Identify the solutions that he attempts.

          Identifying problems and solutions helps readers better understand the plots of complicated stories.




Making Judgments and Decisions:

          Making judgments and decisions involves evaluating information.  Strategic readers often make judgments and decisions along with a story character, assessing the judgments the character makes and deciding what course of action a character should take.

          Emeke has decided to listen to Good Snake for the moment.  Do you think he makes the right decision?  Explain your answer.

                    -Some might say that Emeke should not follow Good Snake’s advice because it does not make sense.  Others may feel that he’s right to trust Good Snake because his grandmother believes in Good Snake.

          Strategic readers make judgments and decisions about the story characters and events based on information provided in the selection.


Multiple-Meaning Words:

          Multiple-meaning words can have the same spelling and sound.  However, these words have different meanings.  Strategic readers study the context in which a multiple-meaning word is used to figure out which meaning is correct.  The context can be the sentence in which the word is used or the surrounding sentences.

          The word wheel is an example of multiple-meaning word; it can be a noun or a verb.  How is wheel used in this sentence from the story:  “I will soar in the wind, dive and wheel like a bird without falling”?

                    -It is used as a verb.

          What context clues helped you decide?

                    -Wheel is used in the same way that the other verbs in the sentence, soar and dive, are used.

          Strategic readers rely on context clues to decide which meaning is appropriate for a multiple-meaning word.