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McREL Standards Activity


Purpose:As a result of this activity, students will be able to demonstrate perspective taking when identifying different readers’ responses to a familiar storyline.
Related Standard & Benchmarks:
Language Arts
 Standard 5.Uses the general skills and strategies of the reading process
   Level IV [Grade 9-12]
   Benchmark 5. Understands influences on a reader’s response to a text (e.g., personal experiences and values; perspective shaped by age, gender, class, or nationality)
Student Product:Oral or written response
Material & Resources:Text, which is an excerpt from the popular fairy tale, Cinderella:

"But scarcely was the marriage ceremony over, before his wife began to show her real temper: she could not bear the pretty little girl, because her sweet obliging manners made those of her own daughters appear a thousand times more odious and disagreeable.  She therefore ordered her to live in the kitchen and, if ever she brought any thing into the parlour, always scoulded her till she was out of sight.  She made her work with the servants in washing the dishes, and rubbing the tables and chairs; it was her place to clean madam’s chamber, and that of the misses her daughters, which was all inlaid, had beds of the newest fashion, and looking-glasses so long and broad, that they saw themselves from head to foot in them; while the little creature herself was forced to sleep up in a sorry garret, upon a wretched straw bed, without curtains, or any thing to make her comfortable.  The poor child bore all this with the greatest patience, not daring to complain to her father, who, she feared, would only reprove her, for she saw that his wife governed him entirely.  When she had done all her work she used to sit in the chimney corner among the cinders; so that in the house she went by the name of Cinderbreech: the youngest of the two sisters, however, being rather more civil than the eldest, called her Cinderella.  And Cinderella, dirty and ragged as she was, as often happens in such cases, was a thousand times prettier than her sisters, drest out in all their splendour."

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Teacher's Note:Students will use their knowledge of influences on reader’s response to texts to complete the following activity.

This activity can easily be adapted to allow students to determine how various factors influence readers’ responses to other popular stories.

Begin the activity by asking students to recall the story of >Cinderella. Did they like the story when they were children? What do they think of the story now? Discuss ways in which different readers might respond to the story (e.g., young children, older boys, older girls, psychologists, step-mothers, feminists). Then have students re-read the story (text provided). Ask each student to respond to the text as if he/she were a young child, a psychologist, a step-mother, or a feminist (or any other reader who may have an interesting response to the story). As students respond to the story, they should consider the personal values, perspectives, and experiences of the person they are pretending to be. For instance, a psychiatrist may focus on issues regarding Cinderella’s upbringing, while a feminist may focus on the female stereotypes provided in the story. Students may choose to respond to the text orally (in front of the class) or in writing. When all students have responded, conclude the activity by discussing how different personal values, perspectives, and experiences may influence different readers’ responses to the same text.