Junebug and Mentor Texts
Junebug’s early education was part of the “separate but equal” system. Nowadays schools are not legally segregated, but achievement gaps divide between the lines of socioeconomics, geography, and race. Many young men and women arrive at the university unprepared to understand complet texts, and are often required to take remediation courses. Statistics show that students who begin collage unable to comprehend post secondary texts, have a high probablility of not completing the first year. Common Core standards, which are now a national set of expectations for student learning, require that students read and understand complicated texts. Teaching students how to read rigorous texts is one way that educators are working to close the achievement gap.
While Junebug is a mostly true story and a good read, it also is a useful tool for teachers, whether at school or at home. A mentor text is a shared book, poem, short story, or nonfiction piece. Because of its familiarity, a teacher can choose passages to reread that encourage specific skills. Junebug can be used as a read aloud where it is discussed and enjoyed. Later, it can be mined for passages that the teacher rereads or displays on an overhead for the purpose of practicing specific reading behaviors.
Junebug has a lexile reading score of easy sixth grade. It includes a variety of text features that can be used for instruction, including a Langston Hughes poem that makes Junebug think, journal entries that give the reader insights into what is going on in his head during a time of change, and an arc of character growth. There are many opportunities for an instructor to model various skills such as finding details that support a theory or main idea, how to annotate a text, or how to summarize. When students are invited to participate in this process, they will gradually become proficient at using these skills independently in their individual reading. This process can be used to demonstrate, scaffold, and release most of the reading behaviors from the Core Curriculum.
For Teachers and Homeschoolers
Share your email here on the free download page and get a free copy of the first chapter, ‘The Bus’. It is the story of Junebug’s first day of school in Redwood, Mississippi — a stand alone chapter that you can use with students during the first week of school. Plus, we added lessons and core standards that correspond to attributes of Junebug, the novel. This is a historical, biographical story about a time and place that will be unfamiliar to students, and provides an opportunity to help students broaden their awareness of how to understand fictional content that goes beyond their immediate experience, (another reading skill).