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unit 1
13 Instructional days (13 hours)

Building Background Knowledge: Percy Jackson and the Hero’s Journey


This unit is designed to build students’ background understanding of the archetype of the hero’s journey and its continuing significance in modern literature. Students will practice reading closely as they analyze the highly popular novel The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (780L). Some students may have read this text; this unit pushes them to read “differently”: reading closely (with a focus on vocabulary), character analysis, and Percy Jackson as an archetypical hero. In their Mid-Unit Assessment, students will read and analyze a previously unfamiliar excerpt from The Lightning Thief, citing specific evidence about how Percy responds to new challenges and explaining what they can infer about Percy as a character. During the second half of the unit, students will read complex informational text about the “hero’s journey” archetype, and then—through writing and discussion—use this archetype as a lens to understanding Percy’s experiences. At the end of this unit, students will complete an on-demand graphic organizer and write a short response in which they read a new excerpt of the novel and explain how Percy’s experience aligns with the hero’s journey, citing evidence from both the novel and informational text.


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From of the New York State Education Department. Grade 6 ELA Module 1, Unit 1. Available from; accessed 2015-05-29. Newer versions may exist from Expeditionary Learning.
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