A successful author should be able to control what one gains from reading his or her story, but what if the meaning on the page is unclear? Voila! Here you have two critical reading stories which are perfect for group discussions and, that often sought after, accountable talk. Although the stories have a strong plot, the message is purposely written in a vague manner to trigger different interpretations.
In “The Fog,” Taylor leaves work only to hit something in the road . . . or does he? Perhaps, Taylor is not a he at all. Students are asked to answer questions after the story with a True, False, or Can’t Tell. Next, the students debate the answer.
“The Fog” may be used with multiple grades. Although I originally wrote it for fifth graders, I had a blast listening to the discussion from a high school group. They took my little story to an entirely new level.
This would be a great activity once the textbooks are collected. Critical reading stories sell for $1.25.
If “The Fog” is a bit too advanced for your students, here is another critical thinking story about a ride failing at Disney. “A Day at Disney” works well with your bright primary students as well as elementary kids. It is also a gateway for accountable talk.