After Twenty Years Lesson Plans

“After Twenty Years” by O. Henry is a great story for students to read out loud!   Read on to see how I teach this story, and print a free handout in the link below!

In my classroom, I require my students to complete a close read of the first paragraph.  This first paragraph can be intimidating to some middle school students because  it is not easy for many of them to understand, so the close read works perfectly.  Next, we preview some of the vocabulary words. I give my  students a handout with some of the most difficult words from the story and ask them to match the words with their definitions.  You can print this handout in the link below.

Once we are familiar with some of the vocabulary, we read the story readers’ theater style.  This allows students to build fluency in a successful way and really keeps them awake and involved in the story.  After we are done reading, we are ready to cover some Common-Core standards!  This story lends itself for the author’s craft and theme to be analyzed; so together, we take a look at the imagery, foreshadowing, and irony from the story.  Last, but not least,I end the week by allowing students to work collaboratively to create a tableau.  Students have a lot of fun with this activity!

We have created ready-made handouts for all of these activities, including a walk-through guide of completing a close read and a readers’ theater script!

Download the table of contents, and print our vocabulary preview handout for “After Twenty Years” free!