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Looking for a fun and engaging way to teach your students reading comprehension skills? Look no further than the Hearts and Hands Short Story Unit! This complete unit will help guide your students as they demonstrate an understanding of basic reading skills, as well as think beyond the text.

The Hearts and Hands Short Story Unit is perfect for the whole class, independent work or small group instruction. With everything you need included, this unit makes teaching a breeze! Plus, your students will love the engaging activities and stories.

Author Study

At the beginning of the activity is a short paragraph that is intended to introduce the student to the author.

Pre-reading activity

A pre-reading quick write will help set the tone for students to engage in Hearts and Hands.

Stop N Jot

This is a fabulous activity that helps keep students focused on the reading. Students stop reading, think about what they’ve read and then jot down the main ideas, questions, thoughts and feeling they had as they read.

Vocabulary Words

Eight words from the story have been selected for further study.


There are two activities included.

Character Descriptions

Students should think about each of these three characters, what we know about them and how they would describe them to their people, then write a short paragraph about each of them.

Clarifying Questions

Teach your students to think critically about the text by teaching them to question the text. The type of questions students ask should go beyond comprehension questions and therefore question stems have been provided for the student with room for them to develop their own critical thinking questions.


There are 4 higher level questions that require students to demonstrate their understanding of the story, demonstrate an ability to predict what happens next, and analyze specific aspects of the story and title.

An answer key is included for portions of the reading guide as appropriate. Activities that encourage creative and critical thinking will not have an answer key as more than one answer is appropriate.

All Middle School Café Short Story units are designed to help educators get the most out of each story and encourage students to engage in critical thinking. Reading guides are appropriate for both middle school and high school.

*** Hearts and Hands is part of the public domain. A PDF version of the story is included in this product.