RESOURCES

Front Desk by Kelly Yang

Updated: Sep 11

ABRIDGED Middle Reader Lesson Plan

GUIDED ANTI-BIAS/ANTI-RACIST READING | GRADES 3-8


INTRODUCTION

This lesson is divided into 4 sections that are designed to follow along with the book Front Desk by Kelly Yang. Each section focuses on reading comprehension, critical thinking, and self-reflection based on the Teaching Tolerance Social Justice Standards. There are discussion questions, reflection prompts, and activities to guide the student.


OBJECTIVES

This guided reading lesson is designed to be part of a larger life-long commitment to anti-racist teaching and learning for the student and the facilitator. Reading Is Resistance sees reading as an opportunity to seed deeper conversations and opportunities for action around racial equity in our communities. We hold the belief that being anti-racist is a process of learning (and unlearning) over time.


The Teaching Tolerance Social Justice Standards (focused on Identity, Diversity, Justice, and Action) serve as guides for our work.


ABRIDGED GUIDED READING LESSON PLAN

SECTION ONE: CH 1-17

SUMMARY + VIDEO

We are introduced to Mia, who has immigrated to the U.S.from China and it hasn’t been easy. Her parents get a job at the Calivista Motel, owned Mr. Yao, who is judgmental and harsh. Mia starts working at the hotel front desk and gets to know the weeklies, including Hank, a Black man who befriends Mia and later intervenes when a drunk customer threatens her.


At school, things aren’t any easier, but Mia does make friends with Lupe, and the two eventually tell each other the truth about their experiences in the U.S. and grow closer.


SAMPLE DISCUSSION QUESTION


DISCUSS IDENTITY DOMAIN #1

  • What do we learn about Mia’s various group identities from Mia herself? What identity groups is she part of?

ABRIDGED GUIDED READING LESSON PLAN

SECTION TWO: CH 18-34

SUMMARY + VIDEO

Mia finds out about an essay contest. The winner could win their very own motel! Mia doubts her own writing skills but loves to write...can she win?


Hank is racially profiled when a car is stolen from the Calavista parking lot. We see acts of anti-Blackness against Hank, who gets fired from his job because of other people’s assumptions. We see discrimination and bullying. But we also see acts of hope, like the way Mia uses a blue hat to signal that the motel is a safe place for other people who’ve immigrated from China to stay.


SAMPLE DISCUSSION QUESTION

DISCUSS IDENTITY STANDARD #13

  • Front Desk talks a lot about identity-based bullying both among kids and among grown-ups with different identities. Discuss one example of bullying among kids in the book. Discuss one example of bullying among adults in the book.

ABRIDGED GUIDED READING LESSON PLAN

SECTION THREE: CH 35-51


SUMMARY + VIDEO

In the second half of the book, we see Mia becoming more active in fighting for justice. She helps those who have newly immigrated with common English phrases and customs and creates a list of places to avoid working because of bad working conditions.


When Mia’s mom is attacked at the motel, we also learn a lot about how systems in the U.S. work to underserve and oppress. Hank ends up getting arrested while pursuing Mia’s mom’s attacker and Mia starts writing letters to connect to community and to right some of the wrongs.


DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

DISCUSS DIVERSITY DOMAIN #10 & JUSTICE DOMAIN #14

  • What inspires Mia to start writing letters personifying other people in positions of power?

ABRIDGED GUIDED READING LESSON PLAN

SECTION FOUR: CH 52-END

SUMMARY + VIDEO

When Mia ends up getting bad news from the motel contest in Vermont, she decides not to give up on her dream.


Mia has an idea and thinks to herself: “But...what if everyone with a little gave a little...rather than trying to find someone with a lot? What is the American Dream? If we can’t have it ourselves, maybe we can have it together” (p. 271).


SAMPLE DISCUSSION QUESTION

DISCUSS ACTION DOMAIN #20

  • What does Mia’s story teach us about how change happens?

ABRIDGED WHAT'S NEXT?

RESOURCES/ACTIVITIES

  • included with the full length lesson plan

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