EAL Lesson: Sleeping by Katherine Weber

Using CommonLit.org Short Stories with EAL students

Using CommonLit.org Short Stories with EAL students


'Sleeping' be Katherine Webber.

‘Sleeping’ be Katherine Webber. Source: Common Lit.org

Read the short story Sleeping by Katherine Weber. You will find the short story here. Or open this pdf

Text Questions

Is the baby real? How do you know? List all of the clues.

When Mr. Winters says, “you understand, don’t you?” he is most likely referring to which of the following?

  1. Mr. and Mrs. Winter do not trust Harriet to take care of Charles.
  2. Mr. and Mrs. Winters’ baby Charles died and they are struggling to accept reality.
  3. Mrs. Winters is hiding the truth about Charles from her husband.

Why is it significant that the parents are named Mr. and Mrs. Winters? (Hint: think about what winter represents.)

Based on the information in paragraph two, how old is Harriet?

Why do you think Mr. Winter chose Harriet to babysit Charles?

Reread paragraph three. Choose three details that help reveal the truth about Charles. Explain how each detail supports your conclusion.

Reread the last sentence. What does Harriet understand? What does Harriet not understand? Support your answer with evidence from the text.

This story mostly about:

  1. Guilt
  2. Death
  3. Growing up

Which of the following literary devices is MOST important to the development of the story? Explain your answer.

  1. Detail/imagery
  2. Dialogue
  3. Symbolism/metaphor
  4. Irony

Step inside:

Imagine you are Harriet. In a blog post (80-100 words) write a monologue (Harriet’s mental thoughts), take on Harriet’s point of view. Why do you think she tried to open the door? Write about what she would have been thinking as she was being driven home by the father.

Lesson resources


Harvard Thinking Routine: Step Inside


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