Grade 10 ELA Module 2, Unit 1, Lesson 4


In this lesson, students reread and analyze paragraphs 6–9 of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” in which King describes the racial injustice in Birmingham and explains why direct action is necessary. Students review these paragraphs through the lens of rhetoric and analyze how King uses rhetoric to advance his purpose. Students analyze the specific methods of rhetoric, such as descriptive language, appeals to conscience, and rhetorical questions. Student learning in this lesson culminates in a Quick Write that requires students to explain how King uses rhetoric in paragraph 9 to advance his purpose.

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Common Core Learning Standards

CCLS State Standard
RI.9-10.6 Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how an author uses rhetoric to...
L.9-10.5 Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.

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