Jesselyn Silva, Tough Girl

Students will learn essential paragraph-writing skills.

By Anna Starecheski
From the September 2017 Issue

Learning Objective: Students will learn essential paragraph-writing skills

Lexiles: 440L, 540L
Guided Reading Level: M
DRA Level: 24
Topic: Sports,
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Answer Key (1)
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Answer Key (1)
Can’t-Miss Teaching Extras
Jesselyn in Action

As soon as our Assistant Editor Anna saw the New York Times Op Doc about Jesselyn, she knew she had to write about her. Watch it with your students to see Jesselyn in action!

Sporty Stereotypes

Jesselyn told Anna that it was very important that readers know she’s a nice kid and gets good grades. Have a class discussion: Why might people think Jesselyn is a troublemaker or not smart because she plays a tough sport? Have any of your students who do these kinds of sports come up against these stereotypes?


Laila Ali

This story is the perfect opportunity to talk about female boxer Laila Ali, daughter of boxing legend Muhammad Ali. In this video, which aired after Muhammad Ali’s 2016 death, Laila describes what happens when she first told her father that she wanted to follow in his footsteps and be a boxer as well. We recommend watching the first minute; the rest, while not inappropriate, is less relevant.

Gendered Activities

For an interesting class discussion, ask your students if they have ever tried or wanted to try a sport that is traditionally associated with the opposite gender. Have your girls tried football or hockey? Have your boys tried ballet or cheerleading?