Subskill: Reading Comprehension
Concept: Story Structure
Grade Level: Upper Elementary
The Secret in the Basket
The sun was shining brightly, but Meena’s head was full of dark clouds. As she sat on the stoop looking at the chickens in her yard, she kept thinking about the secret she had promised to keep.
It all started two days ago when Meena noticed a small woven basket hidden in a dark corner of the bedroom she shared with her brother.
“What could be inside?” Meena thought to herself as she lifted the lid. To her surprise, she was greeted by a small pair of friendly eyes blinking up at her.
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” a voice boomed from behind her, making Meena jump back.
“Why don’t you tell me what this is?” she demanded.
“It’s a baby python, silly,” Ary said, snatching the basket.
As he lifted a small shiny snake, Meena thought it smiled at her. “I found it in the jungle yesterday and decided to keep it. Isn’t it beautiful? Now don’t say a word to Mother or Father, okay? Promise?”
Today, as she sat on the stoop, Meena’s head was spinning. “What a dilemma!” she thought to herself. “Burmese pythons can grow up to twenty feet long! Just a few weeks ago in the neighboring village, someone said they had seen a python devour a whole chicken!”
“Oh dear, the chickens!” Meena said out loud. As she watched the chickens peacefully plucking at seeds in the dirt, she decided that some promises can and must be broken. “I’ll wait right here for Father to come home,” she said to herself.
Fortunately, Meena’s father was a kind and understanding man. “Don’t worry, my child. I will take care of it,” he replied to Meena’s confession about the snake. “Now go get your brother.”
When Meena returned with Ary, they listened quietly as their father told them a story.
“Once upon a time, in a distant country, there lived a prince. One day, while hunting in the jungle, he saw a beautiful tiger. The prince ordered his men to catch it and put the tiger in an ornate cage made of thick glass bars.
Every day the prince brought the tiger special meats, but the tiger just paced back and forth, slowly brushing his tail against the glass bars of his new home.
Finally, when he could bear it no longer, the prince asked the palace wise man for help. The wise man requested that a special box be brought into the palace and asked the prince to get inside. After a few moments inside the box, the prince immediately ordered the tiger to be released back into the wild.”
Meena’s father looked intently at his children. “Because, you see,” he paused, “all wild things love to be free.” Meena glanced at Ary. He seemed deep in thought.
The very next morning when she woke up to go to school, Meena noticed the basket was gone. She quickly looked over at Ary and he grinned back at her. “Like the prince, I also have a noble heart,” he said with pride as he opened the door, letting the sun’s rays inside. Yes, the sun was shining once again.
Here are some questions to ask at the end of the story.
Where does the story take place?
Who do you think is the main character in the story?
What is the main problem of the story?
Which event is the resolution?