Anna of Byzantium Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Increase student understanding for the novel 'Anna of Byzantium' with this lesson plan. A text lesson helps students apply comprehension skills before, during and after reading. Activities and a quiz make concepts stick.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • summarize Anna of Byzantium by Tracey Barrett
  • analyze character development in Anna of Byzantium


40 minute -1 hour lesson plans for before, during and after reading


  • Copies of the text Anna of Byzantium by Tracey Barrett, one for each student
  • Copies of the lesson Anna of Byzantium: Summary & Quotes, one for each student
  • Maps of the Byzantine Empire
  • Index cards
  • Tag board

Key Vocabulary

  • Historical fiction
  • First Crusade
  • Anna Comnenus
  • Byzantine Empire
  • Comnena
  • Ducas
  • Dalassena

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.1

Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.2

Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to the characters, setting, and plot; provide an objective summary of the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.3

Analyze how particular lines of dialogue or incidents in a story or drama propel the action, reveal aspects of a character, or provoke a decision.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.4

Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.9

Analyze how a modern work of fiction draws on themes, patterns of events, or character types from myths, traditional stories, or religious works such as the Bible, including describing how the material is rendered new.

Before Reading

  • Distribute copies of the book Anna of Byzantium to students and have them look closely at the map at the beginning.
  • In their reading notebooks, ask them to create a page labeled 'Predictions.'
  • Now ask them to use the map to predict what the book may be about, supporting predictions with evidence.
  • Ask students to look at the family tree next, making more predictions.
  • Break students into partners and have them share their predictions, then discuss briefly as a whole group.
  • Consider supplementing concepts of the Byzantine Empire while reading this book with the lessons from the resource The Byzantine Empire and these flashcards.

During Reading

  • Start reading of the novel off by distributing the lesson Anna of Byzantium: Summary & Quotes and reading through the first section 'Meet Anna Comnenus' with students.
  • Have students check their predictions and see if anything changes with this new understanding, modifying as desired.
  • Collect the lesson for use later.
  • Set goals and due-dates for reading, using class time to check in on comprehension by asking questions and allowing students to share their own questions.
  • Play a comprehension game as you read by having students jot at least one question a chapter onto an index card, then place them in a basket. When you meet with students, have each student pull a card and read it out loud, then answer the question.

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