The Island on Bird Street Book Lesson Plan

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

This lesson plan may be used to help your students answer questions about the text, describe the author's message, and define unfamiliar terms while reading ''The Island on Bird Street'' by Uri Orlev.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson on The Island on Bird Street by Uri Orlev, students will be able to:

  • Answer questions about the text.
  • Describe the Holocaust using correct terminology.
  • Compare this semi-autobiographical novel to an informational text about the Holocaust.

Time Length

60 minutes

Common Core Curriculum Standards


Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.


Determine a theme or central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.


Compare and contrast texts in different forms or genres (e.g., stories and poems; historical novels and fantasy stories) in terms of their approaches to similar themes and topics.


  • curfew
  • Gestapo
  • ghetto
  • Holocaust
  • larder
  • looter
  • pogrom
  • retaliatory
  • Zionism


  • Copies of The Island on Bird Street by Uri Orlev
  • Copies of The Holocaust by Susan Willoughby
  • Chart paper
  • Markers
  • Video cameras
  • Computers with editing software
  • Miscellaneous props

Reading & Discussion Questions

  • Preview vocabulary with the students.
  • Have students read The Island on Bird Street by Uri Orlev independently prior to discussing the following questions:
    • Who is narrating the story?
    • What is the setting at the beginning of the story?
    • Why is the argument between Alex's parents important in the story?
    • How does Alex get separated from his father?
    • Who is Boruch? What does he tell Alex to do?
    • What are Alex's childhood memories of building 78?
    • Why does Alex go back to his house?
    • What does he find there?
    • Where does Alex go to find food, clothing, and books?
    • Describe Bolek.
    • Why does Alex move to the upstairs larder?
    • What would have happened if he had not moved?
    • What men does Alex save?
    • What does Alex decide about joining the uprising? Why?
    • Describe Dr. Polawksi.
    • What do you think happened to Dr. Polawski? Why?
    • How do Alex and Stashya communicate?
    • What happens to Stashya in the end?
    • Why does Alex go to his father when he hears his voice?
    • How does Alex's father react when he sees him?
    • What do you think happens next?

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