Lessons for Improving Comprehension Through Iqbal by Francesco D’Adamo

This set of plans is to be used with the novel Iqbal by Francesco D’Adamo. Iqbal is an historical novel about child slavery in Pakistan. Early in the book, readers meet Iqbal Masih, who was sold into slavery by his debt-ridden family and worked in a carpet factory. Working conditions were terrible and Iqbal’s repeated attempts to escape are thwarted until he meets the leader of the Bonded Liberation Front of Pakistan. Finally, Iqbal is freed from his master and works tirelessly until his death to free children and speak out against slavery.

All of the activities in the lesson plans are research based, and references to this research can be found throughout. They are appropriate for use with struggling readers in middle school and focus on improving reading comprehension.


This novel unit assumes that students have previously been taught how to “get the gist” (main idea) of a passage or chapter and generate Level 1, Right There, and Level 2, Putting It Together questions. If your students cannot do these activities independently, we recommend teaching the novel unit for Any Small Goodness first.


During these lessons, students will do the following (corresponding English Language Arts and Reading standards from the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills [TEKS] for grades 6–8 are listed with each student objective):

Preferred Citation

The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk. (2012). Reading instruction for middle school students: Lessons for improving comprehension through “Iqbal” by Francesco D’Adamo. Austin, TX: Author.

Professional Development

Teachers can learn more about implementing the instructional practices and strategies in these lesson plans by accessing the Professional Development page (also available through the link on the left of this page). We also encourage you to explore the other helpful resources elsewhere on this site.

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Lesson Plans Acknowledgments and Copyright

The research on which these materials were based was supported in part by grant P50 HD052117 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of NICHD or the National Institutes of Health.

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