Bibliographic Information: Bridges, Shirin Yim (2002). Ruby’s Wish. New York: Scholastic.
Plot Description: Ruby’s wish is the story of a young girl in China, who grows up in a large wealth family. Ruby’s Grandfather hires teachers to come to their home to teach all the children (her brothers, sisters, cousins, etc) who want to learn. At this time, girls were not normally allowed to attend school, so this was a special arrangement. However, as the children got older the girls often stopped attend classes with the boys. Instead they studied embroidery and how to take care of a home in order to prepare for marriage. Ruby is not interested in marriage. She is one of the best students and wants to learn and go to university. As she gets older, she gets sad about the idea of marrying and leaving her family. She wishes she could go to university like the boys instead. When winter comes she realizes it will probably be the last one she has with her family. At Chinese New Year, all the children receive red envelopes filled with good luck money. When Ruby receives her red envelope from her Grandfather, she is overjoyed to find that instead of being filled with money, it is filled with something much better: an acceptance letter to be one of the first women students at a university.
Quantitative Reading Level: Lexile Measure: 600L Interest Level: Lower Grades ATOS Book Level: 4.3
Qualitative Reading Analysis: The story is told by Ruby’s grand daughter, so the reader gets a third person account, but knows Ruby’s thoughts and feelings. The language closely adheres to readers linguistic base, but the author uses complex sentences and higher level sentence structure, including compound sentences, subordinate clauses and transition words. The text has obvious meaning that is not difficult for the reader to distinguish. Organization is sequential and chronological with clear transitions leading the reader through the text. Illustrations are used to enhance readers understand of the story, but are not necessary for comprehension. There is distance between the reader’s experiences and those in the text, but there is acknowledgement of these divergent experiences and sufficient explanation to bridge these gaps. The author explains how things were in the time the story takes place so readers can understand cultural and time period differences relevant to the story.
Content Area: Reading, Language Arts
Content Area Standard: English Language Arts Standards for Reading: Literature
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.3.4.a Use sentence-level context as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase.
English Language Arts Standards for Reading: Literature: Key Ideas and Details:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.3.6 Distinguish their own point of view from that of the narrator or those of the characters.
English Language Arts Standards for Reading: College and Career Readiness: Anchor Standards for Writing:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
Curriculum Suggestions: Use context clues to understand unfamiliar vocabulary, then add newly comprehended words to flashcards or vocabulary list. Have students write an organized essay about the differences between the 19th c. Chinese culture in the story and their own culture using what they can tell about Chinese society at that time from the story.
Supporting Digital Content:
Awards: Publishers Weekly Best Book, Ezra Jack Keats Award
Character names/descriptions: Ruby is an intelligent girl who loves to learn, her Grandfather who believes in her and provides her with the education she longs for at a time when women were left out of academia.
Personal Thoughts: Ruby’s story can serve as a reminder for students not to take their education for granted. Throughout much of history education has only been for the elite, men or certain ethnic groups and in some places this is still the case today.
High interest annotation: Ruby loves to go to school and as the other girls drop out to learn how to take care of a home, Ruby holds tight to her dreams of a college education