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 a 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.