Why We Love Teaching Sandra Cisneros in Middle School - EB Academics

Grab Your Free Writing Guide

Become an EB Insider Today

Why We Love Teaching Sandra Cisneros in Middle School

July 12, 2017 3 min read

Why We Love Teaching Sandra Cisneros in Middle School

July 12, 2017 3 min read

It’s no secret that we LOVE to incorporate short stories into our middle school ELA curriculum (click here for our favorite short stories), and one of our favorite authors to study with our students is Sandra Cisneros. Below we outline why we think her writing style is so wonderful for meeting our ELA standards and why students enjoy her writing so much (win-win!)

Note: We use Cisneros’s short story “Eleven” as a summer reading assignment (which you can read about here) and an excerpt from The House on Mango Street, “My Name” with our middle schoolers. We teach The House on Mango Street in its entirety in 8th grade and find that exposing students to Cisneros’s signature style earlier on really helps them navigate her novel with a sharper lens when they are older.

So here we go … the three reasons incorporating Cisneros’ writing in our ELA curriculum is so effective:

Reason #1 – Close reading strategies can really be practiced and fine-tuned with Cisneros’s writing. 

Both “Eleven” and “My Name” lend themselves to close reading strategies such as making predictions, forming opinions, asking “big idea” questions, and making connections. These stories in particular promote lots of text-to-self connections, as readers can easily identify with the protagonist’s experiences with a memorable birthday and the meaning behind her name. We use these Close Reading Strategies Bookmarks for all the literature we read with our students.

Reason #2 – Cisneros’s writing is filled with figurative language. 

This allows students to gain practice in not only identifying personification, metaphors, etc., but analyzing why Cisneros chose to use a particular figurative device and its effect on characters, setting, and plot. Before reading Cisneros’s stories, we review figurative language with this fun Bingo Game. Then, when doing our close reading of the stories, we have our students do a figurative language scavenger hunt and discuss why Cisneros used these particular devices to strengthen her characters’ perspectives and make her arguments more compelling. We find it so helpful to give our students concrete practice in analyzing figurative language in shorter works before they dive into a novel like The House on Mango Street.

Reason #3 – Cisneros’s writing encourages readers to look at every sentence and see what is important.

There is just so much beneath the surface in her writing. For example, in “Eleven,” what appears to be a simple story about a young girl facing a humiliating experience on her birthday is filled with opportunities for analysis about how the protagonist (Rachel) is growing and maturing all within a few hours. Stories like these really force students to look at the text from different angles – identifying allusions and discussing their relevance to the story. It’s a fascinating way to read a literary piece with your students!
Do you teach Cisneros or The House on Mango Street in your middle school classroom? If yes, we’d love to know why you’ve chosen to teach her literature! Please leave a comment below or send us an email at ebacademiccamps@gmail.com 🙂
Save this post for later!
We love teaching Sandra Cisneros's short stories (and vignettes from The House on Mango Street) in our middle school ELA classrooms! These are the perfect way to study close reading strategies, figurative language devices, and digging deeper into in-depth analysis of the text. Read about why we love Cisneros and why you will, too!
EB Academic Camps

All posts

No Comments

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.



Hi there! We're two middle school ELA teachers with a mission to share ideas, tips, and tricks for effectively teaching reading and writing in the secondary classroom. We're so happy you stopped by!

Caitlin + Jessica

Your 15 Free Resources Are Waiting!

Immediately receive access to our
Free Resource Library

We promise we won't spam you.

Let’s Connect

Popular Posts

Our Latest Posts



  • You guys!! 🥳🎉 ⁣⁣
Our FREE ebook is done and ready for you!! 😘😘⁣⁣
We’ve included over 25 pages of content that includes tips, strategies, structures, free lesson plan ideas, activities, and links to even MORE free content! ⁣⁣
... plus a special link to our Balanced Teaching Approach Facebook Group where we have ANOTHER free resource download for you as well ♥️ ⁣⁣
Come join us on this journey to find more balance in your teaching life 😘 ⁣⁣
LMK in the comments if you’d like me to DM you the link!
  • I put our new office together with a few things in mind: calmness, brightness, and functionality ♥️ I have to say, we really love getting to work in this space each day!
  • Surprise!! 🥳🎉 ⁣
... and no, I’m not back in the classroom (although I kind of wish I was!) ...⁣
But even more exciting for YOU is that our ELA Masterclass Mini Series from last year is coming back!! ⁣
I’ve teamed up with @buildingbooklove @readitwriteitlearnit @readingandwritinghaven and @doccopteaching to bring you some AMAZING virtual Professional Development!⁣
Registration opens tomorrow and the virtual sessions will be released on Sunday, September 15th! ⁣
Make sure to register as soon as we open registration because I know so many of you were bummed to have missed this last year! We can’t wait! 😘♥️
  • Enough said 🍎
  • I’ve gotta be honest in that I am really missing moments like this at the end of a successful teaching day ... 🥺 ⁣
And this isn’t to say I’m asking for sympathy in any way! I’m very happy and loving supporting teachers and students in a different way this year outside of the classroom!⁣
But it is to say, I LOVE teaching, and I always will, and I hope at some point in the future to be able to be back in my own classroom doing what I absolutely was put on this earth to do ♥️♥️⁣
In the meantime, however, Jessica and I have SO much incredible stuff coming your way (free online PD, a free ebook, and so much more!) 😘⁣
Tomorrow, when you turn on the lights to your classroom and are getting everything set up for your day of teaching, just know that you are making a difference in children’s lives!! 🤗😘♥️
  • Freebie!! Woo hoo!! 🎉🥳🤩 (And yes, Jessica is making an appearance on the gram!!). If you haven’t grabbed our three free weeks of bell ringers from us yet, what are you waiting for?! LMK in the comments if you’d like me to DM you the link to grab them 🤗🤗 I’ll get back to you tonight and over the weekend!

Follow @ebacademics