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A Teacher’s Guide for Grades 4-5:

Inside Out & Back Again

Inside Out & Back Again is the story of Ha, a ten-year old girl who leaves war-torn Vietnam and immigrates to the United States. We chose this novel for its thoughtful exploration of some important social and emotional themes: culture, war, bravery, friendship, bullying, loss, and resilience. Students will find themselves relating to and being inspired by Ha’s experiences; this curriculum will help students build connections between Ha’s story and their own.


Experience the fear, grief and ultimately, triumph and joy of Hà, a ten-year old girl who leaves war-torn Vietnam and immigrates to the United States. This is a moving story of one girl’s year of change, inspired by the author’s childhood experience of fleeing Vietnam for Alabama.

For all of her life, Hà has only known Saigon: the thrills of its markets, the joy of its traditions, and the warmth of her friends close by. But now the Vietnam War has reached her home. Hà and her family are forced to flee as Saigon falls, and they board a ship headed toward hope. In America, Hà discovers the foreign world of Alabama: the coldness of its strangers, the dullness of its food, and the strength of her very own family.

Author:  Thanhha Lai

Our Reading with Relevance teacher’s guide breaks the novel into a series of thoughtful lesson plans. Each lesson is designed to support you to meaningfully explore the social and emotional themes of the day’s reading with your students, inspiring them to read deeply, think critically, talk openly, and write reflectively about topics that matter.

This teacher’s guide includes:

  • A facilitator’s guide with tips and resources for implementing the curriculum.
  • A map of Common Core Standards addressed through this program.
  • Twelve individual lesson plans, including vocabulary, discussion questions, journal prompts, extension activities, and all handouts.
  • Two assessments to monitor student progress throughout the program.
  • Regular checkpoints to help teachers assess their students’ progress on ELA standards.
  • A culminating essay-writing unit.
  • An appendix with additional teaching resources and activities to continue exploring this novel.

Pages: 84
Dimensions: 8.5” x 11”



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