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Readtopia Thematic Unit— Mysteries and Mummies anchored by King Tut

Readtopia® is on a roll. Thousands of special educators now have access to the just-released thematic unit expanding Readtopia to 25 units—each containing 6-8 weeks worth of instructional content. This new unit is one of the growing selection of upper elementary units, which make Readtopia appropriate for students with complex needs ranging in age from late elementary through high school.
Cover of "Readtopia Teacher Guide: Mysteries and Mummies Anchored by King Tut's Tomb" with image of a pyramid.

The theme, Mysteries and Mummies teaches students that there are always challenges in life. It takes tenacity to overcome those challenges.

ELA / Literature Component—ELA graphic novel at five levels

Each of Readtopia’s thematic units connects content-area subjects with graphic novels at 5 to 7 levels. The Mysteries and Mummies thematic unit is anchored by the story of King Tut.

Cover of "King Tut's Tomb" by Jerry Stemach with King Tut in his tomb in front of the pyramids.
This book tells the story of Howard Carter, the famous archaeologist who discovered King Tut’s tomb. It follows his life beginning with his youthful excitement about ancient Egypt and continuing on through the moment when he finally opened the solid-gold coffin and saw the amazing golden mask of Egypt’s “boy king” pharaoh. The result was a worldwide frenzy over “King Tut,” and later an endless stream of excitement about supposed curses of the mummies.

In the new Readtopia thematic unit, Mysteries and Mummies for Upper Elementary Students, you will meet Howard Carter. As a boy, Howard loved learning about ancient Egypt and he dreamed of one day finding the lost mummy of the ancient king, Tutankhamun – King Tut! Come along with Howard and share his adventures to see how his years of searching paid off!

This new thematic unit will teach you how to read a timeline to see how long ago King Tut lived, you will watch a video to learn how to read hieroglyphics (ancient Egypt’s alphabet), and read a table on how simple tools might have been used to build the giant pyramids. You will read some fantastic facts about camels, mummies, and so much more!
Five pages from Readtopia Mysteries and Mummies anchored by King Tut graphic novel.
Graphic novels at five levels cover the same story, but the text is leveled to cover the widest range of reading levels.

Content Area Learning Component — Social Studies and Science

Page from Readtopia thematic unit Mysteries and Mummies, with a Social Studies and Science lesson and timeline from 2600 B.C. to today.
Informational Text at Levels 3-4
The thematic unit integrates Timelines (above) as informational text types as well as lessons on science such as how to make a mummy (below). These lessons are incorporated into video, reading, and many other lesson types so they flow seamlessly throughout instruction, with the teacher guide to help guide the way.
Page from Readtopia thematic unit Mysteries and Mummies, depicting an article about King Tut.
Informational Text at Levels 1&2

New to Upper Elementary Units – Sight Words

Page from Readtopia thematic Unit Mysteries and Mummies, depicting a lesson on sight words.
Sight words are mapped to the content of the graphic novels—helping you teach sight words in the context of the literature. Connecting sight word activities is easy with the lessons detailed in the Curriculum Guide.

Math Component

Readtopia Math is designed for students with complex needs including students with autism taking the alternate assessment.
Math lessons use the familiar literature, story settings, and characters within Readtopia to promote student engagement and to teach math in the context of what is being taught within each thematic unit.
Page from Readtopia Thematic Unit Mysteries and Mummies, depicting the instructions for a math video lesson
A math lesson from the teacher guide takes students through a Base Ten activity—teaching students about grouping.
Page from a Readtopia Hands-On Application lesson about King Tut, with matching activity.
Basic math concepts connect with the story elements from the Thematic Unit.

Math Objectives for Mysteries and Mummies 

  • Addition-Combine sets and count to add; Use single and double digit numbers to add.
  • Geometry-Identify shapes that are the same; Sort shapes by number of sides or angles.
  • Money-Identify the value of money, more and less; counting on.
  • Numbers and Operations in Base Tens-Combine sets and count to add; Use repeated addition to solve problems.
  • Operations and Algebraic Thinking-Use shapes and numbers to create a pattern.
  • Time-Sequence pictures using “before,” “during,” and “after;” Tell time to the hour, half hour, and minute.

About Readtopia Upper Elementary

Readtopia Upper Elementary is designed to support literacy instruction and content area learning for upper elementary students with complex learning needs. Each Readtopia Thematic Unit provides the resources you need to teach comprehensive literacy. Multi-leveled materials allow students to learn at their optimal instructional levels. Lessons are structured to provide both whole and small group instruction. The Teacher Guide is a godsend—helping you implement the most effective instructional strategies while giving you time back to spend with your students.
Moving Don Johnston logo with picture of a child in a mask, reading a book, that reads, "Believe in better."

Learn more about Readtopia’s upper elementary units

Presented by: Karen Erickson Ph.D., Don Johnston M.S., and Jeanmarie Jacoby M.Ed. Or access sample Readtopia materials


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Karen A. Erickson, Ph.D.​

Karen A. Erickson, Ph.D. is Director of the Center for Literacy and Disability Studies at University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill. Her focus is on understanding the best ways to assess and teach reading and writing to children with the most severe disabilities. As a special education teacher, Dr. Erickson has worked to support students with a range of disabilities in a variety of classroom settings, particularly students who do not use speech as their primary means of communication.


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