Teacher Close Reading Curriculum – Ingredients of Young Outliers, Chapter 3 “Press On”

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Features Include:Young Outlier Cover Angled with Award

  • Lesson Plan with Lexile Reading Levels
  • Warm-up
  • Exit Ticket
  • Close Reading Passage on Pressing On
  • Questions for Close Reading Passage
  • Tiered Homework
  • Activity Suggestions


  • 5th (Honors)
  • 6th (Honors)
  • 7th
  • 8th

Passage Details:

  • Excerpts from Ingredients of Young Outliers: Achieving Your Most Amazing Future
  • Author: John Shufeldt
  • Editor: Bob Kelly
  • 2nd Book in the Outliers Series
  • Pages: 164
  • Publisher: Outliers Publishing
  • Can purchase the full book at ingredientsofoutliers.com/shop

Excerpt from Ingredients of Outliers: Achieving Your Most Amazing Future, Chapter 3, “Press On!”

If you’re trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I’ve had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.
~ Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan, perhaps the greatest and most successful basketball player of all time, was right on. Obstacles! Roadblocks! Everybody has had them, but no matter how big they may seem to you, they don’t have to stop you. In fact, if you change your perspective, they’ll energize you! For example, suppose you’d been dreaming since childhood of becoming a TV journalist when you grew up. That seems reasonable enough, even though you’re being raised by a single mom in a poor Baltimore neighborhood and dreaming of a career in which there had been relatively few African-Americans. Such circumstances may sound like reasons but they’re really just excuses, and I once heard an excuse defined as: “the skin of a reason, stuffed with lies.”

Excuses aside, there is at least one huge obstacle in your path, you stutter! Badly! At age 12, you’re declared to be “functionally illiterate.” You’re subjected to so much ridicule by your public school
that your mother moves you to a private school, something she can ill afford. But we can stop supposing, because that’s exactly what happened to a boy named Byron Pitts. Until shortly before he was due to enter high school, he still couldn’t read – another major roadblock to a television career. But he didn’t quit; for one thing, his mother wouldn’t hear of it.

He would later write: “She’d tell me, ‘Keep your head up, no matter what.’” Every night, with her help, he spent hours reading and studying. He progressed to the point where he became a sports reporter for his high school newspaper…

About the Curriculum:

The goal of Outliers Publishing is to create close reading lessons for the book Ingredients of Young Outliers: Achieving Your Most Amazing Future that will allow teachers to use close reading techniques while simultaneously teaching students about important leadership qualities. For more information about the Outlier Series and the author John Shufeldt, visit the website at legacy.ingredientsofoutliers.com.

These materials are intended for the use of ONE teacher. It is not permitted to copy or give other people this material.

About the Book:

Outlier: An individual whose exceptional attitude, ambition, and accomplishments cause them to stand out from their peers.

They always have been with us and continue to walk among us. Some rise to fame like Wilma Rudolph, Theodore Roosevelt, Dr. William Osler, Grandma Moses, Fred Astaire, Dr. Seuss, David Lee Roth, Ray Kroc, Captain “Sully” Sullenberg, and Jeff Bezos. Others accomplish their feats outside the spotlight of fame, touching thousands of lives along the way.

How does a student become a standout in a sea of others with similar qualifications? What traits contribute to a young person’s success? In Ingredients of Young Outliers: Achieving Your Most Amazing Future, author John Shufeldt explores the traits of extraordinary individuals identified over nearly three decades of his professional career. While guiding young readers through these characteristics, he inspires them to step outside of their comfort zones and join the ranks of the outliers.

If you or a young adult you know a aspire to be an outlier, live with one, work with one, or are mentoring one, this is your go-to book for insight into those special fifteen characteristics that outliers encompass. Shufeldt’s tips and techniques inspire readers of all ages and aspirations to step out of their comfort zone and into the extraordinary world of outliers.


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