Meg Kelly doesn't expect any handouts, but she wouldn't mind a bit of luck. It's been one bad break after another since Da died in the Civil War. Now homeless and orphaned, Meg has nothing left to lose--except her little brother, Mole. With no one to turn to and no place else to go, Meg makes a desperate choice. Together, she and Mole head west on an orphan train.

  Will Meg and Mole ever find a place to call home, or has their luck run out for good?

     This Common Core aligned teacher’s guide is designed to accompany When Luck Runs Out. The novel and the guide fit into middle school language arts or social studies curriculum. The novel works well in language arts’ studies of genre fiction, lit circles, independent reading, or whole class instruction, with themes of family and loyalty. Students also have multiple opportunities to examine symbolism within the novel. For social studies, the novel ties into the aftermath of the Civil War, and issues of immigration and homelessness.
     This guide includes information about the author, an introduction to the novel, pre-and post-reading activities, and assessments. Two non-fiction articles (on the Civil War Draft Riots of 1863 and the historical orphan trains) tie the novel to real-life struggles in this era. Each article is followed by discussion questions and vocabulary. Exercises in reading primary documents are included in order to broaden students’ reading skills. Discussion questions and vocabulary are provided for each chapter, along with an answer key.

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