Students might want to read Slavery in America: Historical Overview http://www.africanholocaust.net/news_ah/slaveryinamerica.html,section on Escaping Slavery to provide additional background knowledge about runaway slaves. Since this passage is longer and contains some academic vocabulary, introduce the CLUE vocabulary strategy to practice using context clues with unknown words.
Model StrategySelect a word, such as “truants” and write the sentence where it is found on the board. “Many runaways were actually truants who ran off to visit wives or husbands, family, and friends on neighboring plantations before returning to face the wrath of their masters.” Model each of the steps for CLUE: Circle-Look-Underline-Explain. Circle a word you don’t know. Look at the words around it and find clues about the meaning of the word. Underline any words that give you clues about its meaning. Explain what you think the word might mean. How did the context clue words help? Students repeat this process with four or five words they have selected. This strategy may be used as a whole-group, partner or individual activity, asking students to share their words and explanations. New vocabulary can be added to their journals.