How to Effectively Teach Historical Fiction

Teaching historical fiction is best done with great mentor texts. The Buffalo Storm by Kathleen Applegate is a great choice if you're modeling. This post gives information about the book and includes a free resource for your lesson.
Kathleen Applegate is the well known author of the book, The One and Only Ivan, but she's also the author of several picture books too. The Buffalo Storm is one of those books, and it's the perfect choice for introducting historical fiction. The books cover certainly gives a glimpse of the topic, and most kids would be pulled into the book just by looking at it. If you are teaching Westward Expansion, grab this book to include with your unit.

Book Background:


Amazon.com Description:

On a wagon trail west with Mama and Papa, a young girl faces down fears of stormy weather and moving to a new place thanks to the wisdom, love, and grit instilled by her beloved grandmother back home. 
 

Introduction:

Here's a glimpse of the opening.  I love the use of repetition and how the author chooses to list the character's feelings right from the beginning.

How to Use this Book:

Historical Fiction Analysis

I love how this book shows a strong relationship between Hallie and her grandmother and how she deals with her fear of storms and moving. You might teach the history behind this book. The author and illustrator beautifully capture the sense of what it would be like on the Oregon Trails through the eyes of Hallie, the main character. Teachers might tie reading this book to research about the Oregon Trail and Lewis and Clark.  

 RAFT PAPERS

Another option for this book is for writing. It would be fun to write a RAFT papers as a post reading activity. RAFT stands for:

Role=Hallie
Audience=Grandmother
Format=Friendly Letter
Topic=Description of the Buffalo Storm scene.  

If you haven't done RAFT papers before, THIS RESOURCE might be helpful. It includes an analysis page for historical fiction, a RAFT assignment page, a four square planning page, and a writing page. You can download using the link above or by clicking the image below.
Teaching historical fiction is best done with great mentor texts. The Buffalo Storm by Kathleen Applegate is a great choice if you're modeling. This post gives information about the book and includes a free resource for your lesson.

Mentor texts really help our students SEE how skills work with a real text, and we know Think Aloud is a teaching practice that greatly benefits struggling readers. I hope The Buffalo Storm is helpful in your teaching of historical fiction.



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Teaching historical fiction is best done with great mentor texts. The Buffalo Storm by Kathleen Applegate is a great choice if you're modeling. This post gives information about the book and includes a free resource for your lesson. 

2 comments

  1. Oh, this is great! We get to the Oregon Trail at the end of the year and this will be great! I have never heard of this book! We don't have an Ollie's...what is that?

    Thanks for linking up!
    Amanda
    Collaboration Cuties

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ollie's is a discount store that is popping up in various locations. Several of my blogging buddies commented they have one nearby too, but I don't know where all they are located. They sell hardbacks for $3.99. I've picked up Bully, Junkyard Wonders, and Meteor by Patricia Polacco, several Jan Brett books, and lots of other random titles. It's like a scavenger hunt! ;-)

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