Teaching Author’s Craft with A River Ran Wild


As Earth Day approaches, I thought I’d focus my language arts mentor text post on A River Ran Wild by author, Lynn Cherry. The author’s descriptive language about the pollution caused by the industrial revolution makes it a great choice for a mentor text discussing environmental studies, Earth Day, and certainly, reading comprehension and writing.

Book Descriptions

Here’s how Amazon describes A River Ran Wild
From the author of the beloved classic The Great Kapok Tree, A River Ran Wild tells a story of restoration and renewal. Learn how the modern-day descendants of the Nashua Indians and European settlers were able to combat pollution and restore the beauty of the Nashua River in Massachusetts.

Ways to Use the Book

ariverranwild3-9759662This book works well for several skills as I mentioned, but I think it is best for author’s craft and author’s message. As I read through the book, I found the author’s words perfect for digging deep for meaning. Cherry poetically describes the changes to the Nashua River as the industrial revolution happened, and for the reader, it provides an opportunity to think about issues related to pollution, greed for bigger and better things, responsibility to take care of our planet, and respect for the beliefs and feelings of others. Having students select text information and record their interpretation of that information provides wonderful discussion. For this lesson, I selected the text to purposefully guide the talking points. This file could be projected on a Smartboard to compile student thoughts as part of a Pair/Share period.

Other Teaching Options

original-732177-1-6931839Other skills that are included in this mini unit are using text features to make predictions, making comparisons between texts, and a related writing prompt. In preparing this post, I also found this resource from Lisa Frase which gives additional resources and ideas including a reader’s theater script. For a copy of my mini unit, click the picture to the left.

Other Books You May Like

Many of Lynne Cherry’s books focus on environmental studies.  For other book options from her, you can give these a try.  I’ve used The Great Kapok Tree, Armadillo from Amarillo, and The Shaman’s Apprentice.


Teaching Author's Craft with A River Ran Wild

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. I love Lynne Cherry's books! I don't thing I have this one though! I'll have to check it out! It sounds perfect for Earth Day! Thanks so much for linking up!

  2. How sad that you are stuck following a program to fidelity and can not weave into your teaching routine great mentor texts. Perhaps through read alouds and writing mini lessons??

  3. Anonymous

    I haven't thought about this book in years! Thanks for reminding me what a great book it is to use in class. Love your ideas.

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