With Thanksgiving just passed and with my latest instagram post on my mind, I thought I’d share how I use my favorite title, Thank You Mr. Falker, for narrative elements and theme. This book gives me “all the feels” every single time I read it. I get to the end, and I grab the tissues. I just can’t read it without them!
For those who haven’t read this book, it is about how Patricia struggled with reading and how she was diagnosed with dyslexia. It wasn’t until she was age twelve that she learned to read, and this book chronicles her struggles. She hid behind her drawing talents and put up with bullying until her teacher, Mr. Falker, discovered her struggles. In fact, I think Mr. Falker provides a teaching model for all of us. He paid attention to her strengths and searched to discover her challenges. Don’t we do that every day? This is the purpose of every guided reading lesson. Be a kid watcher!
When I am introducing narrative elements, I like to compare and contrast fiction and nonfiction. Using a t-chart and having students sort text features according to the text category is a great way to help students discover what to focus on as they read.
Sharing The Book:
The next step in the lesson is to read the story in sections and work on identifying and describing the narrative elements through discussion. I use the paper bag book I developed with my students as we discussed. You can see how the activities are set up in the photos I took of my student’s book.
This resource worked well with this book, but it can be used with ANY book. If you’d like to move it into a literacy workstation for students to complete as a review, it would work very well there too. You can learn more by clicking the image to the right.
Mentor Text Suggestions for Narrative Elements:
Many titles work well for teaching narrative elements. When picking the title you’ll use, you might consider whether the author has other related books and whether there is an engaging plot. Here are some choices I’ve enjoyed:
- My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother
- Jamie O’Rourke and the Big Potato
- Strega Nona
- The Snowy Day
- Owl Moon
- Enemy Pie
- Thunder Cake
- and Amazing Grace
Using Paper Bag Books for Other Skills
If you find you like this idea for skill introduction, you can check out the rest of the series [HERE]. There are thirteen skill books in the bundle. They work well for introducing new skills, in literacy stations for review, for RTI lessons, and for test prep when you’re ready for that time of year. Once made, they can be revisited for review too.
If you are interested in the comparing fiction and nonfiction sorting activity, please subscribe below. I will be uploading this resource to my VIP library for previous subscribers. 😊 I hope you’ll enjoy using the resource.