For my reading instruction, I use a lot of mentor texts to teach key reading skills. This makes the skill authentic and relevant, and it helps students see the connection between the skill and real reading. Also, mentor texts are fun to read, and even my fifth graders love being read to.
Today I want to share a Spring mentor text that is always great for teaching the influence of point of view (as well as lots of other meaty skills!).
This historical fiction story is set during the middle of the Great Depression. Lydia Grace’s parents are out of work and have sent her to live with her uncle, a baker who lives in the city. The entire story is told from the point of view of Lydia via letters she writes to her family. Lydia Grace has a huge impact on her uncle and her surroundings in the city. She transforms the rooftop into a garden and finally transforms her uncle into a happier man. She leaves at the end of the book to return home after ten months because her father has found a job.
One of my favorite parts of this book is that it doubles as a great Spring Mentor Text and a book to pair with instruction on The Great Depression. I highly recommend providing some background on The Great Depression prior to reading this book, if your students are not familiar with this historical period. Your introduction can go into as much depth as you want depending on your history standards. However, I definitely recommend including information about the hardships and struggles by Americans during this time. This will help provide a context for many of the events that take place in the book (Lydia being sent to live with her uncle, her uncle being upset in the beginning of the book, for example).
In addition to giving the background of the time period, I also review the concept of point of view. Since my lesson primarily focuses on how point of view influences the events told in a story, the students need a knowledge of point of view prior to the lesson. The last thing I do before I begin reading is provide the students with a focus for the reading: How does the point of view affect how the events and characters are described? I will have the students to record their thoughts as they are reading on this graphic organizer which you can download for FREE here.
How to Use this Freebie:
As you are reading the book aloud, have your students record ways that the story is influenced since the point of view is Lydia Grace’s. There are example responses also available on the graphic organizer printable to help you guide the students. Depending on your students and their reading proficiency levels, I would definitely guide the students through at least one example and model your thinking. You can also scaffold them through the entire read aloud by stopping at certain points and having them discuss how this answers the question with a partner. Then they can record their notes on the organizer after discussing it.
Lesson Extension Activities:
In addition to discussing how the point of view affects the story, I also like to explore how the historical setting affects the plot. Use this comprehension question printable to have the students respond to that and a couple other questions.
In addition to point of view and setting, this book is great for how a character changes through the course of a story. In the story, Lydia Grace’s presence has a huge effect on her uncle and his mood. Use this graphic organize to have the students record how Lydia Grace influences him and the change he undergoes.
Want More Spring Activities and Freebies?
Click on the links below to see even more spring themed activities for 4th and 5th graders.
And I am linking up with some of my blogger friends who also have some great mentor texts and freebies for you (some are limited time only- so make sure you check them out).