Sunday, April 7, 2013

Must Read Mentor Text!

I'm on SPRING BREAK!!!!  Wahooo!!!

Break was so long in coming.  I know you all could tell how ready I was for it to come.  Living so far from my family, I usually get a major feeling of needing to go home every few months.  There's just something about being at home in my comfy house in the place where I grew up that just helps me relax physically and mentally.

Getting home is always the annoying process though.  Fortunately, my drive yesterday went really well...that is once once I got going.  When I missed my alarm and woke up at 7:00 instead of 6:00, I thought the day was off to a bad start.  Still, I made really good time and got home about 5:15.

Now, it's a quiet Sunday morning before church.  What better to do than blog?

I am linking up with Amanda and Stacia from Collaboration Cuties for their weekly Must Read Mentor Text party.  This week, the theme is language arts.

I had  a tough time choosing what book to highlight, since there are so many good ones, but I had to go with one I am using right now for our character study unit: Chester's Way.

Really, I am using a lot of Kevin Henke's books for our unit, since his characters are so strong, but Chester's Way has been super useful and fun for both the kids and me.

Chester's Way is the story of a mouse named Chester who always does things a certain way, and always does everything with his best friend Wilson.  Chester and Wilson are both very proper, organized, and safe.  They do not like to take risks, get dirty, or be wild.  They are quite content with their lives.

Until one day...

Lilly comes to town! 

Lilly is the total opposite of Chester and Wilson.  She is loud, bold, brave, and adventurous.  She wears costumes, carries a squirt gun, and likes to talk backwards.

Chester and Wilson initially do not like Lilly, but then she helps rescue them from some bullies.  After that the three of them become fast friends.

I love this book for so many reasons.  The main characters have such clear personalities, so the book can easily be used to teach students to identify character traits, feelings, and likes/dislikes etc. and how these things contribute to the story's problem and events.  Since Chester and Lilly are so different, students can practice comparing and contrasting characters and/or about how characters change.

In addition to all of these great character lessons, this book also lends itself to a discussion of how it's okay for people to be different and to like different things.  You don't have to be exactly the same as someone to be their friend.

The only thing warning I should give about this book is that it is quite long.  I broke up my lessons over several different days by looking at Chester then Lilly individually before looking deeper at the plot and the character relationships.

Overall though, the book is super useful and engaging.  The kids get so attached to the characters that they hate it when I put the book down after only a few pages.

Hope you enjoy Chester's Way as much as I do.  Be sure to stop by Collaboration Cuties to link up to share your favorite mentor texts.


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  2. Hi Becky,
    I found your blog thru Farley's Currently. I love the name of your blog and I am a follower. I am a first grade teacher at a Christian school and I use Kevin Henke's Books too. Thank you for suggesting this one.

  3. Happy Spring Break! I'm on mine too!! Yippee!! :)
    ideas by jivey

  4. Thank you for linking up!!! I have not heard of this book but I do love Kevin Henkes! This sounds like a great way to do character analysis!

    Thank you!! Happy spring break!!
    Collaboration Cuties