Arts & Humanities
Brief DescriptionPatricia MacLachlans Sarah, Plain and Tall inspires students as they write a friendly letter to Sarah from the point of view of either Anna or Caleb.
KeywordsSarah, Plain and Tall, friendly, letter, MacLachlan, Newbery, point of view, prairie
This lesson is inspired by Patricia MacLachlans novel, Sarah, Plain and Tall. Students hear the book -- which won the Newbery Medal in 1986 -- read loud and then write a friendly letter to Sarah from the point of view of Anna or Caleb.
Begin the lesson by reading aloud a chapter a day from Sarah, Plain and Tall. In the book, Papa, a widower, writes for a mail-order bride to live in their prairie home. Anna and Caleb are filled with hope and uncertainty as they wait for responses to Papas ad and, eventually, for the arrival of "Sarah, plain and tall. As you read aloud each chapter of the book, discuss with students how the characters feel.
Introduce this lesson when you get to the point in the story at which the children are anxiously awaiting Sarahs arrival. Talk about how Papa, Caleb, and Anna feel as they wait for the big day.
Review with students the friendly letter format. Encourage students to imagine that they are Caleb or Anna and ask them to write a letter to Sarah from the point of view of that character. In the letter, students should describe their lives and share their feelings about Sarahs arrival.
Use or adapt one of the rubrics below to assess students adherence to the correct Format for a Friendly Letter.Lesson Plan Source
Gary HopkinsNational Standards
LANGUAGE ARTS: English
NL-ENG.K-12.1 Reading for Perspective
NL-ENG.K-12.2 Reading for Understanding
NL-ENG.K-12.4 Communication Skills
NL-ENG.K-12.5 Communication Strategies
NL-ENG.K-12.6 Applying Knowledge
NL-ENG.K-12.12 Applying Language Skills
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Originally published 9/27/2002
Last updated 03/17/2009