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Grab a Winning Book to Read on March 3



Arts & Humanities
--Language Arts
Social Studies
--Current Events
----World History


Grades 2-up

News Content

A school librarian wrote one of this years award-winning books with her students in mind.

Anticipation Guide

Before asking students to read, write the following terms on a board or chart:

  • Prehistoric Times
  • Ancient Times
  • The Dark Ages
  • The Middle Ages
  • The Age of Discovery
  • Modern Times
  • The Space Age

  • Can students identify what those terms might have in common? If students know that those terms represent different periods in history, that is plenty. If you teach upper elementary grades or above, you might ask students to identify things they know about any of those time periods. They might identify, for example, that dinosaurs lived in Prehistoric Times; the Olympic Games were started in Ancient Times; Christopher Columbus sailed to the Americas during the Age of Discovery; man first stepped foot on the moon during the Space Age

    Make a special point of sharing a little information about the period known as the Middle Ages, also known as medieval times. This period, which lasted from roughly 500 to 1500 A.D., is known for some of these things, which you might write on the board or chart:

  • kings and their castles
  • lords and ladies
  • knights in shining armor
  • jousting tournaments
  • masters and peasants
  • rough, scratchy clothing
  • feasts with stews made from meat or fish

    In addition, you might share the cover of an award-winning book, which is mentioned in this weeks News for Kids article. Click here to share with students the cover of the book Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz.

    News Words

    Next, introduce these words that appear in the News Word Box on the students printable page: librarian, medieval, speeches, award, village, and celebration. Discuss the meanings of any of those words that might be unfamiliar. Then ask students to use one of those words to complete each of these sentences:

  • My great-grandfather was born in the tiny Irish _____ of Tullymore. (village)
  • Church members are busy planning a special _____ to commemorate the buildings 50th anniversary. (celebration)
  • During _____ times, people lived on a fairly steady diet of baked bread, porridge, and stew. (medieval)
  • The candidates gave their _____ before opening up the microphone to questions from the audience. (speeches)
  • Mrs. Juniper, the art teacher, will _____ ribbons to the best projects. (award)
  • My mother asked our towns _____ to recommend some good books about space travel. (librarian)

    Read the News

    Click for a printable version of this weeks news story Grab a Winning Book to Read on March 3.

    You might use a variety of approaches to reading the news:

    Read aloud the news story to students as they follow along.

    Students might first read the news story to themselves; then you might call on individual students to read sections of the news aloud for the class.

    Photocopy the news story onto a transparency and project it onto a screen. (Or use your classroom computer's projector to project the story.) Read the story aloud as a class, or ask students to take turns reading it.

    Arrange students into small groups. Each student in the group will read a paragraph of the story. As that student reads, others might underline important information or write notes in the margin of the story. After each student finishes reading, others in the group might say something -- a comment, a question, a clarification -- about the text.

    More Facts to Share

    You might share these additional facts with students after they have read this weeks news story.

  • Each year, the American Library Association (ALA) announces the year's best books. This year, they chose a collection of monologues as the winning book ( by Laura Amy Schlitz). Schlitz began writing the monologues as a way to bring to life the history of the Middle Ages. She wrote the monologues for her fifth graders at Park School in Baltimore, Maryland, because she couldnt find a play about the Middle Ages that had a part for every student to perform. When Schlitz saw how much her students enjoyed the monologues, she decided to have them published.
  • Schlitzs monologues include plenty of information about medieval times. She also includes in the book a section that offers other tidbits of information.
  • Each year, the ALA chooses several Newbery Honor Books too. This years Honor Books include Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis; The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt; and Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson.
  • The Newbery Medal is named for the 18th-century British bookseller John Newbery. It has been awarded since 1922. It honors the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.
  • Each year, the ALA also awards the Caldecott Medal to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children. This years winner is Brian Selznick for The Invention of Hugo Cabret.
  • The ALA presented this years Coretta Scott King Awards, which recognize African-American authors and illustrators, to author Christopher Paul Curtis (Elijah of Buxton) and illustrator Ashley Bryan (Let It Shine).
  • The Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for the most distinguished book for beginning readers was awarded to Mo Willems (There Is a Bird on Your Head!).
  • The Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults was awarded to Orson Scott Card (Ender's Game, Ender's Shadow).
  • Read Across America Day is usually celebrated on March 2, Dr. Seusss birthday. Because March 2 falls this year on a Sunday, the school celebration is planned for Monday, March 3. The theme of this years Read Across America Day is Grab Your Hat and Read With the Cat! For more ideas for recognizing this special day, see the Education World article Special Reading Fun for Read Across America Day.
  • This years Read Across America Day celebration is expected to involve more than 45 million participants. When children open the pages of a good book, reading can ignite their imaginations and open the doors to a reading wonderland, said Reg Weaver, president of the National Education Association (NEA), which sponsors the celebration. Whether its a thrilling mystery or a fantasy set in a land far, far away, find a nook and be in the company of your favorite book this Read Across America Day.

    Comprehension Check

    Recalling Detail

  • Why did Laura Amy Schlitz write Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!? (She wanted to bring history to life for students who were learning about the Middle Ages.)
  • What does Schlitz do for a living besides writing books? (She is a school librarian.)
  • How many characters did Schlitz create for her book? (16)
  • Why is Read Across America Day celebrated in March? (Dr. Seuss was born in March.)

    Think About the News
    Discuss the Think About the News question that appears on the students news page. You might use the think-pair-share strategy with students to discuss this question. If you use this strategy

  • First, arrange students into pairs to discuss and list responses to the question.
  • Then merge two pairs of students together to create groups of four students. Have them discuss and add to the ideas they generated in their pairs.
  • Next, merge two groups of four students to form groups of eight students. Have students create a new combined list of ideas.
  • Finally, bring all students together for a class discussion about the characteristics of good literature.

    Follow-Up Activities

    Reading and art. Talk about the characteristics that the best books have. Students might mention things such as great characters, interesting plots, fun dialogue, historic facts as some of the things they like most. Next, challenge each student to identify the best book he or she has read in recent months. Students should follow the instructions in Education Worlds Kudos to Kiddos lesson plan to create a special medal (similar to the Newbery Medal awarded to Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village). Invite each student to present his or her award-winning book to their classmates; students should offer their explanations for selecting their books. When the presentations are completed, the class might vote for the Overall Best Book or the most convincing presentation.

    History -- the Middle Ages. Have students work in pairs to read one of the reports written by fifth graders that comprise the Step Back in Time Web site. Then provide time for each pair of students to share with the class two facts (one for each student) that they learned about their Middle Ages topic.

    Language arts -- expressions. Many expressions used today have their origins in Olde English. Ask students to choose one of the expressions below and write their most creative explanation for the origin of the saying. After students read aloud their explanations, you can share first explanation found on the Ye Olde English Sayings Web site. (NOTE: Some of the expressions and their explanations are not appropriate for classroom discussion. The selected expressions listed below are appropriate.)

  • the clink (a jail cell)
  • beat around the bush
  • wet your whistle
  • chew the fat
  • giving someone the cold shoulder
  • turn the tables
  • upper crust
  • getting your goat
  • bonfire
  • saving face, losing face
  • Assessment

    Use the Comprehension Check (above) as an assessment. Or have students work on their own (in their journals) or in their small groups to respond to the Think About the News questions on the news story page or in the Comprehension Check section.

    Lesson Plan Source

    Education World

    National Standards

    LANGUAGE ARTS: English
    GRADES K - 12
    NL-ENG.K-12.2 Reading for Understanding
    NL-ENG.K-12.8 Developing Research Skills
    NL-ENG.K-12.12 Applying Language Skills

    SOCIAL SCIENCES: World History
    GRADES 5 - 12
    NSS-WH.5-12The Middle Ages and Other Eras

    See recent news stories in Education Worlds News Story of the Week Archive.

    Article by Ellen Delisio and Gary Hopkins
    Education World®
    Copyright © 2008 Education World