For my first post, I thought I’d write about one of my favorite children’s books The Relatives Came. This is such a touching story about a big family coming together one summer for a family reunion. The illustrations are wonderful and the author uses perfect descriptions so that you feel as if you are right there with all the relatives- hugging and laughing and hugging some more.
I’m including a lesson plan I created for this book. It was an assignment for a class I took last semester and I know I will be using this in my own classroom someday (hopefully soon!).
The Relatives Came- A Reading Comprehension Lesson
Purpose: In this lesson students will learn how to make connections to improve reading comprehension. Students will make text-to-self connections
- Students will activate prior knowledge about families.
- Students will make text-to-self connections to the story.
- Book: The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant
- Visual Aid Poster: Text-to-Self
- Sticky notes (2 different colors)
- Chart paper
- Making connections worksheet: “It reminds me of…”
- Stock paper (one for each student)
- To begin the lesson start a discussion with the students about what the word relative means.
- Who are the people in your family?
- What does relative mean? extended family?
- Do you have special names for your grandparents, aunts, uncles, godparents?
- Why do relatives gather together?
- Introduce the book The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant. Explain that this is a book about relatives coming together for a summer visit.
- Explain that while you read you are going to make text-to-self connections. A text-to-self connection is made when something in the story reminds you of something in your life.
- At the beginning of the story, model for the students. Make a text-to-self connection and share it with the class: “Class, this family is waiting for their relatives to visit. This reminds me of when my family took a car trip one summer all the way to Indiana to visit my cousins. It was so fun and I was so excited! I have just made a text-to-self connection here.”
- After modeling for the students, continue to read the book. Stop every few pages and allow some students to tell the class the text-to-self connections they are making. Make sure every student gets at least one turn to give a connection.
Some questions you may ask:
- What does this story remind you of?
- Can you relate to any of the characters in the story?
- Did anything that happened in this story remind you of something that happened in your own life?
- After reading the book, students should return to their tables. Pass out the making connections worksheet to each student, sticky notes (2 of one color and 2 of another), and have everyone take out a pencil.
- Tell the students you are going to read through the story one more time. This time when you read the story the students should make two text-to-self connections and write them down.
- Students will write them down on sticky notes, so they can share with the class. On one color sticky note they should write what happened in the story and on the other sticky note they should write “It reminds me of…” and then write about something that has happened in their own life.
- After you have finished reading the story through a second time and the students are all finished, students may share with the class what they wrote and then come up to the front of the room and post their sticky notes on chart paper.
- To close the lesson, students should pick one of their connections (“It reminds me of…”) to draw. Students can share their pictures with a partner, with their table, or of there is enough time with the whole class.
- Drawing can be done on card stock paper and then a bulletin board will be posted in the class of the cover of the book, quotes from the book, and then all the students pictures of their connections to the book.
The teacher should assess the students by looking at the sticky notes and the text-to-self connections each child has made.
- Did students participate in the pre-reading discussion?
- Did students participate and make connections during the 1st read-aloud?
- Do the students sticky notes show that they made connections to the story?
Students who are English language learners should be encouraged to make connections to their family and their traditions.
Some students may need extra help writing their ideas on their sticky notes. Allow for time after the 2nd reading to walk around the room and assist students if they need help scribing or with ideas.
Students can use their own memories to begin a graphic organizer for their own story. (In the middle box write the connection. In the outer boxes write in supporting details.)
Students can do a Readers’ Theatre: Students can write and perform a play on the book, acting out the different sides of the story (relatives visiting, or relatives being visited).