Friday, May 25, 2012

A Long Way from Chicago - Inferences and Timeline

     With my fifth graders, I had the opportunity to lead one group during their literature circle time. We read a few different books while I was there including Ruby Holler and A Long Way from Chicago. My group of students contained all girls, and they loved Ruby Holler but were not as enthusiastic about reading A Long Way from Chicago.

      A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck is a book that chronicles a boy's week-long adventures with his sister when they visit their grandma during the summer. Each chapter is the story from a different summer. It takes place from 1929 to 1935.

      I found that my students struggled with comprehension with this book. Part of this was due to the fact that they did not find it as interesting as other books, but another huge factor was that this book uses inferences regularly. To help with comprehension, I decided we would make a timeline as a group. This worked very well for this book since each chatper was a different year. We would talk about each year, discuss any inferences, decide what they wanted to write for a short summary, and choose what to draw for a picture. Then, the students would work hard on it. This really helped with their comprehension and enthusiasm for the book. Making timelines to aid comprehension is definately something I would recommend and I will remember to use more in the future.

      A Long Way from Chicago is also a wonderful book to practice inferences with upper elementary, even if you just want to use one chapter as a read aloud ("The Phantom Brakeman" is a very good example)

Thanks for reading this!!!
Have a wonderful end of the school year or beginning of summer!

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