Spring Mentor Text to Teach Reading

Apr 21, 2017

Spring!!! It is here!!  And with it comes flowers, sunshine, and growth.  As teachers, we are always searching for that growth and spring is just the place to find it.  I am excited to share with you a "new" book to me, procedural text to use in the classroom, and some growth that I have encountered this year.

Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain by Verna Aardema retells a tale originally uncovered by Sir Claud Hollis in 1909 during his stay in Kenya, Africa.  Verna has written this story to the rhythm an old nursery rhyme, "The House That Jack Built" (one of my absolute favorite stories, as a child).  In this story, the Kapiti Plain is dry and in desperate need of rain.  The main character, Ki-pat, solves this problem by shooting an arrow into the rain cloud.  He then shares this rain ritual with his own son and the tradition continues.

I have two goals with this lesson.  The first goal is to help students to articulate the importance that rain plays in our daily lives.  Students need to understand that rain is imperative for crop growth, drinking water, and for animals to thrive.  This fact has remained true throughout history; therefore, civilizations have relied on rain to survive and have created rituals to help with the production of rain.  Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain, an article from NASA, and the procedural text to make a rainstick will all be used within this lesson to teach this first goal.
My second goal is to provide an authentic reading opportunity through procedural text.  My students this year have craved "how to" texts during my guided reading groups.  They love when I use these books and allow them to follow the directions.  This has really pushed some of my more reluctant readers and we have spent a great deal of time discussing the importance of reading these types of texts throughout life (i.e. recipes, directions to build an object, or other manuals).

In order to accomplish the goals listed above, I begin this lesson by activating their schema on rain.  I ask the following questions: "What is the importance of rain?  Why do we need it? "What happens if it does not rain?  What problems can arise when it does not rain?"  Once the answers to these questions are discussed through a "turn and talk," small group, whole group, or a combination of all three methods, I explain that many cultures and groups of people have come up with different rituals to help make it rain.

While reading Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain, I  stop to quickly explain the following words: belated, drought, herd, slender, and pierced.  As mentioned above, this text is written to the rhythm "The House That Jack Built;" therefore, it repeats.  Students are invited to say the story with me as I read it.  Stopping throughout the book to get student predictions about how Ki-pat will solve the problem of drought is also a great discussion point!

 Once the story has been completed, I ask the students how Ki-pat solved his problem.  Then I explain that this is only one example of a rain ritual.  There are many others that have been documented throughout history.  NASA has an article that explains some of the other cultural traditions and rituals that take place to bring rain to the land.  You can find that article HERE.  You may want to read the whole article to your students or only parts of it, depending upon the age of your students.

My students have been so excited about reading procedural text this year.  And what a great reason to read!  So to connect this new learning to their reading, this procedural text explains how to make a rainstick.  The resource contains three versions of the directions.  Each version is a different difficulty level.  This allows you to differentiate the lesson based on the individual reading needs of your students.  The example below illustrates two of the leveled books. 

The directions are the same for each of the texts, but just written in a slightly different way.  When each student has followed the directions, they will end up with a rainstick like the one pictured below.

If your students are interested in continuing their study of rain rituals, there are several other texts that they can check out!
  • The Legend of the Bluebonnet by Tomie DePaola
  • Rain Dance by Cathy Applegate
  • Sing Down the Rain by Judi Moreillon
 If you would like to use this lesson in your classroom, please click on the image below!  Or you can pin for later!   Thanks for reading today! -Em


Don't forget to hop through and read about all the great mentor text lessons that can help you to spring into spring!  You can also enter the Rafflecopter and win ALL (yes...ALL)  of the mentor texts in this hop! My mystery word is RAIN.

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1 comment:

  1. This book sounds fantastic! I think my own kids would love this because of the rhythm and making a rain stick. Thank you for sharing!


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