Get kids talking about relevant issues before you read a book aloud to them by using an anticipation guide. This guide was created for Barbara Park's book The Graduation of Jake Moon. Students first answer these questions and then share their responses with a partner. You could extend this activity by turning one or more of these questions into a class discussion.
Be sure to collect these guides from your students so that you can hand them back to each child at the end of the book. THEY will be surprised to see how their thinking has changed as a result of the book.
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I am a former fourth and fifth grade classroom teacher who is now a part-time literacy consultant. I have two master's degrees: one in elementary education from Hunter College and one in literacy from Teachers College (Columbia University).