Reading groups are my favorite part of the school day! I love the lively discussions where my students have a hard time waiting their turns to speak. By the end of the year, students have taken over the discussion while I laugh and smile at their unique connections and perceptions to the book being discussed. I have started adding nonfiction books that integrate my social studies units into reading. This has added a whole new level of insight and just plain fun into learning about the United States regions and the Oregon Trail in fourth grade.
Ellen Levine's "If You Traveled in a Covered Wagon" is chock full of information that your students will love to explore deeper through online resources and a journal activity. Along with discussion questions to get your reading group started each day, I've included websites that will extend the knowledge learned from the book.
Comprehension questions: I have students write the answer to one question per day in their reading notebooks. They bring their notebooks to reading groups so that they can read their answers out loud at the table. These high level questions are designed so that there is a multitude of ways to answer the question. I look for a connection to the novel and depth within an answer.
Chapter quizzes are included so that you can assess whether or not a student has read the passage. I require students to go back into the book to find the answer. I've included lines to the right of the question for students to write down the page number where they found the answer.
Since many children pioneers journaled along the Oregon Trail, this is the main project throughout. I have students make their journal as we begin the novel. My students absolutely loved the journals!!! They were disappointed when we ran out of time and couldn't finish all of the entries. I also had my students make a covered wagon which they loved as well!
I set up a book study with much more than I will use! Each group is different, so I use different questions and projects each time. I hope this resource helps you enjoy reading groups as much as I do!!!