Old Ben by Jesse Stuart (The Jesse Stuart Foundation, 1991) is a terrific book for your 4th and 5th graders studying ecology or reptiles. Old Ben is the story of an eleven-year-old farm boy in eastern Kentucky who finds a black rat snake on the farm, treats it like a pet, and lets it live in the corn bin. Jesse Stuart was well known for his interest in ecological issues. In this timeless story, he presents the important role that animals (even those we fear) play in balancing regional environments and keeping wildlife populations stable.
Jesse Stuart's Old Ben: A Book Study Unit has everything you need. It is designed as a whole class activity, but it could be easily adjusted for small groups or independent study. .
*Teacher's page which describes each part of the book study and has a list of online resources
*Synopsis of Old Ben
* 4-page Oral Reading and Discussion Guide
*Vocabulary crossword puzzle
*Vocabulary worksheet using glossary words in sentence context
*Find the Details, a comprehension worksheet with 30 questions
*Comprehension test with multiple choice, open response, and sequencing questions
*Answer keys for all items
Please download the preview to see example pages of this book study!