Mela and the Elephant is a wonderful book to start the year. The setting is Thailand. A little girl learns the hard way, when she is lost in the jungle, how to show kindness and not expect a reward as an exchange. The reader will also learn by looking at the beautiful illustrations about the homes in Thailand, the animals who live there, and ways people in Thailand show their thanks.
My Guided Reading packet contains pre-reading by looking at the geography of Thailand to see where it is in the world, and a cover study to predict what the story will be about. The rest of the packet contains the best of reading comprehension strategies as well as critical thinking. There are a plethora of post-reading activities that focus on retelling the story, research facts about Thailand, and write about ways to show kindness at school and at home.