Workbooks for Readers and Writers:
Sarah, Plain and Tall
The classic story of Sarah, Plain and Tall itself is not difficult and can be read quickly, but it is rich enough to offer the opportunity for intensive examination over several days.
Downloading this product will give you five documents:
1. Reading Workbook
2. Writing Workbook
3. Activity Book (color, cut, and glue activities)
4. Answer key for Reading Workbook (also available for free on TPT)
5. Teaching notes
The reading workbook has an academic focus which teaches skills and utilizes close reading of the text to promote comprehension. The writing workbook has ample opportunities to produce multi-paragraph writings in the form of friendly letters and an essay . The activity book encourages students to reflect on the events of a chapter and choose which one to illustrate.
I use these workbooks as a whole-class activity which takes about two days for each of the 9 chapters, with pre-reading skills exercises, post-reading comprehension questions, and daily writing work. In my classroom, we do the reading exercises in the morning and the writing after lunch. The materials can also be used for small groups or reading circles.
Pre-reading exercises in the Reading Workbook
These exercises prepare the students to read the chapter independently. There is enough text within the questions so that even the struggling readers will be ready to tackle the reading after doing the exercises with the class.
The exercises include:
• Spell of common affixes (+ed and +ing)
• Sounds of +ed
• Irregular past verbs
• Quotation marks
• Sounds of common vowel combinations
• Sounds of final Y
• Identify silent letters
• Edit spelling mistakes
• Compound words (create and separate)
• Count syllables
• Find synonyms
• Choose correct homophones
• Choose correct meaning for homographs
• Guess meaning of new words from context
• Choose pronouns
• Write WH-questions
• Expand contractions
Comprehension exercises in the Reading Workbook
Students will refer to the text to find the answers to these questions. Sometimes the answers are provided explicitly in the text, but frequently the students are asked figure out what must be happening from the context. Additionally, answering the comprehension exercises will prepare the students for the writing exercises. They include these kinds of skills:
• Identify characters
• Identify setting (place and time)
• Point of view
• Infer meaning from context
• Infer the character’s feelings or mood
• Similes –meaning and write your own
• Descriptive words
• Use a venn diagram to compare Maine and the Prairie
• Write sentences to support your opinion
The writing packet asks students to write multi-paragraph essays, usually in the form of a friendly letter, that summarize the chapter. The directions explicitly list the topic for each paragraph.
The writing assignments have the prompt at the top of the page and enough lines for two pages of writing.
Contents of Writing Workbook
Chapter 1 Write a letter to Sarah from Papa page 1
Chapter 2 Write a letter from Caleb or Anna 2
Chapter 3 Write a letter from Sarah to William 4
Chapter 4 Write a letter from Sarah to William 6
Chapter 5 Write a letter from Sarah to William 8
Chapter 6 Describe Anna’s dream or your dream 10
Chapter 7 Write a letter from Anna to Mama 12
Chapter 8 Write a letter from Sarah to William 14
Chapter 9 Write a letter from Sarah to William 16
Activity Book (color, cut, and glue activities)
These activities are half-sheet projects that students glue into their “Activity Book.”
For my class I use several sheets of 9x12 colored construction paper folded in half and stapled to make the Activity Book. I hand out the ½ page activity, and after completing the task, the students cut it out and glue it into the Activity Book.
Illustrate the chapter: This is the first book my students read that doesn’t have pictures for each chapter. After we finish reading the chapter, we summarize the chapter and talk about the different scenes that an illustrator could choose for the chapter.
Reading a key for seashells and flowers: These activities ask the students to read a key to label the different shells and flowers. Reading a key is a skill that was new to most of my students.
For more cut-and-glue activities students can add to their Activity Books, I recommend Sarah, Plain and Tall Activities for Interactive Notebooks, by Elementary Lesson Plans, available from another teacher-author on Teachers Pay Teachers.