Woody Guthrie Foundation and Archives Educational Curriculum

LANGUAGE ARTS: Response to Literature
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Introduction

A rich pool of literature about Woody Guthrie invites the student to respond in an open-ended way. Here are some ways to respond to literature that combine the four elements of reading, writing, listening and speaking.

Getting Started

In the area of your classroom where you have shared reading, post a list of possible responses to literature. As the children become familiar with these responses throughout the year they will be able to discern which response fits a particular book. For example, a book with lots of characters may be fun to put on as a play, whereas a book with lots of dialogue might make a good cartoon strip. Perhaps children in the same lit circle may want to make a mural together or put on a puppet show about their book.

Activity

Even though these responses are open-ended, students will implement them more effectively if you do a lot of modeling early in the school year. Teach not only the procedures but reasons why some responses fit certain kinds of books better than others.

RESPONSES TO LITERATURE
  • Make puppets
  • Make a book box
  • Design a Quilt
  • Do a Readers Theater
  • Put on a play
  • Illustrate
  • Design a book jacket
  • Paint a mural
  • Write a newscast
  • Write a poem
  • Draw a Cartoon strip
  • Write a song
  • Grandma's Fan
  • Give a speech as if you were a character
  • Complete an author study
  • Make a story map
  • Write a different ending
  • Research to find out more
  • Write favorite phrases and make mobile

Whatever responses students choose to do, the most important part is sharing them with the rest of the class. Thus, the puppeteers will perform a show, the artist who made a book box diorama will explain it, the quilters will tell how their quilt reflects their understanding of the book. What fun ways to check for comprehension! As students share, they will inevitably end up making book recommendations to one another, encouraging their classmates to read more. The sharing will also deepen their collective identity as a community of learners.

During the whole morning of language arts, Woody Guthrie music will be playing quietly in the background. Perhaps students will sing along as favorite songs develop among them. Keep the U.S. Map pulled down for those students who need to locate places on the map. (See Math)


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