The Little Red Hen Poem vs. Book

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SWBAT analyze the author's perspective as they compare two versions of the same story.

Big Idea

This comparison deals with comparing a poem to a book with a similar central message.


10 minutes

Common Core Connection and Introduction

In approaching RL.1.9, the first thing we do in this lesson is to compare The Little Red Hen's adventure in the book, The Little Red Hen by Paul Galdone, to the The Little Red Hen the poem by Mary Ann Hoberman in You Read to Me, and I'll Read to You. The College and Career Readiness Anchor Standard states that the students need to analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches of the authors. So, this is the first lesson in the unit that we begin analyzing the author's choices for the similarities and differences. This is a gradual release method that I find essential to avoid overwhelming my students. By breaking the standard down into smaller pieces that they students can master and build upon the students are much more successful and positive in their learning process.

Lesson Overview

I seat the learners on the lounge beside their collaborative partner (for more on how I structure my groups, see: Peanut Butter Jelly Partner). This creates order and keeps them seated next to a peer they work well with.  This assigned partner also helps the struggling readers.

Another essential management tool I use is frequent transitions. Check out my video explanation: Transition.

Introductory Activity

I seat them on the carpet and ask them if they have ever known somebody who worked very hard.  Then I give them one minute to tell their partner about that person.  This engages everyone in the class.  I listen and share one great example.  I tell them that we are going to compare two stories about a hard working hen. 

I explain that we are going to compare two versions of The Little Red Hen.  I ask them to repeat, "I can recognize the author's choice of keeping things similar or different in two versions of a story."  Verbalizing the goals of the lesson helps them understand what we are working on, it makes the goal personal, and it engages every child.

I remind them about the last story we read and compared characters, setting, and events.  We just compared the original Cinderella to Cinderella Skeleton.  This connects the learning so that we build upon prior knowledge.

Guided Practice

20 minutes

I read, The Little Red Hen, while they are at the lounge area.  Then I echo read The Little Red Hen from You Read To Me and I Read to You by Mary Ann Hoberman.   I remind them to make a movie in their mind as I read.  I am teaching them to think as they read so they can recall the story.  I stop periodically to allow them to retell what has happend so far in the text.  This helps me know if they are comprehending. I usually stop after each page of the poem to get a mini summary of the page. This helps those that are struggling with visualizing to see what is happening.  They are learning from each other because they hear their peers respond. Then I allow them to talk to the partner about what was the same and different so far; as students share, I add the ideas to the board: Board Work. We do this until we get through the entire poem.  If you are in a time crunch you could leave off the last page of the poem, but the students really enjoy it.

Then we begin analyzing the choices based on the author's perspective. Here are my questions:

  • Why did the author keep the three big events the same? (Maybe to keep the basic plot the same, and keep a similar message. You should help others.)
  • Why did the author not use quotations in the poem? (Maybe it would not rhyme.)
  • Why do you think the author changed the ending in the poem? (The hen shares her bread with a promise that the animals will help. Maybe to promote the message to be nice no matter what.)

Partner Work

20 minutes

I give them instruction to get with their partner and they will read two versions of a book of their choice.  Then they can complete the venn diagram for the two books.  The books I have two versions of are: the Tortoise and the Hare (the book and poem), Little Red Riding Hood, Lon Po Po, The Three Little Pigs and The True Story of the Three Little Pigs.  (Something to keep in mind: The students' reading ability may cause you to have to read these texts aloud. Then you would just pick one story and let them do the comparison as a group.)

My questions for after they identify what is similar and different are:

  • Why did the author make that choice?
  • Did it change the message or mood?

I ask the students to discuss this the last fifteen minutes of this section. Then several learners share and we engage in a class discussion about the author's choices in relation to the similarities and differences in the two stories.



Student Reflection

10 minutes

I remind them that we are studying comparing and contrasting texts.  I tell them that we have made a venn diagram and placed information that is the same and different. I remind them what the words same and different mean.  I have a picture of two identical dogs with the word same. I show this to them to help them understand the vocabulary.  The picture that goes with different is a dog and a cat.  I find that pictures really help students develop their comprehension with vocabulary.

Then I ask several students to read their work to the class, because this is the time in the lesson when I want to work on speaking and listening. So, I say, "Criss cross apple sauce pockets on the floor, hands in our laps, talking no more. Remember to think about what your peers are saying and look them in the eye." After the presentations, I ask the students to give their peers feedback. My questions are, "What do you agree with or disagree with and why?" If nobody responds them I give my feedback to serve as a model.


10 minutes

The last section is when I try to use some form of formative assessment to see what they know. I ask the students to tell their partner one reason an author may choose to change an adventure in a story. They may say to make it more modern, or to keep the theme the same. Whatever they say, I share what I wanted them to learn and I repeat some of their conversations.

Last I say, "I can recognize the author's choice of keeping things similar or different in two versions of a story." They repeat it and I say, "We will continue to compare and contrast text and analyze the author's craft.  This is important so that they understand what they are supposed to be learning.  Repeating it orally makes them engage because they have to talk, they take it personal when they tell their friend, and this all improves comprehension.