This book, Follow the Money, by Loreen Leedy, lends itself to close reading. The story line is simple and short, the illustrations provide a plethora of information about all things money. Each page is an opportunity to dig deep and demonstrate use of the ELA Reading Literature standards and the ELA Reading Informational Text standards. I am going to primarily focus on Literature and RI standards #1 – asking the students to demonstrate understanding of key details – and Lit and RI standard # 7. The literature story is so simply stated that it relies on illustration to fill in missing information for the reader about what is happening to George. The expository text relies on images – mostly pictures – to teach important money concepts. The book is so rich with illustration that each page is bears study of its own. The whole package is an example of RI 10! This is both a social studies text and a technical text about money.
I start by reading the story aloud to students without allowing them to see any of the pictures. I did this to let them internalize the idea that this is a fictional story - personification of an inanimate object qualifies it as fantasy.
There will be a hue and cry… They will ask to see the pictures ... I will tell them I will show them the pictures, but, first I want to know what they know about the story.
I use the w’s and h to generate text-based discussion:
Most of the questions can’t be answered until students see the illustrations and the thought and speech bubbles.
I will pose the question, why did the library put this book in the informational text (non fiction) section? I don't expect an answer yet. I just say, let's see if we can figure that out as we go along.
Check out Informational fiction-follow money.wmv for more about the text I chose.
So after we’ve established that the author wrote a story with words that didn’t give much detail, and that it was hard to know what was going on, I read it again showing the pictures and reading the speech and thought bubbles. There are also many pages with writing on a picture – such as the Animal Shelter donation bank. The thought bubble says “charity”, the text says “she gave me away.” It is only because of the text on the donation bank and the fact that it was shaped like a dog that we know the money went to an Animal Shelter.
So then we have another go answering the text-based questions from the opening section. This time the answers are clear. The illustrations and images contributed to both the story line and to the information presented on the page. This deals directly with RI2.7.
Boys and girls, I am going to ask the same questions, and a few more. Turn to your neighbor and tell them the answer. Then tell them what on the page gave you the information to answer the question.
I page back through the book under the doc camera, pausing at a few more pages, asking the students to tell me what the author is asking and answering on that page. Even the page numbers are indicated by using the values of the coins pictured in the corner. Four nickels minus a penny is page 19. There are illustrations of giving change, calculating change, adding up money and many pictures of a collection of pocket change to count.
I say: Boys and girls, you are all going to be author illustrators just like Loreen Leedy.
I am going to give you another page in George’s story (Follow the Money worksheet). Please fill out the blanks in the sentence George said on another day. This could be a sequel to Follow the Money like "Toy Story 2" is the sequel to "Toy Story."
Your job will be to put enough information on the page that your reader can tell what you bought, and how much you paid for it. You will also tell the story of what you did to earn George. You will use text and images and illustrations to create evidence of what happened to George!
I provide coin images and or coin stamps to assist the children in creating illustrations.
After twenty minutes of work time, have a share out on the carpet. I usually break my students into small groups (knee circles) so they have an attentive audience and there is sure to be time for them all to share. I eavesdrop and at the end of the share time, I choose one or two exemplar papers that met the objective to put under the doc camera so we can all enjoy.