Please note that each book is a full 32 pages of rich "Patricia Style" text. With that said, there are many possibilities when using books like this in your classroom.
- Read the book aloud in its entirety for the joy of hearing the whole book. Return to it as text to study at a later time.
- Read it a few pages at a time over the course of a several days.
- Read it in three sections (beginning, middle, end) to highlight the structure of the story.
- Listen to the book on a podcast, or watch a video of it being read by the author.
*Universal Theme vs. Theme vs. Author's Message
Because there is always a big debate about these literary terms, I thought I'd do some research and share my learning. Honestly, I am still teasing out my understanding of these terms, but continually growing nonetheless. The main walk away I have is that if kids can gain infer the author's message, and then infer the big, and eventually use text-to-text understandings... they can group and make meaning of like books to enrich their understanding about life and literature.
Universal Theme: an inferred point made about the topic- not just the topic of the work. A statement about life. The "big idea" that spans cultures and time. Courage, Friendship, Honesty, Revenge, Trust, Family, Good v. Evil, Dreams, Hope, Circle of Life
Theme and/or Author's Message: A (often inferred) message or lesson that an author wants you to know or take away from the story.
Ex. Author's Message: Face your fears and you can defeat them.
Author's Message: Don't wish for what others possess. Be happy with what you have.
Author's Message: Work hard for what you want in life and you can achieve any goal
Note: Students struggling with identifying universal themes may need more support in identifying the author’s message or theme of a story first. The third and fourth grade "Theme Lesson" sequences are a good resource for teaching the author’s message or theme. Resource: www.readworks.org
This lesson's description, specifically, is helpful for distinguishing theme/message from universal theme. http://www.readworks.org/lessons/grade4/theme