In some ways, I guess you could say I have spoiled my students with great literature because on the days we don’t read at least one chapter I see their disappointed expressions. I began to think about this “problem” and decided that I could teach skills with short, well-known stories my students knew and loved. This way my focus could be on skill development and not comprehension.
Tom Sawyer Project
One of the first projects I came up with was using the story of Tom Sawyer. We read a very condensed picture book version of the story. Students became newspaper reporters and wrote articles about three of the events in the story: “Murder in the Graveyard,” “Muff Potter Found Innocent at Trial,” and “Children Lost in Cave.” Each student created his/her own newspaper. This project covered so many skills, namely non-opinion writing, text features, and technology. [Each student created a newspaper using Publisher.] My students were so proud of their finished newspapers. We displayed them on a hall bulletin board for other classes and parents to see.
Beauty and the Beast
I began thinking about similar projects we could do that didn’t include reading a novel. One idea I decided to try was teaching story elements with fairy tales. Pictured is the one surviving photo of the project. This activity took place years ago before I started an educational blog or was creating materials for Teachers pay Teachers. I didn’t take near as many pictures then. Here again, my students loved the project.
About this Unit
Since these two projects were so successful, I created additional units based on picture books as well as short stories. I mix these in with my novel studies to “shake things up a bit.” They have been extremely popular with my students. This series of short stories with skill lessons is an expansion of those projects.
This free item is just a “taste” of what the full units are like. The full units are 5 days long with approximately 1200 to 1500 words [about 10 minutes] of reading daily. The full units also contain 3 skill lessons.
This “sample” is not repeated in any unit. Instead, it is a 2 day version [one fairy tale and one skill] of the longer units. I hope your students enjoy the story, skill practice, and activity. Click here to go to Teachers Pay Teachers for this free unit.