Gary Paulsen’s novel Woods Runner is fantastic. Help your students summarize the novel with these six free mini-books. Teach this important skill in a fun way/
Woods Runner Summarizing Activity
Book 1 ~ Exposition
Samuel Smith is a 13 year old boy who lives in western Pennsylvania in 1776. He hunts for the people in his small settlement in exchange for his neighbors helping his parents who are newcomers to the frontier.
Samuel is out on a hunt when he seessmoke in the direction of his settlement. He races back home to find several of the settlers have been savagely killed and the others have been carried away as captives.
Book 2 ~ Rising Action
Samuel uses the tracking skills he learned when hunting to figure out what took place at the settlement. He learns the attackers were British soldiers and Iroquois Indians.
Samuel catches up to them only to be clubbed with a tomahawk by one of the Iroquois.
A group of Patriots nurse Samuel back to health. Samuel continues his hunt.
Book 3 ~ Rising Action
Samuel begins tracking his parents. He catches up to them only to be clubbed with a tomahawk by one of the Iroquois. A group of Patriots nurse Samuel back to health. Samuel continues his hunt. Later, Samuel sees a group of Hessians heading for the farm he just left. He turns back to help, but is too late. He witnesses the murder of the man and his wife, and sees their 8 year old daughter Annie Clark race into the woods to safety. Samuel finds Annie. She joins him on his trip to find his parents.
Book 4 ~Rising Action
Samuel and Annie head to New York City to rescue Samuel’s parents.
On the way they come across a Scottish tinker named Abner McDougal. Abner takes Annie and Samuel to New York City where they believe Samuel’s parents have been imprisoned.
Later Samuel and Annie discover he is spying on the British.
Book 5 ~ Climax
Abner and Samuel find Matthew who is a friend of Abner’s. He carries them from New Jersey across the Hudson River into New York. Abner plans a simple escape plan. The escape goes mostly the way Abner has planned.
Book 6 ~ Falling Action and Resolution
After a successful rescue, Abner takes the group partway to Philadelphia where Americans still have control over the city. The family walks for days until they accidentally walk up on a group of British soldiers. A group of American soldiers come to battle just in the nick of time to save everyone. The American soldiers take Samuel’s family the rest of the way to Philadelphia in exchange for news about what is taking place in New York City.
Samuel’s parents adopt Annie. They open a school for orphans in Philadelphia. Samuel becomes restless living in the city. When he turns 16, he takes off toward the war, not to fight, but to help people in a payback mission for the help he received while looking for his parents.
Do you need additional teaching resources? Check out Woods Runner Book Unit on Teachers pay Teachers.