Are you looking for a great novel to study? Students love reading The Cay by Theodore Taylor!
Set during World War II, The Cay tells the story of Phillip, an American from Virginia. While returning home from Curacao, the Germans torpedo Phillip’s ship. Phillip and Timothy find their way to a raft. After floating on the ocean for several days, they land on an island. Timothy says they are in the Devil’s Mouth. Coral reefs surround the island. [This doesn’t sound very promising for a rescue.] Phillip must overcome both mental and physical obstacles to survive.
Read The Cay to learn of Phillip’s and Timothy’s fate.
Activities for Your The Cay Novel Study
The Cay Novel Study Samples
This novel unit sample includes:
- Vocabulary Practice for Chapter 1
- Comprehension Questions for Chapter 1
- Constructed Response Question – Figurative Language
Make your unit memorial with these activities. They are both fun and a great learning experience.
Activity #1 ~ Story Elements PowerPoint
This 97-slide PowerPoint goes over definitions and examples students need to understand to complete the story map. Some topics include:
- character traits
- point of view
- types of conflict
The PowerPoint uses examples from books students in our school have read. The PowerPoint also has familiar characters such as Batman and Ebeneezer Scrooge.
You can adapt the PowerPoint to fit any novel.
Activity #2 ~ Prepositions PowerPoint
I like to begin my grammar unit with students identifying prepositional phrases. When students can isolate prepositional phrases, it is easier to break down the rest of the sentence.
This 23-slide PowerPoint includes six sentences related to The Cay. Students created the artwork. This makes a quick fun activity for students.
Activity #3 ~ Edible Octopus
When you tie food activities in with a novel study, students get excited.
This edible octopus is made from a hot dog with mustard eyes. It sits on a bed of shell pasta. The ‘shells’ are decorated with goldfish crackers.
Turn this activity into a writing lesson.
#1 – Have students write out the instructions for creating the dish.
#2 – Have students write descriptive paragraphs. These paragraphs include many adjectives including vivid imagery.
Activity #4 ~ Weaving
Students enjoyed this tie-in activity.
Timothy showed Phillip how to weave mats. We tried our hand at weaving. A simple loom was created from a disposable plastic plate. Students used yarn to create potholders. This simple project showed students what Phillip must be experiencing.
Activity #5 ~ Audiobook
Do you love to “hear” your books? YouTube offers a number of audiobooks.
Activity #6 ~ Movie
Have students watch the made-for-tv movie. This film starring James Earl Jones was created in 1974. It was filmed in the Cayman Islands. The film aired on NBC. It is approximately one hour in length. The film is a great adaptation of Taylor’s novel.
Watching movies based on books is a great way to encourage students to write compare and contrast essays. This handout contains charts and guiding questions to help students evaluate similarities and differences.
Activity #7 ~ On the Web
The Cay Teacher’s Guide from Penguin Random House — This guide includes several cross-curricular activities.
Storyboard That contains great map activities.
This packet from Story Telling World is fantastic! It contains 33 pages of activities and ideas.
CCP Interactive – This handout includes 6 activities.
Theodore Taylor Talks about his life. In this video. Taylor explains how he got the idea for writing The Cay. This 9-minute film makes a great hook activity for a novel study.
Are you looking for a word list? This page provides a long list of vocabulary words.
See the product that inspired this post.
The Cay Book Unit covers vocabulary, comprehension questions, constructed response writing, and skill practice.