Where the Red Fern Grows – A Winter Mentor Text

Where the Red Fern Grown Teaching Ideas

When thinking about a winter-related book to use as a mentor text, I immediately thought of Where the Red Fern Grows. In the novel, Billy has to battle the winter weather in life and death situations twice.

In Chapter 10, Little Ann falls into the mostly ice-covered river. Billy must save her as she hangs onto the ice shelf. The second catastrophe occurs in Chapters 17-18 when a blizzard blows in during the big coon hunt. First, Grandpa falls on the ice and injuries his ankle. Soon afterward, Little Ann and Old Dan become lost in whiteout conditions only to be found the next morning nearly frozen solid with thick coats of ice covering their bodies.

Even if you do not have time for your class to read the full novel, you can use this activity as the events from Chapter 10 tell a complete mini-story. Because of this, I have placed a three-page excerpt from the book on my website for those who do not have a set of novels. The excerpt can also be used for students to highlight.

You can find it here:

Activity 1 ~ Foldable Organizers Going over Summarizing Methods

Free Foldable Graphic Organizers going over Summarizing Methods

Students complete two foldable graphic organizers. The first organizer includes four basic steps for summarizing. The second briefly explains two methods for summarizing (Somebody Wanted But So and Who What Where When Why and How). Use these organizers to explain the basics of summarizing before having students tackle the project.

Activity 2 – Graphic Organizer for Summarizing

Summarizing with Where the Red Fern Grows


Students read the excerpt, highlight details, and complete a timeline organizer. Students then use the details from the timeline organizer to write a summary in paragraph form. 

Activity 3 – Craftivity for Summaries

Free Where the Red Fern Grows CraftivityAfter students proofread their summaries, they rewrite them on the printables provided. Covers for the summaries (pictured) are provided. These make a cute bulletin board. 

Resource Links

 Where the Red Fern Grows Book Unit

Gay Miller

Permanent link to this article: https://bookunitsteacher.com/wp/?p=3952


    • Julie on January 1, 2017 at 9:49 am

    What a great lesson for such a challenging skill! I am always looking for different ways to teach summarizing. Thank you!

    • Sandy Cangelosi on January 1, 2017 at 5:55 pm

    One of my favorite books! Thank you for the useful ideas in reading the book.

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