A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park is based on a true story. The book tells the stories of Nya who lives in Southern Sudan in 2008 and Salva who lived in Southern Sudan in 1985. Each chapter begins with Nya’s story and jumps to Salva’s story.
Ten-year-old Nya spends her days walking from home to the pond to fetch water.
When the Sudanese Civil War came to 11-year old Salva’s village, he became separated from his family. He eventually became one of the “lost boys” of Sudan. These were refugees who walked miles across Africa from Sudan to Ethiopia and then to Kenya searching for safety.
Teaching Ideas for the Book
Teaching Idea #1 – Water Facts
Have students complete a small research project to learn about water. Here are some good places to start:
Have each student take one or two interesting facts about water and turn them into a word cloud.
Sites for Creating Word Clouds
- Wordle http://www.wordle.net/
- TAGUL https://tagul.com/
- TagCrowd http://tagcrowd.com/
- WordItOut http://worditout.com/
- Make Word Mosaic http://www.imagechef.com/ic/word_mosaic/
- Word Sift http://www.wordsift.com/
- Tagxedo http://www.tagxedo.com/
The example pictured above was created using Tagul. This site has the water drop shape as one of its built-in options. The site also allows users to place quotation marks around words to keep phrases together.
Teaching Idea #2 – Videos
Book Trailer: A Long Walk to Water
This short video [1:29] plays music while you view a collage of images with some overlaid text. The video would make a good introduction to the book.
An Interview with Salva Dut
While this is an excellent video, I would not show it until the end of the book. It contains photos of Salva building wells. This might spoil the surprise ending of the book for your students who are super observant.
A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park
Linda Sue Park interviews Salva Dut Oct. 2014
More Teaching Ideas
Free Samples from A Long Walk to Water Unit
If you would like to try out the A Long Walk to Water Book Unit before you buy it, this download contains the following free samples:
- Vocabulary Practice for Chapters 1-2
- Comprehension Questions for Chapters 1-2
- Constructed Response Question – Character Traits
- Photos to Show What the Rest of the Unit Looks Like
A Long Walk to Water Book Unit
A Long Walk to Water Book Unit contains graphic organizers for an interactive notebook and game activities covering vocabulary, comprehension questions, constructed response writing, and skill practice.