A Long Walk to Water Activities

A Long Walk to Water Book ActivitiesA 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.

A Long Walk to Water Book Summary

Nya’s Story

Nya spends her days carrying water from the pond to her home in two grueling trips each day during the wet season. During the dry season, her family moves to the lake area where Nya spends her days collecting water from the muddy lake bed…

Salva’s Story

The War

Salva is sitting in school when the war comes close. The teacher sends Salva and the other boys into the bush. Salva catches up with a group of people running from the war. The group comes to a rebel camp. Because of his age, Salva is told to go with the women and children. The men stay, and the women leave. They find a barn to sleep in for the night. In the morning, Salva discovers that he has been left behind. He spends several days sleeping in the barn and helping the elderly woman who owns it. She tells him she is leaving because the water is drying up, and he can’t come with her. The woman arranges for Salva to join a group of Dinkas.

The Dinkas

The Dinkas are traveling by foot. On this walk, Salva makes friends with a boy named Marial. He tells Salva they are going to Ethiopia to the refugee camp. Salva finds his Uncle Jewiir who becomes the leader of the group. Marial is carried away one night by lions. The group reaches the Nile River. They build reed boats and cross. They then spend three days crossing the Akobo Desert. Salva has a difficult time making the crossing. A group of rebels from the Nuer tribe raid the group and kill Uncle Jewiir.

The Refugee Camp

Salva reaches the Itag refugee camp. Salva stays there until he is almost 17 years old. One day a group of soldiers come in and force all the refugees out of the camp at gunpoint. They are herded to the Gilo River. Over a thousand die at the river by crocodiles, the swift-flowing current, and gunfire…

A Long Walk to Water Activities

Book Unit Samples

You will find the following in this novel study sample:

  • Vocabulary Practice for Chapters 1-2
  • Comprehension Questions for Chapters 1-2
  • Constructed Response Question – Character Traits

 

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Teaching Idea #1 – Water Facts

Have students complete a small research project to learn about water. Here are some good places to start:

ESP Water Products “Water Facts”

NGWA The Groundwater Association

Word Cloud with Water Facts

Have each student take one or two interesting facts about water and turn them into a word cloud. 

Sites for Creating Word Clouds

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 – Repetitive Poetry

A Long Walk to Water is the perfect novel for this activity. Repetitive poetry is a simple, yet great teaching strategy to practice the main idea and summarizing text. First, students write between 4 to 8 simple sentences that summarize a passage. For chapters 1-2, students might write something like this:

Salva daydreams while his teacher drones on.

A cracking sound alerts the class.

“Run to the bush, not home,” the teacher warns.

Salva walks and walks meeting up with friends.

Soon, rebels gather all the men.

Next, the students think of a sentence or a phrase that would express the main idea of the text. This sentence is repeated between the lines.

Salva daydreams while his teacher drones on.

Problem comes.

A cracking sound alerts the class.

Problem comes.

“Run to the bush, not home,” the teacher warns.

Problem comes.

Salva walks and walks meeting up with friends.

Problem comes.

Soon, rebels gather all the men.

Problem comes.

Poems can be read interactively. The author reads the summarizing statements, and the class repeats the repetitive sentence in between each line. Even your most reluctant poetry writers are surprised at how good these poems sound.

Teaching Idea #3 – 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 makes 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.

Salva’s Story

Linda Sue Park interviews Salva Dut

Teaching Idea #4 – Activities on the Web

Storyboard That

Teaching Idea #5 – Boom Learning

If you are not familiar with Boom Learning, you are in for a real treat. These interactive task cards are fun for students. Teachers love the self-grading exercises. Supervisors love the data that is collected. Using Boom Learning is a win-win for everyone.

Check out what a Boom Learning deck looks like by clicking on the video play button on the video beside the novel stud sample.

Do you want to learn more? See A Long Walk to Water Boom Learning decks here.

 

A Long Walk to Water
A Long Walk to Water
A Long Walk to Water
A Long Walk to Water

 

See the product that inspired this post.

Purchase A Long Walk to Water Teachers Pay Teachers

A Long Walk to Water Novel Study includes vocabulary practice, comprehension questions, constructed response writing, and skill practice. 

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