ECHO Book Activities

Echo Teaching Activities

Echo, written by Pam Muñoz Ryan, is a breathtaking novel that transports readers through time and across continents. The book weaves together the stories of three young musicians who all share a common bond: a mysterious harmonica. 

Set during the tumultuous years of the Great Depression and World War II, Echo takes readers on a magical journey. The story explores the power of music, family, and the human spirit. 

Ryan masterfully blends historical fiction with elements of fantasy and folklore. The story is both timeless and deeply moving. With its richly drawn characters, intricate plot, and themes that resonate with readers of all ages, Echo is a must-read for anyone. Sit back and get ready to be transported to a world filled with wonder and magic.

ECHO Activities

Book Unit Samples

Echo Novel Study Samples
  • Vocabulary Practice for the Prologue
  • Comprehension Questions for the Prologue 
  • Constructed Response Question – The Chants
  • Constructed Response Question – Setting

Teaching Idea #1  – Compare and Contrast

Compare and Contrast Organizers

Because ECHO is four-books-in-one, it is perfect to teach students compare and contrast skills. This free set of organizers does not include specific questions or titles, so they may be used in many ways.

Students can compare and contrast different characters, settings, or plots within the book ECHO. They can also compare and contrast different books written by Pam Muñoz Ryan. For example, Esperanza Rising and Part 3 of ECHO both center around migrant workers. Students can even use some of the organizers to compare fictional stories to their nonfictional counterparts.  

Teaching Idea #2  – Interview Pam Muñoz Ryan

Teaching Idea #3  – Musical Exploration

ECHO Book Activities

Music is an important theme in Echo.

Have students research the different musical pieces mentioned in the novel.

  • Brahms’ Lullaby
  • Beethoven’s “Für Elise”
  • “All the Little Birds Are Back”
  • “Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony”
  • “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring,” the final chorale in Bach’s Cantata no. 147
  • “America the Beautiful”
  • “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”
  • “Happy Days are Here Again”
  • “Goodnight, Ladies”
  • “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow”
  • “Oh! Susanna”
  • “My Old Kentucky Home”


  • “Auld Lang Syne”
  • “Silent Night”
  • “Those Caissons Go Rolling Along”
  • “My Country, ’Tis of Thee”
  • “Old MacDonald had a Farm”
  • “Rhapsody in Blue”
  • “When Johnny Comes Marching Home”
  • “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”
  • “Angels We Have Heard on High”
  • “Some Enchanted Evening”
  • “Summertime”
  • “My Girl Back Home”
  • “Younger Than Springtime”
  • “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught”
  • “This Nearly Was Mine”

Teaching Idea #4  – Symbols

ECHO Book Activities

Echo contains several important symbols including a harmonica. Have students create a piece of artwork that represents one of these symbols. They can use different mediums, such as paint, charcoal, or collage. Set aside time for students to present their artwork to the class.

Here are a few symbols that have significant meaning throughout the story. 

The Harmonica 

The harmonica is a central symbol in the novel. It represents the power of music to heal and connect people. The harmonica is passed down from person to person, linking the stories of Friedrich, Mike, Ivy, and Otto. It is a reminder that even in times of great hardship, music can bring joy, hope, and a sense of community.

The Forest

The forest is a symbol of the unknown. It is where Friedrich first discovers the harmonica. The forest is also where Ivy meets the mysterious woman who gives her the red scarf. Forests are places where anything is possible.

See the product that inspired this post.

ECHO by Pam Munoz Ryan Digital + Printable Novel Study

ECHO by Pam Munoz Ryan Digital + Printable Novel Study includes vocabulary practice, comprehension questions, constructed response writing, and skill practice. 

Gay Miller

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