Are you looking for a fun and interesting story to read with your students?
Lynda Mullaly Hunt tells a fantastic story in her book Fish in a Tree. Told in the first-person point of view, the book follows Ally through her sixth-grade year as she overcomes many obstacles.
The story begins with Ally buying a card for her teacher Mrs. Hall. Ally thinks Mrs. Hall will love the card with its bright yellow flowers and doesn’t realize she has purchased a sympathy card for an expectant mother. The reader learns this is because Ally can’t read.
After Mrs. Hall leaves, the class gets a new teacher, Mr. Daniel. He is so different from all of the teachers Ally has had in the past. Ally is successful with some of Mr. Daniel’s teaching approaches.
Ally makes friends with two students in the class who are also outsiders. Albert is a really smart guy, and Keisha is the outspoken student who has dreams of becoming a baker. All three are picked on by Shay, the most popular student in the class.
Mr. Daniels suspects Ally has dyslexia. He convinces her to take a series of tests that prove his suspicions are correct. Mr. Daniels begins tutoring Ally after school. He uses a lot of different methods that really help Ally.
This heartwarming story is sure to make you both laugh and cry.
Fish in a Tree Activities
Book Unit Samples
This sample contains…
- Vocabulary Practice for Chapters 1-4
- Comprehension Questions for Chapters 1-4
- Constructed Response Questions for Figurative Language and Point of View
Teaching Idea #1 ~ Coded Messages
In Chapter 47, Mr. Daniels places a jumble of letters on the board and asks the students to read it. He tells the students they will receive extra credit for deciphering the coded message. Check out these four coded messages, each using a different type of code.
Teaching Idea #2 ~ The Island of Misfit Toys
Watch an excerpt from The Island of Misfit Toys. Students can visualize the characters mentioned in Chapter 17.
- the train with square wheels
- The Cowboy who rides an ostrich
- several others
Teaching Idea #3 ~ Children’s Books with Characters who have Special Needs
In this printable, students compare two or more characters that have special needs. This list offers suggestions; however, several of the printables are open-ended. Simply add characters from stories your students have read.
- Wonder by R.J. Palacio
- Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper
- Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick
- Al Capone Does my Shirts by Gennifer Chodenko
- The Cay by Theodore Taylor
- Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr
- Thank you, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco
- El Deafo by Cece Bell
- Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin
- Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
- The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker
Teaching Idea #4 ~ Art Project and Discussion
Art Project: Have students create a visual representation of the “Fish in a Tree” concept, exploring the idea of hidden potential and the importance of embracing differences.
Classroom Environment: Have students discuss ways to create a more inclusive and supportive classroom environment and come up with a plan to put their ideas into action.
Discussion: Have students form book clubs to discuss the novel and reflect on its themes and messages, encouraging open and honest conversations about bullying, empathy, and learning differences.
Understanding Learning Differences: Have students research and discuss various learning disabilities mentioned in the book and the impact they can have on a person’s life.
Empathy and Compassion: Have students reflect on their own experiences with bullying and discuss the importance of empathy and compassion towards others who may be different.
Teaching Idea #5 ~ YouTube Videos
These two YouTube videos will help build interest. Show one or both as a hook activity to get students excited about reading the book.
See the product that inspired this post.
Fish in a Tree Novel Study includes vocabulary practice, comprehension questions, constructed response writing, and skill practice.