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Close Reading Lesson: Faithful Elephants by Yukio Tsuchiya

Close reading is when a reader analyzes the details of a text to make interpretations and develop a deep understanding of the passage. Often the reader uses a short text and rereads the passage several times focusing on a different literary element with each read... Continue Reading

August 31, 2017 | CL Teaching Strategies Notice & Note, CL Teaching Strategies Charts & Org

Explore Emerging Themes with Pax by Sara Pennypacker, Grades 3–6

I love to share books that get even the most reluctant reader to start reading. Outside of sharing my recommendations with colleagues, I've also dedicated numerous blog articles to books that will inspire young readers.

Last November, I wrote about Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein. This fun and clever mystery is great for building reading stamina. I found that students will just keep reading because they want to see what happens in the end. I have a printable outline available that lists the most important parts of the entire book. Check it out.

In April, I highlighted the popular series I Survived by Lauren Tarshis. These books allows readers to experience the thrill and danger of various historical events through the eyes of a child that survived that specific moment in history. This series is a HUGE hit with my fourth grade boys. I also pair these books with an Analyze the Setting Activity. To learn more, click here.

INSPIRING READERS WITH PAX BY SARA PENNYPACKER

This month’s book recommendation is Pax, by Sara Pennypacker. I really enjoy Pennypacker's books and I think her Clementine series is hilarious (good reads for third and fourth grade girls).

Pax has received several honors, including:

  • National Book Award Longlist 
  • New York TimesBestseller 
  • An Amazon Best Book of the Year

This month’s book recommendation is Pax, by Sara Pennypacker. Although all of my students enjoy this book, I've found its most popular with fifth and sixth grade boys. While reading this book, I spent a lot of time discussing emerging themes with students. After reading, I wanted them to reflect on what they thought was the overarching theme in the book.

Here's an overview of Pax by Sara Pennypacker.

From bestselling and award-winning author Sara Pennypacker comes a beautifully wrought, utterly compelling novel about the powerful relationship between a boy and his fox. Pax is destined to become a classic, beloved for generations to come. Pax and Peter have been inseparable ever since Peter rescued him as a kit. But one day, the unimaginable happens: Peter's dad enlists in the military and makes him return the fox to the wild.

At his grandfather's house, three hundred miles away from home, Peter knows he isn't where he should be—with Pax. He strikes out on his own despite the encroaching war, spurred by love, loyalty, and grief, to be reunited with his fox.

Meanwhile Pax, steadfastly waiting for his boy, embarks on adventures and discoveries of his own… 

STUDENTS THAT LOVE READING PAX BY SARA PENNYPACKER

Although all of my students enjoy this book, I've found its most popular with fifth and sixth grade boys.

There are many reasons why boys in these grade levels connect with Pax. First, and most important, is the fact that the main character is a boy about their age.

Second is the love between the boy and his pet (the fox) is very relatable.

The third is Pennypacker's interesting writing style. She alternates the focus of each chapter between the boy and the fox, which helps keep the reader interested.

The fourth is her use of details and descriptions. My students said they really felt as though they were on this journey with the boy and the fox.

Finally, the book elicits good conversation. Sometimes book discussions between kids can be difficult to listen to and engage in, but Pennypacker weaves so many themes into the book there are plenty of topics for kids to talk about.

EXPLORING THEMES WITH PAX BY SARA PENNYPACKER

While reading this book, I spent a lot of time discussing emerging themes with students. After reading, I wanted them to reflect on what they thought was the overarching theme in the book.

To help students reflect and discuss the various themes in Pax, I created the Pax Theme Think Sheet. With this activity students will discuss each theme and cite evidence from that text.

Download the free Pax Theme Think Sheet now!

The theme of a book can be one big idea or several big ideas. There are several themes in the book Pax, by Sara Pennypacker. With the Pax Theme Think Sheet students will discuss each theme using evidence from the text.

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