Saturday, May 4, 2013

Historical Fiction Book Club Unit: Part 1

Currently, we are in our Historical Fiction Book Club Unit and students are applying the skills/strategies they learned in our Social Issues Book Club Unit to this unit.  To launch the unit, we have been reading and discussing various historical fiction picture books, such as: Henry's Freedom Box by Ellen Levine and Kadir Nelson, Freedom Summer by Deborah Wiles, Freedom on the Menu:The Greensboro Sit-Ins by Carole Boston Weatherford, The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson, and The Butterfly by Patricia Polacco. While reading these picture books, we have been thinking and talking about the time periods, historical conflicts, and how the characters' actions/choices are impacted by the groups they belong to as well as the time period.  As we read these picture books, we created charts as a class like we normally do during every read aloud (see photos of charts below).  

Students have been applying the skills/strategies they are learning through mini-lessons and read aloud to their historical fiction book club books that their group chose to read.  Each book club chose at least three books that either focus on one time period so they can become an "expert" on that time period or are reading books across different time periods and are reading them in sequence.  Most book clubs this year chose the latter and have planned out how to read their books in order according to the time periods.  Some of the books my book clubs are reading are: Behind the Bedroom Wall by Laura E. Williams, Stones in Water by Donna Jo Napoli , Countdown by Deborah Wiles, Number the Stars by Lois Lowry, Lily's Crossing by Patricia Reilly Giff, Elephant Run by Roland Smith, and many more.  

Below are photos of some of the charts we created as a class so far during this historical fiction unit: 
Historical Fiction Unit Chart with some Teaching Points 

 Read Aloud Chart for Freedom on the Menu
 Read Aloud Chart for Freedom Summer 

Read Aloud Chart for The Other Side 
Chart that shows our thinking across Historical Fiction Read Alouds 

Stay tuned to hear more about our unit and see more photos of student work too! Please share any ideas you have for historical fiction units too - I always love to hear about new titles, charts, and strategies to use during this unit! :)


  1. I always meant to have a reading circle/book club read both HABIBI and ONE MORE RIVER.

  2. Hi! I am a fifth grade teacher and for the first time I am reading novels with my students about historical fiction. Next week we will start In and Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai. These ideas will be very helpful to have my students analyze the text as we read through it. Thanks!

  3. Getting ready to start a historical fiction book club--super helpful!!

  4. So great! Cant wait to use the anchor chart with my class!

  5. These charts are amazing. Do you have them on teacherspayteachers? This is a wonderful resource.