Text and Text Talk for raising Lifelong Engaged Readers
Here is my first Read Aloud TATTLER… Click here for the introduction/rationale for the TATTLER, and click here for a brief description of each of the TATTLER components. Hover over the below with your cursor for specific details and instructions for use.
The Circus Ship (by Chris Van Dusen)
Listening Level: PreS – Grade 3
Synopsis: When a circus ship is wrecked in a storm, the animals escape the greedy circus owner and make their way to a small island off the coast of Maine. The townspeople are at first wary of all of the animals, but they soon embrace them after the tiger rescues a toddler from a fire. When the circus owner returns to claim his menagerie, the people help the animals devise a plan to outsmart him so that he leaves alone. This is a fantastic story written by one of my favorite picture book authors.
Standout Text Features:
– High-quality narrative, especially because of its compelling plot with an exciting sequence of events that gets readers caught up in predicting what will happen next*
– Rich vocabulary*
– Written in fabulous bouncy rhyming couplets, which makes for an engaging read aloud
– Fantastic illustrations — adorable, funny, rich detail that require analysis and extend the story
– The double-page spread of the animals hiding from Mr. Paine is clever and fun for readers of all ages!
– Sincere: real and true; not pretend
– Demanding: giving lots of orders; asking with force
– Daft: silly; foolish; crazy; lacking good sense
– Bedraggled: dirty, wet, or messy from having wandered through mud and water
– Staggered: wobbled; limped; walked in an unsteady way
– Menagerie: a collection of animals
– Tuckered: (out): tired; exhausted
– Heaving: (chest): moving up and down with much effort or difficulty
Before Reading Aloud
– The title of this book is The Circus Ship. What do you think this story may be about? (Predicting)
– What do you know about the circus? What kinds of animals are there? Are all of the animals that you see on the cover animals that you’d really see at a circus? (Making Connections, text-to-world)
While Reading Aloud
– (Pg.10, “The shattered ship…”) In the real world, can all of these animals swim? (Making Connections, text-to-world)
– (Pg.11, “The captain said…”) What do you think will happen to all of the animals? Why do you think that? (Predicting)
– (Pg.14, “They pulled themselves…”) Did your prediction about what you thought would happen to all of the animals come true? Why/why not? (Evaluate prediction)
– (Pg.27, “Then little Red…”) What do you think will happen next? How do you think they will try to save the animals from having to “sail off with that man”? Do you think the animals will end up leaving the island with the mean zookeeper? (Predicting)
– (Pg.31, “He hiked until…”) If you were one of the people in this town, would you help to hide the animals like they did, or would you give them back to Mr. Paine? Why? (Making connections, text-to-self)
– (Pg.31-32) Let’s see if we can find where all of the animals are hiding! (Just for fun!)
– (Pg.34, “Mr. Paine…”) What do you think Mr. Paine will do next? (Predicting)
After Reading Aloud
– If there were more pages, what do you think would happen next? (Predicting)
– What part of this story could happen in the real world? What parts could not happen in the real world? (Making connections, text-to-world)
1. Do you think that the story would have been better if Mr. Paine had been allowed to take his circus animals back with him? Why or why not?
2. Mr. Payne was a selfish circus owner, only thinking about himself. How would the story be different if the author made him a thoughtful and caring character?
3. Look closely at the last page. Why do you think Mr. Paine left his hat and stick behind?
4. What do you think of this book title, The Circus Ship? Can you think of an even better title for this story? What would it be? Why did you pick that?
Bonus TATTLER Tips
– For a bit of extra fun, read the book along with a bag of circus peanuts or with a box of Cracker Jacks!
– Check out the Ringling Brothers website (http://www.ringling.com/) to learn more about the circus and explore the animals with your child. You can also look up dates for shows in your area!
– This story is based on a historical event. Read aloud the author’s note on the last page. Children might be surprised to learn that there really was a “circus ship” (The Royal Tar) that sank off the coast of Maine. Discuss how a story can be based on a real event yet still a fictional tale (“historical fiction”). Share ideas about the similarities and differences between the actual shipwreck and Chris Van Dusen’s story.
– If your child is interested in learning more, search the internet together to research the actual shipwreck of the Royal Tar!
The next TATTLER text pick will be: Enemy Pie (by Derek Munson).