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Engaging With Literature: A Video Library, Grades 3-5
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Engaging With Literature
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Video Titles:

1. Signposts

2. Voices in the Conversation

3. Starting Out

4. Responding
to Literature


5. Sharing the Text

6. Building Community
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7. Book Buddies

8. Finding
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9. Discussion
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6. Building Community

Featured Texts

Ms. Rowley believes it is important for her students to have choices about what they read. As a result, typically her students work in literature circles, with each of five groups reading and discussing a separate text. Because the Center for Inquiry has a literature-based curriculum, Ms. Rowley often groups literature selections to complement work the students are doing in other subject areas. The texts highlighted in this video are all biography or historical fiction.

I Have a Dream: The Story of Martin Luther King, Jr. by Margaret Davidson

The story of the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., this popular biography written for young readers introduces students to his philosophies and achievements in the fight for civil rights while outlining key moments in his life.

Walking the Road to Freedom: A Story About Sojourner Truth by Jeri Ferris

Owned first by a Dutch-speaking farmer in New York State, Sojourner Truth was sold to John Neely when she was nine years old. In her new home she had to learn English along with many new ways of doing things. There she came to understand the importance of her religious faith to guide her actions. When she was sold again at age 13, her new master married her to Thomas, a slave much older than herself with whom she had five children. In spite of promises from her master, her only son and youngest child, Peter, was sold away when he was five. Determined to free him and herself, she enlisted the help of a Quaker family, the Van Wageners. Unable to persuade her daughters to join her (although they, too, were finally free), she traveled to New York City to be with Peter. When she left, she felt like a brand new person and adopted her new name-Sojourner Truth-saying, "The Lord is my master and his name is Truth." In 1843 she left the city and became an itinerate orator at camp meetings where she sang and told her stories. Eventually she become an important and compelling voice for women's suffrage, although she had never learned to read or write.

Which Way Freedom by Joyce Hansen

This novel is based on the facts of the massacre at Fort Pillow, Tennessee on April 12, 1864. Obi, a slave of John and Martha Jennings was taken from his mother as a child. When an opportunity presented itself, he escaped with the help of Burka, an old African who lived by the creek and who knew the way to the island where Obi's mother last lived. Unable to locate her, Obi found himself caught up in the Civil War and becomes one of the 200,000 blacks who fought for their freedom.

A Family Apart by Joan Lowery Nixon

Based on the true history of the Orphan Trains that ran between 1854 and 1929 and transported 100,000 children to the west for resettlement and adoption, this book follows Frances May Kelly as she and her five brothers and sisters are sent west to new homes. Recently widowed, their Irish immigrant mother tried to support her children by working nights cleaning in an office building. When her older son Mike is arrested for stealing, the mother realizes she can no longer keep her children safe and decides to send them away. Frances cuts her hair and dresses as a boy in order to protect her younger siblings and enhance her chances of adoption. She anguishes as her brothers and sisters are sent to different homes but settles in under the care of Jake and Margaret Cummings. Accidentally she discovers two runaway slaves hiding in the barn and realizes that her new home is a link on the Underground Railroad. Eventually it is up to her to enable their escape to the next way station.

Riding Freedom by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Set in mid-19th century New Hampshire, this story is based on the history of Charlotte Darkey Parkhurst, also known as "One-Eyed Charley," "Cockeyed Charley," and "Six Horse Charley." Orphaned at two, Charlotte has lived at the orphanage for 10 years without being adopted. Made to do all the kitchen work because she is a girl, Charlotte's only solace is the time she spends at the stables helping to care for the horses. Caught riding the stallion Freedom, Charlotte is banished from the stables forever. When her only friend Hayward is adopted, and Freedom dies unexpectedly of a fever, there is nothing to keep her at the orphanage any longer. She disguises herself as a boy, renames herself Charley, and escapes. After much traveling and nearly being recaptured, she finds a job as a stable boy for Ebenezer at the What Cheer Stables in Providence. When he decides to close the stables, Charley travels to California to fulfill her dream of owning her own stables. Only after her death was it discovered that "Charley" was really a woman. Her name is listed in the official poll list of the Santa Cruz Sentinel on October 17, 1868. Evidently she was the first woman to vote in the United States-52 years before any woman would be legally allowed to vote in a federal election.

You can access additional resources related to this video clip's texts in the Additional Resources section.






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