Opening Up a Character on Book Talk Thursday

CeCe Bell's Chuck and Woodchuck gives a heart-warming look into the world of shy children who need a little push to help them make friends. Using with children of all ages will help them as they venture into the world of friendships and beyond.

I'm loving all of the Virginia Readers' Choice books for next year! I have found so many ways to use them all,especially with the older students in our school. Since 5th grade won't get to read and vote next year, I am using the books with them. Reading picture books with older students helps with so many other skills. But that is a post for another time! Today I am highlighting another heart-warming and fun book by CeCe Bell, a Virginia author:  Chuck and Woodchuck. {Affiliate links provided to fund future book purchases.}

Book Summary

Caroline tells the story of how she and Chuck become friends in the first grade. She and Chuck are both shy, but when Chuck brings his friend Woodchuck (a real woodchuck) for show and tell, everything changes. As the days go on throughout the year, Chuck helps Caroline out through this friend Woodchuck. He gives her a hat when it's cold and a cupcake at Halloween when hers drops. Each time, Chuck begins to warm up to Caroline a little more. With the help of Woodchuck, Chuck opens up to a new friendship with Caroline.


Classroom Application

This book definitely appeals to children of all ages. It makes a perfect read-aloud for helping young children understand friendships. But how about older students? Like I said, I have been using these books with my fifth graders since they won't get to enjoy them next year. 

For older students, I pulled a couple of ideas from our state standards (Virginia SOL) to use with our fifth graders:


5.5b ~ Describe character development.
5.5f ~ Identify and ask questions that clarify various points of view.


Before reading the book, we talked about those aspects we would look for to see a character change. I then read the book to them, asking them to think about how the character Chuck changed throughout the book. Setting the purpose for reading helps them pay attention and look for specific details.

While reading the book, we stopped every so often and talked about what was happening in the background pictures and a little about Chuck. The boys right away said, "Ooh, Chuck likes her!" Gotta love 5th graders!

After reading the book, they each filled in this summary template to show how Chuck changed throughout the story.
Summarizing can happen naturally when kids show how a character changes.

Summaries can happen naturally when students talk about how a character changes in a story.

After discussing the book, we thought about how the story would have been different if it had been told from Chuck's point of view. Each student wrote their own version of the story as if Chuck or Woodchuck were telling it.What amazed me most is that when they wrote their different points of view, they all wrote beautiful summaries of the book. They all chose Woodchuck and left out a bunch of details, which made the summary was spot on!
Telling the story from a different point of view helps students with many different skills.

This proved to be a nice diversion from testing strategies for the students. They stayed engaged in the story and still practiced some important comprehension skills needed for everyday reading and writing. 

CeCe Bell's Chuck and Woodchuck gives a heart-warming look into the world of shy children who need a little push to help them make friends. Using with children of all ages will help them as they venture into the world of friendships and beyond.
CeCe Bell's Chuck and Woodchuck gives a heart-warming look into the world of shy children who need a little push to help them make friends. Using with children of all ages will help them as they venture into the world of friendships and beyond.




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