Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William SteigSchema: collecting rocks, wishing for things

Text-to-Self Connections: being afraid, missing home

What a great book to reinforce the text to self connections.  First, ask the students if they recognize the donkey from a movie that they’ve seen.  They will recognize the donkey from Shrek.  Show the Shrek book.

When reading the book aloud, stop often and ask them about their connections.  Many students collect rocks and will make the connection with Sylvester.

The seasons are also highlighted throughout the story.

This book is also a book filled with rich vocabulary to share with students.  The author uses words that second graders may not know such as ceased and defines it in context.

Organizational Strategies:  The plot of the story starts out happy, then gets sad, then ends happy.  I usually tell the students this before I read it as an introduction to story elements.

Mental Images: When you get to the part where Sylvester thinks about the chance being one in a billion that someone will come along and wish that the rock were a donkey there is a great opportunity to use some mathematical terms to visualize the chance.

To help make a mental image of the chance, I tell them it would be like choosing one certain star in the sky out of all the millions there are to choose from since that page in the book is illustrated with many stars.

Text-to-Text Connection: Big Numbers: and Pictures that Show Just How Big They Are! by Edward Packard

This is a great story of parental love.  After reading, I ask each child to share what they would wish for if they found a magic pebble.

This is also an opportunity to remind children to turn and look at each other as each one speaks and to listen to what each other has to say.

Point of View: Most of the story is told from Sylvester’s POV.

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