Tag Archives: Synthesis

Home by Adam Leitman Bailey

Schema: Think about what is a home. List some places that are homes to people, animals, and things.

Text-to-Self Connections: Visiting different homes such as relatives, friends, and neighbors

Theme: The author is sharing the message that home is where a person feels happy and loved as opposed to a particular place.

In this full color picture book, the main character, a small boy, feels discontented with his home and sets out to explore the world and the way others live.  He visits many places and tells what he does there. He doesn’t make any judgements about each place. Readers may see their own home in the book. Homes include a farm in a rural area, mobile homes, large homes with swimming pools, a bird’s nest, and an igloo.

Synthesis: Ask students what the author is telling them with this story. I think they will be able to synthesize the boy’s experience into their own schema and apply it to where they live and why it’s the best home for them.

Drawing Conclusions: The boy drew the conclusion that his best home is where he is loved. Each place he visited, he was alone. What was missing? His family was missing.

I recommend this as a read aloud for grades 2-5 for a discussion about homes.


Buddy and the Bunnies in Don’t Play with Your Food! by Bob Shea

Schema: eating

Text-to-Self: monsters, funny stories, playing with food

Summary: List the tactics that the bunnies used in order not to be eaten.

Synthesis: Talk about what you eat and how you could play with it. Would playing with it make you not want to eat it? How did the bunnies surprise the monster with this idea at the end of the story?

Bob Shea’s books are always funny for both the child and the adult. This one in particular was such a funny surprise to me at the end. One of the traits of a good read aloud is that the one reading it aloud never gets tired of it, and this one meets that criteria. It’s smart and thought-provoking.

Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson

Schema: being cruel and unkind

Text-to-Self: Feeling mistreated by other kids, not being accepted

Bullies: Chloe decides to be cruel and bully another student.

Mental Images: Imagine the ripple of the water and think how this is like an action of kindness or cruelty.

Metaphor: The ripple and the act are alike in one way; they both spread far from you.

Synthesis: What small things have you done to make the world, your home, your school, your family better?

Can you think of ways Chloe could make amends for the way she treated Maya if she never sees her again?

Goldie Socks and the Three Libearians by Jackie Mims Hopkins and Goldilocks and Just One Bear by Leigh Hodgkinson

Schema: original Goldilocks and the Three Bears story

Text-to-Text Connections: Both stories have a similar plot

Compare and Contrast: What are the differences about and similarities of the Goldilocks characters?
What are the differences and similarities with the houses?

Synthesis: Can you think of another place Goldilocks could visit that would teach readers about manners or books?

Goldie Socks is a great book for librarians to use with library orientation in elementary school.  I love the part where the books were returned to the shelf upside down and backwards.  If anything could help students learn to put the books back where they go, oh the joy!


Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad by David Soman & Tony Baloney by Pam Munoz Ryan

Schema: bossy friends or siblings

Text-to-Text Connections: In both books the main character has to deal with being bossy and the consequences

Compare and Contrast: Compare the bossy action in each story. In Ladybug girl, Lulu apologizes and KiKi accepts. In Tony Baloney, when given the opportunity to be in charge, Tony begins to boss his younger siblings as he was treated.

Synthesis: I wonder if the readers of these two stories would follow KiKi’s model or Tony’s model after being bossed. Do you think kids that are bossy, have been bossed around by big sisters or brothers? What could you say to your friends who act bossy toward you?

Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems

Schema: Goldilocks stories

Text-to-Text: Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Drawing Conclusions: Find text evidence to support the conclusion that the dinosaurs were setting a trap for Goldilocks.

Synthesis: Can you think of any other morals for the story?

Compare and Contrast: the original story with this one.

Characterization: Find the text where Goldilock’s character is described.

Point of View: The dinosaurs point of view is not the innocent one of the bears, but one of calculating prey looking forward to setting a trap for delicious, chocolate-filled Goldilocks.

House Held Up By Trees by Ted Kooser

Schema: tree houses, seed dispersion, yard work

In a way, this book is a very sad book for adults. A single father grows old, his children grow up and move far away. He finally moves to be near them in hopes of seeing them occasionally. No one buys the house. It begins to deteriorate, is vandalized, and abandoned.

Conflict: Man Vs. Environment: When the house is left alone, nature takes over.

Text-to-Self Connection: playing outside around neighborhood

Text-to-Text Connection: The Good Brown Earth by Kathy Henderson

Cause and Effect: Because the man worked to keep his lawn and house in good repair, the effect is that the lawn and house stayed weed and tree free and in good shape

Because the man moved away and the house was left with nature, the effect is that nature took over the house.

Synthesis: When left alone, a piece of land is changed by nature. The wind and seeds do what nature does as time passes. The earth renews itself.

Guji Guji by Chih-Yuan Chen

Schema: eggs

Text-to-Text: Ugly Duckling

Drawing Conclusions: Guji Guji draws the conclusion that he would rather live with those who love him than the crocodiles who want to eat the ducks.


Compare and Contrast: The Ugly Duckling

Synthesis: Rewrite the ending of the Ugly Duckling as if the swans wanted to harm the ducks that raised her.


Dog in Boots by Greg Gormley

Schema: dogs, boots

Text-to-Text Connections: Puss in Boots

Predicting: After reading about the dog getting an idea–he will look for some boots

After each set of boots–predict what kind of boot or shoe the shopkeeper will tell him to try next

Before turning the last page, predict what the shopkeeper will say are the perfect solution for his shoe problems

Synthesis: Create a story together about a dog who tries to dress like Red Riding Hood. What types of problems could he face with the hood and cape? He might try several different types of clothing before he discovers that his fur is the best thing for him to wear.


School for Bandits: No Niceness Allowed by Hannah Shaw



Schema: School rules; parents worrying

Text-to-Self: new teachers, new school, new grade

Compare and Contrast: Good manners and bad manners

Synthesis: It is better to be good.

This book is such a wonderful read to begin the school year.  Ralph Raccoon’s parents are not happy with his good manners.  He is sent to school to learn how to be bad.  All of the Bandit school rules are the opposite of what teachers usually expect.  Ralph can not be bad, but by being kind and helpful, he gathers all the goods in his school scavenger hunt and sets a great example for his classmates.