Graphic Organizers after a Read-Aloud for Upper Elementary Students

Wondering how to incorporate graphic organizers into your read aloud? Me too! Using an incredible book and student-friendly graphic organizers from the fabulous Laura Candler, here's how! 

Click here or on any of the pictures to find out more. 

I began by reading aloud a story called A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park, which begins as two stories, told in alternating sections, about two eleven-year-olds in Sudan, a girl in 2008 and a boy in 1985. The girl, Nya, is fetching water from a pond that is two hours’ walk from her home: she makes two trips to the pond every day. The boy, Salva, becomes one of the "lost boys" of Sudan, refugees who cover the African continent on foot as they search for their families and for a safe place to stay. Their lives cross in a touching way. 

It's short and suspenseful. My fifth grade students were fascinated by Salva's story and begged for more information about the famous "lost boys" of Sudan. (If you don't know anything about these boys, then you've got to find out more!)   
After we read aloud, I used two graphic organizers from Laura Candler's Graphic Organizers for Reading: Teaching Tools Aligned with the Common Core. 
I was impressed with the Literary Response Scroll! It includes simple yet high level thinking for students in an easy-to-use form. My students were excited to be able to share their personal responses about the characters in the story, and I was easily able to gage whether or not they grasped the literary elements and theme of the novel - a plus for any busy teacher! 

I was more thrilled with the Poetic Reflections graphic organizer.  I found a poem written by a local university student summarizing A Long Walk to Water , which allowed me to use both graphic organizers in one sitting. What my students and I really like about this graphic organizer is that it also has a personal reaction to the poem. Fifth graders LOVE to share their opinions, and we were able to respond to the text by citing the poem which is a critical part to Common Core.

The Poetic Reflections graphic organizer was short and sweet, yet effective. Perfect for a quick informal assessment partway through a text, or at the end as I used below. 
Once again, the talented Laura Candler delivers easy-to-use print-and-go materials for teachers grades 2-6. I can't wait to use more of these in my classroom! 

Happy Teaching!



  1. I'll be starting A Long Walk to Water with my kids in about two weeks. I was planning to read an article on the Lost Boys with them, but as they'll have just finished their poetry unit, I love the idea of a poem that summarizes the narrative. Any idea when I could find a copy of the poem you used? So far, google isn't turning up anything for me.

  2. I just finished this unit with my 7th graders. We use expeditionary learning. I wish I had these organizers! Ya got anything for Frederick Douglass?

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