Lesson 5: The Raft

Day 3

Reading and Questions
Materials: The Raft by Jim LaMarche
Finish reading the story today and then ask your child the following questions.
  1. What does the boy see when he poles up river and put on the mask to look under water?
    A family of otters
  2. What is the boy's favorite story that his grandma tells him about growing up on the river?
    the time she found a black pearl in a river clam
  3. What does the boy paint on the raft? Why?
    A fawn; because he rescued the baby deer from the mud
  4. How do you think the boy feels now that summer is over? Has the boy changed? Why?
    Answers might include that he will be sad, he will miss the river and grandma, he doesn't want to leave; yes, the boy has changed because he was miserable when he first got to Grandma's, but he found something that made him happy.
  5. Would you like to spend your summer on a river? Why or why not?
    Answers will vary.

Activity 6: Figurative Language and Word Meaning

Review the idea that authors write things in interesting and unique ways to keep the reader's attention and to make the text more enjoyable. Then read the following with your child:
  1. Reread the third text page in the book. Discuss the following quote: "She had eyes in the back of her head." Talk with your child and ask her if the author really means that Grandma had eyes on the back of her head. Remind your child that a phrase like this is called an idiom and is a funny way to say that nothing gets past Grandma. She really knows what is going on, even if you think she isn't looking,
  2. Share the next quote with your child: "I cleaned away more leaves and it was like finding presents under a Christmas tree." Ask your child why the author describes the boy's discovery of the raft and the drawings on it in this way. Why didn't the author just say the boy was excited to find the cool drawings on the raft? Ask your child if she can think of another interesting way the author could have let the reader know the boy was very excited to discover all the different drawings of animals on the raft.
  3. Read this quote aloud: "What a herd of wild animals we were!" Discuss that Grandma says this when she tells the boy about swimming with the family that had ten kids. Ask your child if Grandma really means they were animals at that time. Ask her what she thinks the author is trying to communicate. Ask her why he didn't just have Grandma say that she and the kids had a lot of energy.
  4. Share this quote with your child: "Now you will always be part of the river." Discuss that this is what Grandma tells the boy after he draws the picture of the fawn on the raft. Ask your child what Grandma means. Discuss that the boy's memory of rescuing the deer is preserved since he painted it on the raft, which stays on the river.

Activity 7: Story Elements

Materials: glue, scissors
Discuss how all stories have certain characteristics called story elements. They are like the ingredients of a good story. Explain that when authors write a story, they must make sure to include all the necessary elements. Tell your child that today she is going to examine three story elements that authors must consider: characters, setting, and problem/solution.

Tell your child that the characters are the people in the story. Explain that the setting is the place where the story occurs. (The time of a story as part of setting will be discussed in later levels of the curriculum.) Sometimes a story may have more than one setting. Finally, explain that every story must have a problem and a solution.

Give your child the "Story Elements" page and explain that she must identify the character, setting, problem, and solution for each of the four stories she has read in this unit. She will paste a title label on each frame and then glue the character's name to the bottom of the frame. Then she will paste the correct setting, problem, and solution beneath each frame.
Story Elements Answer Key

Activity 8: Characters Change

Now your child will consider how the main character of the story The Raft changed in the story. Ask her to fill out the "Characters Change" page. Remind her that all the characters she has read about in this unit significantly changed over the course of their story.