Lesson 1: Charting the Course

Getting Started

In the next lesson, you will begin reading The Wanderer, a novel by Sharon Creech. Before you begin reading, it is important that you have some background information about the setting of the story. The story follows the journey of an extended family as they sail across the Atlantic Ocean all the way to Ireland.

Ideas to Think About

  • How is the environment on the water different from the environment on land?

Things to Know

  • The subject tells what the sentence is about, and the predicate tells what the subject is or does.
  • A sentence with a compound subject has two or more nouns as the subject.
  • A sentence with a compound predicate has two or more verbs that tell what the subject is or does.
  • A grommet is a rope or brass ring in a sail or piece of canvas.
  • The boom are horizontal poles that extend the foot of a sail.
  • An Outhaul is a line which is used to extend a sail and control the curve of the sail's foot.
  • A dinghy or a tender is a small boat used to ferry people to a yacht; also used for sailing or rowing.
  • Fore refers to at or towards the boat's bow.
  • The mizzen is the smaller sail of a sailboat.
  • The helm is the tiller or wheel used to steer.


  • Interact with text before reading by seeking additional information. (LA)
  • Locate and label geographical locations on a map. (SS)
  • Explore argumentative works that are read, heard and/or viewed by making connections among works, self and related topics. (LA)
  • Demonstrate an understanding of conventional written and spoken expression by using a variety of sentence types correctly, punctuating them properly, and avoiding fragments and run-ons. (LA)
  • Demonstrate the different roles of the parts of speech in sentence construction. (LA)

Introducing the Lesson

Explain to your child that the novel he is about to read is about sailing on the ocean, and the environment living on the ocean is much different from that of living on land. Explain that he will be better able to understand the story if he becomes familiar with the parts of a sailboat and the terminology that sailors use.

Discuss that before he reads the story, it will be helpful for him to chart the course the crew will take to their destination.
Web Link
Reading and Questions
You may have read or may want to read other books by this author.

After reviewing the website, answer the following questions:
  1. Have you ever read a Sharon Creech book? If so, what was the title(s)?
    Answers will vary.
  2. What did Sharon want to be when she grew up?
    A painter, an ice skater, a singer, a teacher, and a reporter.
  3. Click on the Books link and read the author's "tidbits" about The Wanderer. What does she say about Bompie's stories found in the novel?
    The first two were her father's own stories.