Thanksgiving Text Set By Annie Roberson

Rationale: This text set will be focusing on the holiday Thanksgiving, and the main purpose of the set will be so that teachers and parents can introduce the holiday to children with a variety of texts, both fiction and nonfiction. This set in particular will work best with 1st graders, but could be adapted to older or younger grades if necessary. By using these texts, teachers and parents will be able to teach students a variety of aspects about Thanksgiving and why we celebrate it, as well as the different traditions families have when celebrating Thanksgiving.

"Thanksgiving Is Here"

  • Written and illustrated by Diane Goode
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • ISBN 9780439701860
  • 32 pages
  • Genre: Fiction

"Thanksgiving is Here is about a young girl Named Maggie and the crazy huge family that meets them at Grandma's House for Thanksgiving. Maggie tells about all of the different family members that come to Thanksgiving, the traditions they have at Grandma's house, and fun activities they do throughout the day! After dessert, it's time for everyone to go home, but they will all be back soon.

Teaching Points

  • For the lesson over "Thanksgiving is Here," I would first address phonics instruction as the 5 Reading first components of this story. In order to do this, I would use a standard which is within the reading standards, RL.1.3 – Describe character, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.
  • Objective: By the end of the lesson, students will be able to describe who the main characters, the setting, and the major event in our story "Thanksgiving is Here."
  • "Thanksgiving is Here," would be an excellent book to start introducing Thanksgiving to your first graders. With details of family members who students may usually visit, along with the traditional Thanksgiving foods students will typically eat, reading this book to students will be a great way to familiarize themselves with a topic they probably know a little bit about, before introducing more difficult aspects of Thanksgiving that they may not know yet!

"The Very First Thanksgiving Day"

  • Written by Rhonda Growler Greene and Illustrated by Susan Gaber
  • Publisher: Antheneum Books for Young Readers
  • ISBN 9781338090390
  • 32 Pages
  • Genre: Historical Fiction

"The Very First Thanksgiving Day" is a historical fiction picture book, that talks about the Pilgrims who traveled across the sea by the Mayflower to land in America, where they learned from the Native American Indians how to hunt and gather on the land to survive the harsh winters. The books talks about the hardships, and pleasures of that time, and the feast both the Indians and the Pilgrims enjoyed together on the first Thanksgiving Day.

Teaching Points

  • By reading "The Very First Thanksgiving Day" you will be able to begin to introduce to your first graders that Thanksgiving has been happening for a very long time, and students will be able to see the similarities between what this book says was the first Thanksgiving day, and the Thanksgiving days that we still have today. Students will focus on comprehension with this book, as they are beginning to recognize important parts of this story. You can achieve this through a standard focusing on reading; RL.1.7 – Use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, setting, or events. In which students will focus on the pictures and images in the book, and will compare the images with what they already know about Thanksgiving.
  • Objective: By the end of the lesson, students will be able to identify key details of the story "The Very First Thanksgiving" by studying illustrations in the book.
  • Objective: By the end of the lesson, students will be able to compare and contrast the images and details from the book, with Thanksgivings they have experienced.
  • By reading "The Very First Thanksgiving," students will recognize that Thanksgiving has been occurring for a very long time. After allowing students to compare this story to Thanksgivings they have had, students will start to be able to identify how Thanksgiving has changed over the years, but they will also identify what traditions from the first Thanksgiving still hold true, such as eating a turkey!

Mayflower 1620: A New Look at a Pilgrim Voyage

  • Written by Plimoth Plantation, and Catherine O'Neill Grace, and Photographed by Cotton Coulson and Sisse Brimberg.
  • Published by National Geographic Society
  • ISBN-13: 9780792262763
  • 48 Pages
  • Genre: Nonfiction

"The Mayflower 1620" describes the true story of the voyage made on the Mayflower to america by the pilgrims. By a recreation of the Mayflower, the Mayflower II, photographers were able to gather vivid images depicting the true story of the Mayflower voyage. The book recounts many different aspects such as what settlers ate, wore, and the telling details of their journey. This book will teach students many authentic details of the Mayflower, as well as explain to them the importance of reexamining everything we know.

Teaching Points

  • Through the story "The Mayflower 1620: A New Look at a Pilgrim Voyage" students will be focusing on vocabulary, while working on learning new terms associated with the Mayflower voyage. Along with vocabulary, students will work on a standard within the writing standards; W.1.2 – Write informative/explanatory texts in which they name a topic, supply some facts about the topic, and provide some sense of closure.
  • Objective: By the end of the lesson, students will be able to describe key details from "The Mayflower 1620" and explain unfamiliar terms that were found in the text.
  • One main aspect of reading "The Mayflower 1620" that I want my students to realize, is that The Mayflower voyage was a very long and scary trip, and because they made it safely, the pilgrims were able to settle on new land here in America. Because the Indians helped the pilgrims to learn how to hunt and gather crops, we now celebrate Thanksgiving to remember why we are thankful for being able to live in america. After reading the book, and discussing the key features of the Mayflower voyage, students will write an information sheet about the Mayflower (2-3 sentences) about what they learned.

"Thanksgiving Is..."

  • Written and illustrated by Gail Gibbons
  • Published by Holiday House, Inc.
  • ISBN-13: 9780823419791
  • 32 Pages
  • Genre: Nonfiction

Gail Gibbons creates a perfect depiction of what thanksgiving means to us. Starting thousands of years ago with people giving thanks for plentiful harvests, to showing the pilgrims traveling on the Mayflower to the United States, and the Thanksgivings that many of us know now. In "Thanksgiving is..." Gail Gibbons reminds us all the importance behind Thanksgiving, not just the food that we eat.

Teaching Points

  • Within the nonfiction story "Thanksgiving is..." there are many aspects of Thanksgiving that are valuable to teach students. For this lesson, I would focus on fluency, while teaching a reading standard for literature; RL.1.2 – Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson.
  • Objective: By the end of the lesson, students will be able to discover the central message from the story "Thanksgiving is..."
  • The central message of "Thanksgiving is..." is to remind us that we should all be thankful for what we have been given. Although at times, we may think someone has it better than us, we need to remember to be thankful, and that is why we celebrate Thanksgiving every year. By reading this story, you will remind students why we celebrate thanksgiving, and help them to start thinking about what they are thankful for this Thanksgiving season, and then students can create a craft where they make a turkey, and each feather on the turkey is something they are thankful for.

"I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie"

"I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie"

  • Written by Alison Jackson
  • Illustrated by Judy Schachner
  • Published by Penguin Young Readers Group
  • ISBN-13: 9780140565959
  • 32 Pages
  • Genre: Fiction

This is a fun and creative text students will love! The book discusses the many different foods that are traditionally eaten at Thanksgiving dinner, however, all of these foods were eaten by one old lady, and after a full day of eating the Old Lady ends up being one of the balloons in the Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Teaching Points

  • After reading "I Know An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Pie" students will work on phonics with a reading standard RL.1.3 – Describe character, settings, and major events in a story, using key details, and will then connect the story to the 5 W's, who, what, when, where, and why.
  • Objective: By the end of the lesson, students will be able to identify and list characters, setting, and major events in a story by using the reading strategy of connecting the story with who, what, when, where, why, and how.
  • This is an incredibly fun, and whimsical story, and students always enjoy the fact that the story keeps adding onto itself. This story is a fun way to talk about foods that are traditionally eaten at Thanksgiving, as well as the tradition of the Thanksgiving Day Parade. This is a very fun story to use with the 5 W's lesson, because after you have finished discussing the 5 w's you can have students fill out a hand graphic organizer of the 5 w's, and then once they have finished filling it out, they can decorate the hand like a turkey! Perfect to help get them in the holiday spirit.

"Turkey Trouble on the National Mall"

  • Written by Ron Roy
  • Illustrated by Timothy Bush
  • Published by Random House Children's Books
  • ISBN-13: 9780307932204
  • 96 Pages
  • Genre: Fiction

Every year the president pardons one turkey. However, the President's 4th grade daughter doesn't think that is enough! So this year she gets her father to pardon 117 turkeys! However, the next morning, they're all gone! KC and her friend Marshall have to try to solve the mystery and figure out who took the turkeys.

Teaching Points

  • This story is a fun way to introduce to students what it means when the President Pardons a turkey each year, and why this is an important tradition in our country. While reading this story, students will focus on comprehension. Seeing as this story is a little above 1st grade reading level, the teacher or parent will most likely need to read this aloud to the child. However, the lesson can still be incorporated with a writing standard, W.1.8 – With guidance and support from adults, recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.
  • Objective: By the end of the lesson, students will be able to use inferring skills to predict what will happen in the story "Turkey Trouble at the National Mall."
  • Pardoning the turkey is a Thanksgiving tradition that, surprisingly, not very many people are fully aware of. Even when they know of it, not many people really know why this is an honored tradition in the United States. Over the course of several days, teachers or parents could read this story to 1st graders and discuss why we pardon a turkey every year. As they continue to read, every day the teacher could have the 1st graders write down one prediction they have for the next part of the story. After they have finished the book students will be able to compare all of their predictions and see how they changed throughout the story, or how close they were to being on the right track throughout the story.

"Cranberry Thanksgiving"

  • Written by Wende Devlin
  • Illustrated by Harry Devlin
  • Published by Purple House Press
  • ISBN-13: 9781930900639
  • 32 Pages
  • Genre: Holiday Fiction

Every year, Grandmother tells Maggie to bring someone less fortunate to Thanksgiving Dinner. However, when Grandmother discovers that Maggie's guest this year is Mr. Whiskers, Grandmother is less than pleased, and worried that her coveted cranberry bread recipe is going to be stolen!

Teaching Points

  • "Cranberry Thanksgiving" is a classic story, that shows us that it's not what's on the outside that counts, but what's on the inside. When Grandmother judges Mr. Whiskers for his appearance, she learns that she shouldn't have been too quick to judge him. I would use this story to focus on comprehension again, as well as the reading standard RL.1.2 – Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson.
  • Objective: By the end of the lesson, students will be able to identify the central message of "Cranberry Thanksgiving."
  • After reading "Cranberry Thanksgiving" students will be able to better understand the meaning of Thanksgiving, and how important it is that we are kind to others, especially around the holidays. This book will help students learn some philanthropic behaviors, as well as realize we should not judge someone based off of their appearance, no matter how badly we think we should.

"History Busters: The Truth (and Myths) About Thanksgiving"

  • Written by L.A. Peacock
  • Illustrated by Nick Wigsby
  • Published by Scholastic
  • ISBN13: 9780545568463
  • 96 Pages
  • Genre: Nonfiction

This book identifies and addresses many of the facts, and unknown myths about Thanksgiving, and why we celebrate it.

Teaching Points

  • Lastly, I would have my students work primarily on vocabulary with this book, and work with the reading standard RI.1.9 – Identify basic similarities in and differences between two texts on the same topic (e.g., in illustrations, descriptions, or procedures). Within this lesson, students will identify the similarities between this book, and any of the other Thanksgiving books in this unit.
  • Objective: By the end of the lesson, students will be able to identify similarities and differences between "The Truth About Thanksgiving" book, and one of the other Thanksgiving books that we have read.
  • This book relates to the Thanksgiving text set because it gives nonfiction facts about Thanksgiving that some people don't know to be true. This will be beneficial to the 1st graders to learn because they will be able to start to identify what about Thanksgiving has been tradition from the beginning, and what has become a tradition over time.
Alternative Text:

"A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving"

  • Written and Created by Charles M. Schultz
  • Directed by Bill Melendez and Phil Roman
  • Lee Mendelson Film Productions
  • Released as TV Special November 20, 1973.
  • Genre: Comedy, Family, and Animated
  • 30 minutes long

Peppermint Patty invites herself, along with all of their friends, over to Charlie Brown's House for Thanksgiving, and with the help of Linus, Snoopy and Woodstock, Charlie Brown attempts to throw together a Thanksgiving Dinner! This is a Peanuts classic, any student is guaranteed to enjoy. Below, is a small clip from the 30 minute movie.

Teaching Points

  • The Peanuts book, and movie is a classic Thanksgiving tale that would be fun to introduce to students right before thanksgiving. While this is more for fun to tie together the thanksgiving unit, this movie could be shown to practice comprehension skills, by giving students the opportunity to practice writing what they are thankful for, or creating their own perfect Thanksgiving Meal just like Snoopy did in the movie. The writing standard I would use in order to do this is W.1.1 – Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or name the book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply a reason for the opinion, and provide some sense of closure.
  • Objective: By the end of the lesson, students will be able to create their own perfect Thanksgiving meal menu based off what they saw in the "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" movie.
  • This would be a fun way to discover what your students are most looking forward to for Thanksgiving. Although we've talked a lot about the traditions of Thanksgiving, it is fun for students to think about what they would change about Thanksgiving if they were given a chance.


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