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Donavan’s Word Jar Unit

June 13, 2019 No Comments

Donavan’s Word Jar Unit

June 13, 2019 No Comments

When it comes to instilling a love for reading, there is nothing better than using “real” books. My students love to be read to and constantly adjust their heads trying to get a better look at the illustrations. I’ll pause at suspenseful moments and ask them to predict what might happen next. Eagerly we hold our breath as I turn the page. Were we right? Did the characters respond as we had thought? The children cheer at the end and beg for more. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Research supports the importance of reading aloud to children. However, we also know that read alouds are just one part of a complete literacy program. The challenge for teachers is knowing how to go deeper with a piece of literature that doesn’t come bound inside a textbook or basal anthology. Deciding which skills to focus on and being intentional during a small group lesson can be a daunting task.

With that in mind, I started writing a series called Learning Through Literature.

Learning Through Literature is a series designed to help you and your students get the most out of a popular children’s book.

Whether you are using this title for guided reading, small group instruction, or as a whole-group read aloud to your class, you will find plenty of ideas and resources to support your literacy program.


* comprehension questions for each chapter
* vocabulary and word work lessons
* extension activities to provide additional engagement with the story.


A READER’S NOTEBOOK for Donavan’s Word Jar by Monalisa DeGross – pages 4 -15 provide questions for each chapter. This is a story of a boy who has a unique collection: words. Donovan finds words everywhere he looks and writes them down. His dilemma is what to do with them once his collection becomes larger than the jar that is holding them.

This book is a terrific way to inspire your students to become more observant of unique and descriptive words they come across in their reading and everyday life.

Each chapter has a chapter review sheet that helps the student dig deeper into the text and make connections with the story. Other skills include drawing conclusions applying context clues.

DONOVAN pic 2Donovan pg 7Donovan pg 14

EXTENSION IDEAS – pages 16 – 21 including character traits, summarizing, and creating word collection envelopes for each student.

Donovan pic 1I have each student be more intentional about finding unusual and interesting words. They bring them to our class meeting to share.



VOCABULARY BUILDING – pages 22-29 include vocabulary wall cards and context clues.


There are these large word cards for tier 2 and tier 3 words used in this book. I like to display the words as we discuss their meaning.


DONOVAN'S WORD vocab cards

ANSWER KEYS– pages 30- 40 provided for questions that are not open ended.

I encourage you to download the 15 page FREE PREVIEW to see sample pages.


Other titles available for short novels:

Candy Corn Contest UnitThe Giraffe, the Pelly, and Me Unit

Click on the images to learn more about these resources and read reviews.

Alison Monk

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Welcome! I'm Alison Monk, a primary teacher with a passion for creating educational materials that engage kids and teachers love! I hope this blog encourages and inspires you. I'm so glad you are here! Read More

About the Literacy Garden

Books have a magical way of taking us beyond our present reality into a world of possibilities. Our hearts smile, our minds grow, and our imagination blooms. The Literacy Garden is a place for parents and teachers to gather so they can nuture the children that surround them.

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