Close Reading for Winter- Paired Texts

reading, winter

Today I wanted to share with you one of my Paired Text Units.  This unit is perfect for coming back to school in January.  It is for the books Animals In Winter by Henrietta Bancroft and The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.

I really enjoy pairing a fiction and non-fiction books on similar topics.  It is a great way to be sure and get a 50/50 balance of narrative and expository texts.  It is fun for students, and a great way to introduce close-reading to beginning readers.
In Animals In Winter the authors explore the different ways animals survive in the winter such as hibernating, migrating, storing food, and no special adaptations.  It explores two or more animals that fit each category.  The text has amazing illustrations.   
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A “pre-write” of what students already know on the topic is a great way to begin.  I have included themed paper in the unit, but you could also have students write this in their journal, or on plain paper. Next, read aloud the story and give students some time to discuss what they learned with partners or small groups.
The next day introduce the vocabulary: migrate, hibernate, gather food, and nothing. (The set has these great little cards ready to print with the vocabulary and a definition.)  As you read, have students listen for the different animals, and which category they fit into.  Then you are ready to sort the animal picture cards.  You can create an anchor chart or use a pocket chart to sort.
There is also a student sheet, for students to cut and sort the animals into the categories.
 Read the story several times throughout the week.  Students should now be ready to work on Main Idea/Details.  The sheet has the main idea already listed for students to scaffold their learning.  I have also included pictures of some of the animals by each bubble.  This supports students in remembering details from the text.
The last activity for this story is a close study of a diagram.  I have included a questioning guide to help you lead this activity.
After the discussion, students complete three facts they learned about woodchucks from the diagram.
In the classic story The Snowy Day we follow along with a little boy named Peter and his adventures in the snow.  This book won the Caldecott Medal for the illustrations, which are very unique, and an important part of telling the story.
A questioning guide is included to guide your discussion for both a first, and second reading of the text. Click here to download the first days questioning guide.
The second reading focuses on noticing the illustrations and how they help to tell the story.
A story map is included.
Students think more deeply about the character Peter by exploring what he thought, saw, and did with his hands and feet.
Students also compare themselves to Peter by thinking about what they like to do on a snowy day.
Want to learn more about this set?  Click here.
Looking for more winter paired text sets?  Check out my polar bear paired text set for the books The Three Snow Bears by Jan Brett and National Geographic Kids: Polar Bears by Laura Marsh.


Hi, I’m Jaymie! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I taught for 17 years including 12 years in First Grade, 4 years as a Reading Interventionist, and 1 year in Pre-K. 

I have a passion for creating rigorous, easy to use primary resources that require little or no prep! I hope you find some easy ideas to take back to your classroom or use in your homeschool!

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