Using trade books is one of my favorite ways to connect my students to subject matter. I highly recommend it! In fact, I tell them that one of the ways I learn more about a topic is to start by reading trade books...that I get from the children's department of the public library! I'm very excited to get involved with this linky not only to share what I've used but also to learn about more fantastic trade book options.
The text I'm sharing this week is Roanoke: The Lost Colony, A Unsolved Mystery from History by Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple, illustrated by Roger Roth.
1. The No Survivors Theory;
2. Absorbed by Native People Theory;
3. The Lost at Sea Theory;
4. The Split Community Theory; and
5. The White Doe Theory.
This book reminds me a lot of the You Wouldn't Want to Be... series as far as the layout and design. Each page not only tells the central story, but it also includes many different fun facts, vocabulary terms, and interesting illustrations to accompany the text.
I use this book as an introductory hook to our lesson on the Roanoke colony. It's a fascinating story, a true mystery from history, so students really become engaged. I read it aloud in class as it is short enough to do that. I walk around and show illustrations and stop at different points to further explain the story and to quickly assess by questioning students to make sure that they understand what is being read.
I also read the book aloud because students complete a response activity to this book. Prior to reading it, I tell students to pay close attention to the facts and information presented in the book because they will be making a prediction about what they think happened to the colony. After we read the book, I go over the five popular theories then give out the assignment: a newspaper article template on which students write a news story that explains what happened to the colony.
This book requires skills such as cause and effect; understanding sequence; inference; and questioning, among others. It can be used to elicit higher-level thinking including analysis, evaluation, and ultimately, creation. I really like how this book engages students. It shows them that history can be very interesting, and they can think like historians to help solve a mystery that's hundreds of years old.