I Heart TomieDePaola *Freebie!

Yay for me: this is an actual post about school stuff. You may get some value out of this post.

However, I am definitely noting that my Lord of the Rings post received the most comments, so maybe you’re not interested in school. Maybe you’re more interested in Legolas and Aragorn, because they’re hotty hot hot.

I blogged a while back about Tomie DePaola and how I use his books to help my students write personal narratives. It involved a lot of reverse mapping, a lot of character relationships, and a lot of great stories! This year, at the end of third grade, I wanted to read a novel as a shared reading to prepare kids for the experiences they’d have in fourth grade.

I chose, as a culminating text to our Tomie DePaola unit, 26 Fairmount Avenue. 26 Fairmount Avenue is about Tomie’s family and their excitement leading up to their new home. It includes the characters my kids had grown to love in the other DePaola books because it is a memoir of his youth. 

I know this book isn’t a challenging book for third graders. However, I had such a mixed group of kids that I wanted even my most struggling students to be able to go back into the text to find evidence for their responses. To that end, I chose a book that was independently readable for the majority of my students. I also knew that their interest in the text and Tomie DePaola would help them read.

A few of my students had read this book last year. At first, I was dismayed. I know it’s a second grade book, really, but I was worried they wouldn’t get much out of a reread. My fears were unfounded. On the first day, as we predicted, one of my students says, “Yeah, I read this book last year, but there’s one thing I don’t know. Why is it called 26 Fairmount Avenue?”

Ummm…. cause that’s the address of the house.
The house that is being built throughout the whole book.
The house that they finally move into in the last chapter.

So I figured that they would get a lot out of it, because they didn’t really get it in the first place!

We did a ton of stuff with this book. We (and I’m so sorry because I didn’t take pictures of this – bad teacher bad teacher) sequenced the events of the book on cards and glued them onto a sentence strip. Then the kids illustrated the events.

We also spent some time with vocabulary and comprehension. My kids really struggle with answering specific questions that require inferencing and sequencing, so I wrote a set of questions for each chapter. We also worked a lot with context clues to infer the meanings of new words. The vocabulary of this book isn’t very complicated, but there are words scattered throughout the text that are unknown to my kids.

Then we made these: Open Mind Portraits.

I have a couple of artists in my classroom this year!

On the inside, students completed the statements about what is in Tomie’s brain: 
I love…, I am happy when…, I wish…, and I don’t like…

I have a couple of artists in my classroom this year!

Of course, I cram in eighteen thousand things at the end of the year. I just run around saying, “They’re not ready! They’re not ready!” and I do as many things as I can to ‘prepare them’ lol. Anyway, this is one thing I didn’t have time for boo. It’s a craftivity for students to write inside of. 

You can grab it all at TPT or Teacher’s Notebook

Grab this freebie from TPT:
Character Relationships Map

Pin It


Similar Posts


  1. Aweee-some!! I was going to do an "author spotlight" this upcoming year where I pick a different author each month and display their name, picture and book they have written. I will read several of his/her books during read aloud and leave them on display for students to take a turn reading. One of the authors I plan on using is Tomie Depaola. This would be a perfect ending to the month. Thanks for your hard work and creativity!

    Come stop by my blog for a TpT gift certificate giveaway!

    😀 Angie

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *