Thomas Jefferson by Cheryl Harness

February Theme:  historical/presidential picture books

With the celebration of President’s Day upon us this month, I thought I would take the month to review and share lessons pertaining to picture books related to history or presidents.

Recommended Grades: 3-6

Strategy:  Summarizing

National Geographic provides a fantastic resource of our third President of the United States.  Though a lengthy picture book, Cheryl Harness provides details about Jefferson’s early life through his death at age 83.  Harness’ detailed illustrations help transport the reader back in time.

Thomas Jefferson is a great text to use to model for students how to summarize information.  The length of the book allows for teachers to read it over several sittings and summarize it in sections.

Lesson idea: Model for students how to summarize using index cards.  Break the book into several sections (i.e. early life, Revolutionary War time, President, etc.).  In different sittings, read aloud each section and model for students how to summarize the information from that section on one index card.  After modeling for students, have them use the same technique with a partner or independently with other texts about Thomas Jefferson.  Students can then synthesize the information they learn from various texts into one writing piece about Thomas Jefferson.

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