Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Wanderer

A journey across the Atlantic... Sailboats Galore...

The Wanderer by Sharon Creech takes the reader on a journey across the Atlantic ocean on a sailboat with thirteen year old Sophie, her 3 uncles and her cousins Cody and Brian. The story is presented through Sophie and Cody's journals they write during the trip. They journey towards England where Bompie, the cousins' grandfather and uncles' father. The novel takes you through Sophie's journey of finding herself as she comes to grips with her adoption and her past life. Despite a lot of bickering between the crew and some misunderstandings, they happily reach their destination having all learned about each other and become much closer.

Teachers: Here are some resources & ideas to use with this book...

Web Resources:
  • Extension Activities: This website has extension activities to use with this book such as mapping out the journey, naming boats, writing a Bompie story and more.
  • Sailing for Kids: This website has 5 lessons about Sailboats for kids. There is A LOT of information on this site and you will have to pick and choose based on how much time you have to use to teach students about sailboats to help them learn the lingo of sailing and some of the science behind it.
Key Vocabulary:  words I picked out while reading that may need to be pre-taught...
temptress, exotic, safari, satellite, galley, rudder, keel, bilge, varnish, marina, orphan, dinghy, harbor, mast, sanctuary, cockpit, dolt, sextant, bludgeon, winch, immaculate, caulk, capricious, fortress, decrepit, putz, trestle, baptism, jinx, berserk, phosphorescent, gargantuan, autohelm, grommets, outhaul, gimbals, foredeck, halyard, bosun, perpendicular, trysail, jackstays, lingo, bilge, aft, mizzen, gale, mariner, careening

Before Reading: Pre-teach students some information on sailing so that they learn some of the vocabulary that they will encounter about sailing while reading The Wanderer. The second web resource will be useful for teaching students about sailing if you choose to do so.

During Reading: Ask students to write journal entries every few chapters pretending that they are on the sailboat with Sophie, her cousins and uncles. Ask the students to write down what their reaction to the events in the chapters. Also ask students to predict interactions they would have with the other characters on the boat.

After Reading/Writing: As a post reading activity, students could write a journal in the perspective of Brian or one of the uncles since their perspectives were not seen in the novel. Only Sophie and Cody's perspectives were shown and it would be a very interesting and fun activity to write a few journal entries on what another character felt about a part of The Wanderer.

Across the Curriculum:
Science: Use this novel to expand students' knowledge of boating and the ocean.

Creech, S. (2000). The Wanderer. New York: Scholastic.
2001 Newbery Honor Award

Happy Reading (& Running) =)

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