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Literar y Elements



Genre: Historical Fiction

Remind students that there are many kinds of writing styles,

and that a


is a particular kind or style of literary

composition. Explain that

What a Tree Has Seen

belongs to

the genre of

historical fiction

. This genre has the following


1. It tells a story about historical figures or events.

2. It shows historical events and puts you in the

characters’ shoes, to let you know how they feel.

Author ’s Purpose



Remind students that the author’s purpose is the reason an

author writes a particular story. Elicit from students the four

main purposes of writing:

to inform


to entertain


to explain



to persuade

. Ask students which purpose they think the

author had in mind when she wrote

What a Tree Has Seen


Write their ideas on the Prediction Chart.

Reading Options



Choose one or more of the activities described below to

conduct with students as they read

What a Tree Has Seen


Reading Aloud

Prior to reading

What a Tree Has Seen

aloud to students,

provide the following background information:


This story is about the live oak trees that grow in

Savannah, Georgia.


The story is about the history that occurred while the

live oaks were growing in Savannah.

As you are reading aloud, let students know what questions

you may have or what predictions are being confirmed, if

any. At the end of the reading, model answers to your own

comprehension questions. Also, model a summary of the

story for students and finish confirming students’ predictions

by going back to the chart.

Guided Reading Groups

Group students according to their specific instructional

needs, which you may have determined from previous

assessment data or reading inventories, and prepare specific

reading strategies for each group prior to their reading.

Then, have students read aloud

What a Tree Has Seen


circulate among each reading group, helping them practice

the specific skills and strategies assigned to them.

Echo Reading

This reading technique is ideal for modeling correct

pronunciation and intonation of text. Start reading

What a

Tree Has Seen

and ask students to repeat, from words and

phrases to sentences, after you. Avoid correcting students

who mispronounce during this activity; instead, encourage

students to continue reading, following your lead, as you

gradually release more responsibility to them.

Independent Reading and Reading Fluency

Explain to students that good readers develop fluency by

reading repeatedly and independently. Tell them they must

read for at least thirty minutes outside of class each day.

Encourage them to take

What a Tree Has Seen

home to read

several times and share with family members. You may

wish to have volunteers give oral presentations the next day,

summarizing the story, and discussing how they felt when

they read the story.

Literar y Response



After reading

What a Tree Has Seen

, choose from a variety of

activities to conduct with your students, such as:

1. Have students discuss the genre of the story and

compare it to other genres, such as fiction or legends.

2. Have students describe each of the historical settings

of the story, citing examples from each setting.

3. Have students identify the main idea of the story and

the author’s purpose for writing the story.