John Henry Resource Set

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Summary

John Henry by Julius Lester

This Caldecott Honor illustrated version of the “John Henry” ballad tells the story of John Henry’s amazing life and death. The story begins with a fantastical description of John Henry’s birth then moves on to outline the events of his life. Full of vivid imagery and striking illustrations, this picture book makes an ideal anchor text for mini lessons focused on asking questions, making connections, making inferences, synthesizing, and identifying author’s purpose.

Teach with John Henry by Julius Lester

Get everything you need to deliver meaningful reading instruction using John Henry by Julius Lester

  • Comprehension Strategy Lesson Plans
  • Page by Page Guided Think Sheets
  • Text Based Reader’s Notebook Prompts
  • Word Work Lesson Plan and Activities for Rules of Adding -ed and -ing
  • Interactive Vocabulary Games and Activities
  • Running Record Assessment
  • Common Core Aligned Comprehension Assessment
  • Extension Activities for Early Finishers
  • Answer Keys
  • Complete Common Core Alignment
  • and More!
  • Download
    Common Core Alignment
  • Asking Questions: L.4.6 RF.4.3 RF.4.4 RL.4.1 RL.4.10 RL.4.4 SL.4.1c SL.4.1d SL.4.2 W.4.8 W.4.9
  • Identifying the Author's Purpose: L.4.6 RF.4.3 RF.4.4 RL.4.10 RL.4.2 RL.4.6 SL.4.1c SL.4.1d SL.4.2 W.4.8 W.4.9
  • Making Connections: L.4.6 RF.4.3 RL.4.1 RL.4.10 RL.4.3 RL.4.6 SL.4.1c SL.4.2 W.4.8
  • Making Inferences: L.4.6 RF.4.3 RF.4.4 RL.4.1 RL.4.10 RL.4.2 RL.4.3 RL.4.4 SL.4.1c SL.4.1d SL.4.2 W.4.8 W.4.9
  • Synthesizing: L.4.6 RF.4.3 RF.4.4 RL.4.1 RL.4.10 RL.4.2 RL.4.3 RL.4.4 RL.4.5 RL.4.6 RL.4.7 SL.4.1c SL.4.1d SL.4.2 W.4.8 W.4.9
  • Take a Closer Look at the
    John Henry Resource Set

    Asking Questions with John Henry

    When paired with this asking questions resource set, John Henry provides an opportunity for students to question events that happen within the story. Use the included set of text-based questions to help readers examine their questions to determine which events in the story are an exaggeration of real life.
    Common Core Alignment:

    L.4.6 RF.4.3 RF.4.4 RL.4.1 RL.4.10 RL.4.4 SL.4.1c SL.4.1d SL.4.2 W.4.8 W.4.9

    Identifying the Author's Purpose with John Henry

    The story of John Henry presents readers with a variety of messages. Use this mini lesson and set of activities support students as they examine the details of the story to draw conclusions about the author’s message.
    Common Core Alignment:

    L.4.6 RF.4.3 RF.4.4 RL.4.10 RL.4.2 RL.4.6 SL.4.1c SL.4.1d SL.4.2 W.4.8 W.4.9

    Making Connections with John Henry

    Challenge students to make connections between the ballad of John Henry and their prior knowledge or tall tales, legendary characters, and real-world events with this making connections resource set.
    Common Core Alignment:

    L.4.6 RF.4.3 RL.4.1 RL.4.10 RL.4.3 RL.4.6 SL.4.1c SL.4.2 W.4.8

    Making Inferences with John Henry

    John Henry is an ideal anchor text for a mini lesson focused on making inferences. Through using this Caldecott Honor book with this resource set students will have the opportunity to make inferences about character motivation and word choice.
    Common Core Alignment:

    L.4.6 RF.4.3 RF.4.4 RL.4.1 RL.4.10 RL.4.2 RL.4.3 RL.4.4 SL.4.1c SL.4.1d SL.4.2 W.4.8 W.4.9

    Synthesizing with John Henry

    Synthesizing text can be a difficult strategy for students to master. Use this mini lesson and set of resources to teach readers how to examine John Henry actions in the story in order to draw conclusions about his character.
    Common Core Alignment:

    L.4.6 RF.4.3 RF.4.4 RL.4.1 RL.4.10 RL.4.2 RL.4.3 RL.4.4 RL.4.5 RL.4.6 RL.4.7 SL.4.1c SL.4.1d SL.4.2 W.4.8 W.4.9

    John Henry Extension Activity

    The BookPagez extension activities are a great way to push student engagement beyond the pages of the text. Try using this activity with early finishers, with students who show a deeper connection with the text, or as a center activity.

    John Henry Running Record

    Use this "done for you" Running Record to assess oral reading fluency of John Henry. Track meaning, structure, and visual accuracy using the first 100 words of the text to determine whether or not this book is a good fit for the readers in your classroom.

    John Henry Common Core Aligned Comprehension Assessment

    Use this Common Core aligned comprehension assessment to evaluate students' comprehension of John Henry.

    Student Resources in Spanish

    This set of Spanish student facing resources includes comprehension strategy practice pages, reader's notebook prompts (complete with Spanish Common Core "I Can" statements), and extension activities for use with John Henry by Julius Lester. These resources are intended to be used with the lesson plans included in the Super Pack for this book.

    John Henry Word Work - Rules of Adding -ed and -ing

    John Henry is not only an excellent anchor text for teaching comprehension strategies, it also pairs well with a phonics lesson about rules of adding -ed and -ing to a word. Either download the John Henry Super Pack or this individual Word Work package to access lesson plans, interactive games and fun worksheets that directly tie word study to your classroom reading.

    John Henry Vocabulary Connections

    Before your students can fully comprehend and enjoy John Henry, it’s helpful to introduce words that might be new to readers. Either download the John Henry Super Pack or this individual Vocabulary Builder for resources and activities that support Tier 2 and Tier 3 vocabulary growth through fun and productive interactions with new words.

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