The Polar Express Resource Set

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Summary

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

It’s Christmas Eve when a young boy, who is waiting up for Santa’s sleigh, peeks out the window to find The Polar Express. He’s invited aboard the mysterious steam engine headed to the North Pole, where he’s surprised with a gift from Santa himself. The clear order of events in this story make it an extraordinary resource for helping readers practice retelling and summarizing, as well as visualizing, making predictions, identifying the author’s purpose and synthesizing.

Teach with The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

Get everything you need to deliver meaningful reading instruction using The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

  • Comprehension Strategy Lesson Plans
  • Page by Page Guided Think Sheets
  • Text Based Reader’s Notebook Prompts
  • Word Work Lesson Plan and Activities for Inflectional Endings
  • Interactive Vocabulary Games and Activities
  • Running Record Assessment
  • Extension Activities for Early Finishers
  • Answer Keys
  • Complete Common Core Alignment
  • and More!
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The Polar Express Lesson Plans, Resources, and Activities
Common Core Alignment
  • Identifying the Author's Purpose: L.3.6 RF.3.3 RF.3.4 RL.3.10 RL.3.2 RL.3.6 SL.3.1d SL.3.2 SL.3.3 W.3.8
  • Making Predictions: L.3.6 RF.3.3 RF.3.4 RL.3.1 RL.3.10 RL.3.2 RL.3.3 SL.3.1d SL.3.2 SL.3.3 W.3.8
  • Retelling & Summarizing: L.3.6 RF.3.3 RF.3.4 RL.3.1 RL.3.10 RL.3.4 RL.3.7 SL.3.1d SL.3.2 SL.3.3 W.3.8
  • Synthesizing: L.3.6 RF.3.3 RF.3.4 RL.3.1 RL.3.10 RL.3.2 RL.3.3 RL.3.4 RL.3.5 RL.3.6 RL.3.7 SL.3.1c SL.3.1d SL.3.2 SL.3.3 W.3.8
  • Visualizing: L.3.6 RF.3.3 RF.3.4 RL.3.10 RL.3.7 SL.3.1d SL.3.2 SL.3.3 W.3.8
  • Word Work: RF.3.3 RF.3.4
  • Vocabulary: L.3.4a L.3.5b L.3.6
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    The Polar Express Resource Set

    Identifying the Author’s Purpose with The Polar Express

    Readers will enjoy using The Polar Express to practice identifying key author's messages. This text presents clear messages about believing, finding contentment in simplicity and the changes that happen to people as they grow older.
    Common Core Alignment:

    L.3.6 RF.3.3 RF.3.4 RL.3.10 RL.3.2 RL.3.6 SL.3.1d SL.3.2 SL.3.3 W.3.8

    Making Predictions with The Polar Express

    With multiple points of action, The Polar Express is an excellent resource for supporting early readers as they learn to use clues from the text to make strong, logical predictions about the characters and plot.
    Common Core Alignment:

    L.3.6 RF.3.3 RF.3.4 RL.3.1 RL.3.10 RL.3.2 RL.3.3 SL.3.1d SL.3.2 SL.3.3 W.3.8

    Retelling and Summarizing with The Polar Express

    This magical story of a boy who is welcomed aboard a steam engine straight for the North Pole is perfect for a lesson on retelling. With a limited cast of characters, readers can focus on the clear order of events. Likewise, the problem and solution are easily defined.
    Common Core Alignment:

    L.3.6 RF.3.3 RF.3.4 RL.3.1 RL.3.10 RL.3.4 RL.3.7 SL.3.1d SL.3.2 SL.3.3 W.3.8

    Synthesizing with The Polar Express

    This book works well for supporting readers who are working to monitor their use of several comprehension strategies to draw full meaning from a text. In this lesson plan, students will need to identify which strategy they’re applying to demonstrate their thinking as they progress through the text.
    Common Core Alignment:

    L.3.6 RF.3.3 RF.3.4 RL.3.1 RL.3.10 RL.3.2 RL.3.3 RL.3.4 RL.3.5 RL.3.6 RL.3.7 SL.3.1c SL.3.1d SL.3.2 SL.3.3 W.3.8

    Visualizing with The Polar Express

    The Polar Express is ideal for supporting readers who need practice visualizing while reading. This book works well because students can easily identify the words and descriptions that help them create mental images of the story sequence. If any of your students have seen the film, they can apply some of those images to aid their comprehension as well.
    Common Core Alignment:

    L.3.6 RF.3.3 RF.3.4 RL.3.10 RL.3.7 SL.3.1d SL.3.2 SL.3.3 W.3.8

    The Polar Express 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.

    The Polar Express Running Record

    Use this "done for you" Running Record to assess oral reading fluency of The Polar Express. 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.

    The Polar Express Word Work - Inflectional Endings

    Make classroom reading time even more productive by using The Polar Express to teach word study. This book is an excellent resource for teaching a phonics lesson about inflectional endings. To access these classroom-ready lesson plans, interactive games and fun worksheets, download this individual Word Work package or look for them in your Super Pack.
    Common Core Alignment:

    RF.3.3 RF.3.4

    The Polar Express Vocabulary Connections

    Are your students familiar with new vocabulary used in The Polar Express? Download this Vocabulary Builder for fun resources and activities that support Tier 2 and Tier 3 vocabulary growth. If you download this book’s Super Pack, these resources are all included.
    Common Core Alignment:

    L.3.4a L.3.5b L.3.6

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