Saturday, December 1, 2012

Mentor Text-Symbolism and Inference

What can I say about Grandpa Green? This book, by Lane Smith, is wrought with symbolism and beauty, it is difficult to sum up in words. I used this the other day at our SIOP training, and there were many teachers in the room crying when I finished. In fact, it was difficult for me to finish myself, as it is so touching. The premise of the story is that a little boy is telling the story of his Grandpa. Grandpa Green studies horticulture (great vocab in the story), and tells the story of his life in garden sculptures. The sculpted bushes symbolize all of his major life events. First, Grandpa Green was born (garden hose squirting water represents crying), then as he ventures into boyhood his friends are from Oz, and the little engine that could. He didn't even have a cellphone or video games (gasp!). Instead Grandpa Green always played outside and the garden was his friend. Later in the story, Grandpa Green goes to war, gets married, and has children and great-grandchildren. The problem is, that Grandpa Green always forgets. He forgets his garden hat on one of his sculptures. If you read into it, I think that lets you, as the reader, know that he has Alzheimers. So, so sad! At the end, guess what? Tragedy...
This book is so wonderful to use as a mentor text for inferring, and symbolism. Both are very difficult skills to teach, so why not use this book as a segue into this skill? It is worth every penny I paid for it.
Here is an Amazon link for the book:
Grandpa Green Book on Amazon

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