Sarah Plain and Tall

Topics: Cat, Fiction, A Story Pages: 1 (283 words) Published: November 6, 2005
I have used Sarah Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan many times in a guided reading group. It is the story if Sarah, who moves from Maine to the prairie when she answers the advertisement for a wife. She decides to try this out for a month and care for Anna and Caleb whose mother has dies. Sarah tells the family that they will recognize her when she arrives because she is "plain and tall." She brings with her a cat and gifts from the ocean. The story revolves around Caleb and Anna and their desire to make Sarah stay at her new home on the prairie.

One of the skills I try to teach with the story is story elements. It is a great story to teach setting, characters, plot or problem, and solution or outcome. As the children read, they fill in a story element chart. We discuss the characters in many ways. We describe their looks, or what we think they would look like. We discuss their feelings, what the characters want and how they change from beginning to the end of the story.

Throughout the story, students make predictions, inferences, and use context clues for defining new vocabulary words. They discuss the importance of setting, and they research the differences between the Maine coast and the prairie. In addition, the students become aware of the problem/plot and are able to discuss how the story reaches its conclusion or solution at the end.
Sarah Plain and Tall can be used to teach the genre of historical fiction. Many interdisciplinary lessons can be created in social studies, science, and math using this book. The opportunities for extensions are endless.
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