Owen by Kevin Henkes - Teaching Ideas

Let me hear a Woot! Woot! and a see a fist pump if you love Kevin Henkes! He has the greatest characters going through the most identifiable problems. Owen is no exception. He is about to start kindergarten and must give up his blanket. Owen doesn't want to give up his blanket and Ole' Mrs. Tweezers (the nosy neighbor) is insistent that he does. His parents try all the suggestions that Mrs. Tweezers gives but it isn't until Owen's mother comes up with the best idea of all! Your students will enjoy this story, and some might even identify with Owen and his reluctance to give up his blanket.

This book has so many great teaching opportunities: life lessons, reading skills and strategies and writing. I hope you find a new idea below to help create a wonderful lesson using Owen by Kevin Henkes.

If you have no time to create a lesson and pages to go with it, I have done that for you. I created a packet filled with comprehension, cause and effect, sequencing and characterization to use with this book - see below for details. And of course I have a freebie for you too :)

Reading level: 2.5
Theme: new life experiences
Genre: humorous fiction

Suggested Vocabulary: plunger, essential, vinegar

Reading skills and strategies:
  • asking questions - {possible questions before} I wonder what this story is going to be about? Is the little boy named Owen? {possible questions during} Why won't Owen stop carrying his blanket around? I wonder what the vinegar is going to do? I wonder what Owen's mother is going to do with the blanket? {possible questions after} I wonder why Mrs. Tweezers didn't say anything about the handkerchiefs? I wnder how long Owen is going to carry those handkerchiefs? **Remember to have your students answer/reflect their questions.
  • author's point of view - third person point of view. Find 3 pieces of text evidence to support your answer.
  • author's purpose - entertain {evidence} Owen is a mouse and he is talking. Mice don't carry around blankets. Mice don't go to school. Owen became invisible because he put his blanket around his head. All these things make the book very entertaining.
  • beginning, middle, end - {most important event from beginning} Owen had a blanket that he loved and took everywhere with him. {most important event from middle} Owen's parents tried to get him to stop taking his blanket everywhere. {most important event from end} Owen's mom had a great idea and cut Owen's blanket into small handkerchiefs so he could carry them in his pocket.
  • cause and effect - Why did Owen love his blanket with all his heart? because he had it since he was a baby. Why did Owen put Fuzzy in his pajama pants? because he did not want the Blanket Fairy to come and take Fuzzy away. Why did Owen's father put vinegar on the corner of Owen's blanket? because they were trying to get Owen to stop carrying the blanket. Why did Owen rub his blanket in his sandbox? because he was trying to get rid of the smelly corner. Why did Owen bury his face in Fuzzy and not stop crying? because his parents told him that he could not bring Fuzzy to school. Why did Owen finally stop crying? because his mom had a great idea, she cut Fuzzy into small squares so he could carry them in his pocket.
  • characterization - describe Owen {looks like, feelings, thoughts, character}
  • classify & categorize - things that belong at school and things that belong at home.
  • compare & contrast - You and Owen. Your special "thing" and Owen's blanket.
  • connections - {possible text-to-self connections} having a blanket or stuffed animal that you carry around all the time.  Having your parents try to take away your special blanket/stuffed animal. Wanting to bring something to school with you.
  • drawing conclusions & inferencing - How do you think the blanket made Owen feel? {text clues} Owen carried that blanket everywhere. Owen played with the blanket all the time. {what I know} I have a _____ that makes me feel safe when I am nervous or scared. {my conclusion} I think the blanket made Owen feel safe and happy.
  • main idea & details - {main idea} Owen has a blanket and he won't get rid of it. {details} Owen didn't leave his blanket under his pillow when his parents tell him a Blanket Fairy will come and take it and leave him a special surprise. Owen didn't care that one corner of his blanket was smelly, he just picked another corner. He started to cry when he was told he couldn't take the blanket to school with him.
  • plot - the turning point or climax in the story was when Owen's mom had a great idea and started to cut and sew the blanket.
  • predict - What do you think the story is about? Why do you think Mrs. Tweezer's is telling Owen's parents about the Blanket Fairy? Do you think Owen will put his blanket under his pillow? What do you think the Blanket Fairy will leave Owen? Why do you think Owen is rubbing the smelly corner of the blanket in the sandbox? Do you think Owen is going to bring Fuzzy to school? What do you think Owen's moms good idea is? Why do you think Mrs. Tweezers didn't say anything anymore?
  • problem & solution - {problem} Owen's parents were trying to get Owent to stop carrying his blanket around. {solution} Owen's mother cut and sewed he blanket so it wasn't a blanket anymore, they were little handkerchiefs he could carry in his pocket.
  • sequencing - Owen had a blanket he loved. Mrs. Tweezers told Owen's parents about the Blanket Fairy. Owen didn't put his blanket under his pillow. Mrs. Tweezers told Owens parents about the vinegar trick. Owens father put vinegar on Owen's favorite corner of Fuzzy. Owen picked a new favorite corner and rubbed the smelly one in the sandbox. Owen's parents told him that he could not bring Fuzzy to school with him. Owen buried his face in Fuzzy and wouldn't stop crying. Owen's mother had a great idea. She cut and sewed Fuzzy into a bunch of handkerchiefs. Owen carried a handkerchief with him everywhere he went.
  • story elements - list title, author, character's, setting, beginning, middle, end, or problem & solution. 
  • summarize - {someone} Owen {wanted} wanted to take his blanket to school with him {but} but his parents said he couldn't. {so}  His mom had a great idea {then} which meant cutting his blanket into many small pieces. {finally} Owen could finally take his blanket everywhere he wanted.




Happy teaching!

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