The Fox and The Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson - Teaching Ideas

This book was originally called Fletcher and the Falling Leaves and then was changed to The Fox and the Falling leaves - I am not really sure why?!?!
Little Fletcher has a favorite tree and he doesn't understand why the tree is turning brown and the leaves are all falling off. Fletcher is trying with all his might to save the leaves on his favorite tree, but he just can't do it. Poor Fletcher is so worried, he just can't stop thinking about his poor tree. One night he decides to go out and check on his tree when he sees that is it covered in beautiful icicles and seems to be singing in the breeze. This is such a comforting site to Fletcher that he no longer is worried about his favorite tree.

The illustrations in this book are so wonderful and the author uses such vivid, colorful words and phrases and descriptions, you and your students will thoroughly enjoy this book!

I have a freebie for this book focusing in on the beautiful words the author uses, but if you are looking to create a reading skill or strategy lesson, I hope some of the below information will help you out.

Reading level: 3.5
Theme/Subject: Fall
Genre: fiction

Suggested Vocabulary: bounded, crinkly, ruffled, rustle, whirled, swirled, bounding off, snuffled, whoosh, icicles

Colorful phrases to explore: the rich green of the forest, dusty gold, soft, swishing sound of summer, crinkly whisper, patted the rough bark, caught it gently, a tiny rustle, little lost leaves, birds fluttered away, branches still danced, leaves shivered and shook, they tossed and turned and twitched and twirled and tumbled to the ground, filled his dreams with a whispering sound, sudden whoosh of wind, branch bounced high, fluttered like a little flag, pale stars glimmered, shining silver in the early light, sparkling branches nodded   

Reading skills and strategies:
  • asking questions - {possible questions before} I wonder what the story will be about? I wonder what the fox will do with the falling leaves? {possible questions during} How come the fox didn't know that trees are supposed to change color and loose their leaves?  I wonder why the birds were putting the leaves back on the tree?  {possible questions after} I wonder what Fletcher will think when the leaves start to come back? **Remember to have your students answer/reflect their questions.
  • author's point of view - 3rd person. Be sure to find 3 pieces of evidence to support this.
  • author's purpose - entertain {evidence} The illustrations show Fletcher and his mom sitting around a fire with a kettle over it. Fletcher is a fox that is talking to a tree. The illustrations show Fletcher, a fox, walking on his two hind legs. All these things make a very cute and entertaining story.
  • beginning, middle, end - {most important event from beginning} Fletcher was worried about his favorite tree turning brown. {most important event from middle} Fletcher thought his tree was safe after the birds put the leaves back on the tree. {most important event from end} Fletcher saw his beautiful tree with icicles all over it and was not worried anymore.
  • cause and effect - Why did Fletcher worry about his favorite tree? because it looked dull, dry and brown. Why did Fletcher tell the tree that he would fix him? because the tree's leaf fell off. Why did the porcupine need the leaves? so he could keep warm. Why did the leaves blow off the tree? because it was autumn. Why did Fletcher climb the tree? because there was one leaf left in the tree and he wanted to protect it. Why did Fletcher make a cozy little bed for the leaf? because he told the tree he would protect the leaf. Why did Fletcher tiptoe outside? because he couldn't stop thinking about the tree. Why did Fletcher think the tree was more beautiful than ever? because it was covered in thousands of icicles, shining silver.
  • character analysis - describe Fletcher {looks like, feelings, thoughts, character}
  • character changes - In the beginning of the story Fletcher is very worried about his tree. At the end he is no longer worried.
  • classify & categorize - Things that happen in the fall and things that happen in the winter.
  • compare & contrast - fall and winter
  • connections - {possible text-to-self connections} Seeing leaves fall off a tree because of fall. Having a favorite something and wanting to take care of it.
  • fact & opinion - {facts} about fall {opinions} about fall
  • main idea & details - {main idea} Fletcher wanted to protect his tree. {details} He tried to tie the leaf back on to the tree. He climbed up the tree to save the last leaf. Fletcher went out to ask the tree if it was okay.
  • plot - the turning point or climax in the story was when the last leaf fell off. There was nothing more Fletcher could do to protect his tree.
  • predict - What do you think the story is going to be about? What do you think Fletcher is going to do with the leaf that he caught? What do you think is going to happen to the tree? What do you think Fletcher is going to do about his favorite tree? What do you think will happen to the tree with all the wind? Why do you think the birds put the leaves back on the tree? What do you think is going to happen to the tree while Fletcher is sleeping? What do you think Fletcher is going to do about the one leaf left on the tree? What do you think Fletcher is going to find when he goes out to check on his tree?
  • problem & solution - {problem} Fletcher was sad because nothing he did helped his tree. {solution} When Fletcher asked his tree if it was all right, the sparking branches nodded and the wind through the icicle branches sounded like laughter, he knew his tree was alright.
  • sequencing - Fletcher thought his tree was sick. He tried to save the leaves that blew off. The squirrel and porcupine took the leaves. The birds put the leaves on the trees. Fletcher took a nap under the tree and when he woke all the leaves were gone. He saw one leaf left on the tree. He tried to save it but it fell off. Fletcher took the leaf home to take care of. When Fletcher came out to ask the tree if it was alright the tree answered yes.
  • story elements - list title, author, character's, setting, beginning, middle, end, or problem & solution.
  • strong thought - What would you tell Fletcher to make him understand what fall means to a tree?
  • summarize - {someone} Fletcher {wanted} wanted to help his tree feel better {but} but the leaves kept falling off {so} so he took the last leaf home to take care of.  Fletcher couldn't stop thinking of his tree so he {finally} finally went out and saw that it was covered in beautiful icicles. 
  • theme - there are a number of theme's you could get from this book. What you think is a problem might not really be a problem. There are times with you just can't help. Change can be a good thing. 

Here is the Descriptive Phrases Activity I created.


Happy reading!

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