John Henry By: Julius Lester Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney Genre: Tall Tale/Legend Author’s Purpose: Entertainment Skill: Making Judgments Compiled by Terry Sams, Piedmont Summary Folks knew John Henry was special from the day he was born. He jumped right out of his mama's arms and grew so fast that his head and shoulders poked through the porch roof. He went on to win a race with Ferret-Faced Freddy, even though Freddy was riding a horse and John Henry was running on his own two legs. Later, he broke up a boulder that even dynamite couldn't touch. Genre: Tall Tales A tall tale is a story that has these features: A larger-than-life, or superhuman, main character with a specific job. A problem that is solved in a funny way. Exaggerated details that describe things as greater than they really are. Characters who use everyday language. There are some real-life details. Comprehension Skill: Making Judgments Making judgments means thinking about and deciding how to react toward people, situations, and ideas in stories you read. Use what you have read and your own experiences as you make judgments. Ask yourself if the author is trying to influence you and whether he succeeds. Comprehension Skill Review – Character Authors provide information about characters through thoughts and actions. Authors also use a character’s relationships to give clues to their traits. Pay attention to motivations, conflicts, points of view, and changes to help you better understand a character’s traits. Practice Character Clue to Character Motivation Example from Story Trait “What matters is how goodhearted well you do your living (p.254) Conflict “But even you can’t outhammer competitive a machine.” P.251) Point of View “I’ve heard you are the best respected there ever was.” (p.251) Relationship “That day John helped his papa hard-working rebuild the porch he had busted…”(p. 244) Changes “…that baby jumped out of his tall tale hero mama’s arms and started growing.”p.242) Vocabulary Skill: Multiple-Meaning Words Many words have more than one meaning. To decide which meaning of a word is being used, look for clues in the surrounding sentences or paragraph. Use context clues, experience, and word order to decide on the correct meaning of a multiple-meaning word. Click on the title to practice this skill. Research Skill – Card Catalog/Library Database To find books in the library, you can use the card catalog or library database. You can search for a book by author, title, or subject. When searching by author, always use the author’s last name first. When searching for what a book is about, always use the subject of the book. If you only know the title, always look for the title first. More Good Stuff ABC Spelling words John Henry Stories More About Tall Tale More on John Henry Create your own tall tale Reading Test Spelling Test Weekly Fluency Check Improve Read with Expression ● Students should vary reading pace to match the action of the story. Because of the exaggeration and vivid language in tall tales, the pace and intensity of the story are often at high levels. ● Reflect this pace through stressed words, loudness and softness, and a slightly quickened reading rate. ● Go to pages 248-249, beginning with “That dynamite. . .” Read to Find Out – Day 1 Pages 241-247 1. 2. 3. What happens when John Henry is born? What jobs does John Henry accomplish the day after he is born? Is this possible or exaggerated? Why do you think John Henry challenges Ferret-Faced Freddy to a race? Read to Find Out – Day 2 Pages 248 - 257 1. 2. 3. 4. How does John Henry succeed in building the road when no one else could do it? How was John Henry different from other newborn babies? How was John Henry like a steam drill? What lesson does this story teach? Writing Assignment Pick one of the following and write it on notebook paper. Pretend to be John Henry and write a diary entry describing one of the events that happened in the story. Write an article for a newspaper or television broadcast that tells about John Henry and his amazing feats. Say It! boulder rhythm glimpse shivered hollered tunnel horizon More Words to Know dynamite parapets sledgehammer boulder a large rock glimpse a short look hollered cried or shouted loudly; yelled horizon the line where the earth and sky seem to meet rhythm any movement with regular repetition of a beat shivered shook with cold, fear, or excitement tunnel an underground passage dynamite a powerful explosive most commonly used in blasting rock parapets low walls or mounds of stone or earth used to protect soldiers sledgehammer a large hammer usually swung with both hands The soldiers hid behind the parapet when the shooting started. The soldiers hid behind the parapet when the shooting started. A large boulder blocked my way out. A large boulder blocked my way out. The workers used dynamite to move the mountain out of the way of the new road. The workers used dynamite to move the mountain out of the way of the new road. The children hollered so loud you could hear them over the roaring of the cars on the street! The children hollered so loud you could hear them over the roaring of the cars on the street. I got a glimpse of the butterfly as it fluttered by the window. I got a glimpse of the butterfly as it fluttered by the window. The sun comes up on the eastern horizon. The sun comes up on the eastern horizon. The rhythm of a heartbeat is very important. The rhythm of the heartbeat is very important John Henry shivered when he got out of the creek. John Henry shivered when he got out of the creek. The train tunnel through the mountain was very dark. The train tunnel through the mountain was very dark. Spelling Words Adding -er and -est smallest deepest largest closest happiest scariest hottest funniest saddest fattest Spelling Words Adding -er and -est smaller deeper larger closer happier scarier hotter funnier sadder fatter This Week’s Word Wall Words Click and type your own words for this week: Let’s review our spelling words. Watch carefully because they will flash on the screen for just a moment. We will clap as we spell the word . . smaller smallest larger largest happier happiest hotter hottest sadder saddest deeper deepest closer closest scarier scariest funnier funniest fatter fattest GREAT JOB!