Tuck Everlasting….continued

In class, we have been doing a close reading of “Tuck Everlasting” for the last few days.  We re-read the Prologue and Chapter 1, annotating when necessary.  It is so amazing to hear my students say, “Wow!  I didn’t even realize that circle had meaning the first time I read it!”  I think they are starting to understand the need to sometimes re-read parts of a book, especially when you want to clarify certain points or respond to the book in writing.  This is a skill they will need to hone as they move through the middle school and high school and one they aren’t explicitly taught at any grade level.  I am having so much fun with it!

Today, we read an excerpt from “Circling Tuck: An Interview with Natalie Babbitt” from Horn Book in 2000.  The interview is wonderful and Babbitt shares a lot of great information with the readers.  My students loved that fact that Babbitt admits that Man in the Yellow Suit only wears a yellow suit because she needed a two syllable word and “nobody wears purple”.  Throughout the book, my students could not figure out why Babbitt has the man wear a yellow suit when yellow usually symbolizes happiness or sunshine.  Needless to say, they think it is hysterical that there is such a practical reason for the color of his suit.

They also loved the fact that Babbitt chose the last name Tuck because in the past, tuck meant life.  This information gave a whole new perspective to the book and the themes that run through it.  Most students noted that this was their favorite fact in the interview.   They had no idea that words sometimes gain and lose meanings as time goes on, and tuck is a word they were previously familiar with. Hearing that an author put that much time and effort into choosing a character’s last name really fascinated them.

It was great sharing Babbitt’s interview with my class.  I could see their knowledge growing and they admitted that even though the book started slowly, they are so glad they gave it a chance because, “It really is an awesome book, Miss M.”!  YES!!!

11 Responses

  1. i didn’t really enjoy tuck everlasting when i first read it, but i think i have to read it again after reading your post. i’m as amazed as your students! 🙂

  2. I really didn’t enjoy Tuck the first time I read it, either. It was after going back and re-reading it that I grew to love it. 🙂

  3. TUCK EVERLASTING is a thought provoking novel. I think it is wonderful that your students are learning that re-reading parts of a book or responding in writing will help them to understand. They are lucky to have you for a teacher.

    When I first read TE as a graduate student studying reading education, I didn’t like the ending. In fact I argued with my professor that the ending was not necessary. Now, with 20 years experience in education, I have a different perspective. Winnie had to make the choice that she did, or the cycle of life would have been interrupted.

    Kudos to you for helping your students discover the joy of literature.


  4. It’s funny, Trina, because my students were just debating the ending of TE. About half the class saw it as a “happy ending” while the other half felt strongly that it was not a happy ending.

  5. I just stumbled on your website today from a link on “A Year of Reading” What a great resource! I love your booklists as I too teach sixth grade. I’m getting ready to teach Tuck Everlasting for the first time. Do you have any suggestions or helpful tips?

  6. I just watched Tuck Everlasting for the first time, and at the ending cried and cried and cried.
    I think that the ending sucks big time.
    Why’d they have to go and make it so darn sad?

    I know that there is a point to it and there is a really strong message in it, but i’m kind of a romantic and would rather stay naive, and believing that love still conquers all.

    It’s kinda sad when you think about it.

    : )

  7. i love twlight
    and tuck everlasting

  8. i saw the movie tuck everlasting yesterday.i really really liked jesse n winnie pair.it was a bit(not bit a lot) sad at the ending.but it realy made me understand that death is inevitable n one shouldnt fear for it….ITS A GR8 PHILOSOPHY YAAR!!

  9. I think tuck everlasting has a sad ending and that jesse + Winnie = true love!!!!! how cute!!!

  10. Reblogged this on The Reading Zone and commented:

    In honor of the 40th anniversary of Tuck Everlasting, one of my all-time favorite books, here is a blast from the past post. Back in 2007 I was teaching 6th grade and Tuck was the first novel I read with my students.

  11. Reblogged this on Great Mentor Texts and commented:
    These are great insights into doing close reading with a class.

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