Overview: Look out below! Young readers summarize the events in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett. They also access, organize, and evaluate information showing that they comprehend the story.
Subject: English Language Arts: Reading Literature
Grades: 2nd, 3rd, 4th
Duration: 45 minutes
Related Concepts: Summarizing, Retelling, Plot Elements
Students will be able to:
- Identify key elements of a story using a story web.
- Summarize and retell the story, including all key story elements.
Essential Questions: What is a story summary? What are important elements to include when summarizing a story?
Vocabulary: summary, characters, details, plot, conflict, resolution
Common Core Standards Addressed:
- ELA: Reading Literature
- RL.2.1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10
- RL.3.1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10
- RL.4.1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10
- Story maps
- Copy of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
On the board write "My Extreme Weather Story.” Have learners write a paragraph about the most extreme weather they have ever seen, being sure to include a middle, beginning, and end.
Have them turn to a partner and read each others' stories. Call on volunteers to summarize their partners' stories in only one sentence that includes the beginning, middle, and end.
Let the class know that you are going to read Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs aloud. Distribute a story map to each student. Possible story maps can be found here:
Explain that the story map helps them keep track of the most important information they need to remember to be able to summarize a story.
Next, write the name of each part of a story map section (characters, setting, problem, main event and solution, depending on the story map chosen) on the board or a piece of chart paper. Divide students into groups, one for each section of the story map. Let them know as you read the story, they will be responsible to write or draw the information in their section of the story map. (Teacher note: Depending on your students, you may need to stop reading at certain points, and talk about what you have read, so the students add the information to their section of the story map.)
As you read the story, stop to ask questions such as, "Who is in the story so far?" and "What do I know about the setting?" to help the students record information.
If the vocabulary used in the book needs to be reviewed before reading, this resource covers the vocabulary.
Once you have finished the story, tell students that they are going to use their words or pictures to help them summarize Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. Begin the class summary by saying the name of the story and the name of the author and illustrator. Next, call on the "character" group to tell who the main characters are, the "setting" group to tell about the setting, and then on to the other parts. Encourage the groups to describe their part in one or two sentences. Some possible answers would be:
Characters: Henry, Henry's sister, Grandpa, Mom
Problem: The good food stopped falling from the sky and it was replaced by bad food that was too big; the people had to leave their town of Chewandswallow.
Setting: house; Chewandswallow
Solution: The people of Chewandswallow survived in a new town, and at the end of Grandpa's story the children were asleep.
Remind students that when they are summarizing a story to somebody, they need to include the main points and keep it brief. Give each student a blank story web. Let the students know that you want them to write and draw their own summary of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs so that they can summarize the story to you, a friend, or a family member. Depending on the student level, this can be done through drawings or writing.
Once everyone has completed their own story web, have the students find a partner and tell them their summary. Encourage the students to tell their summary to a family member when they arrive home. Review with the class the important parts of the story that should be included when they tell their summaries to their families.
One way to assess the students would be to have each student use story web to give you a summary of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, checking that they have included all the elements and only tell you the most important parts of the story.
The teacher can also assess during the group activity and discussions, whether the students understand the process to identify the correct way to summarize the story.
- Organize student discussions and groups based on the learners level.
- Adjust or fill in story maps, based on where the student is performing.
- Students that are not fluent writers could share their story with an adult,or draw pictures instead of writing, or the pictures could accompany the writing, to help explain their thoughts.
- Advanced students could also write about the theme of the story or write an addition to the story.