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  • Writer's pictureSarah Hudson

Students Succeed with The Barren Grounds and Misewa Saga

Indigenous award-winning author, David A. Roberston, has put pen to paper, creating a fantastic novel series for mid to upper elementary students. The Misewa saga includes The Barren Grounds, The Great Bear, and The Stone Child, which features Morgan and Eli, foster siblings, who discover a portal to another land. With a dash of, The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe, this Canadian series embarks young readers on a journey into adventure as two the teens, growing up in Winnipeg, travel to a mystical land to save the beings of Misewa.

Entry Points for all Learning Levels

Go beyond basic ‘detail-recall’ comprehension. These novel study guides and student response booklets use comprehension-based activities extending the ideas and activities of Adrienne Gear’s Reading Power. Here's how they work:

Questioning – allowing students to actively engage with the text while critically thinking and classifying types of questions and their relation to the story

Connecting – when students connect with text, they weave their personal experiences with the story, creating a more powerful and intimate understanding

Visualizing - visualizing text requires envisioning details: about the characters, the setting, story situations, and the mood of the situation. Illustrating visualizations allow for students who struggle with language and written output to demonstrate their understanding in a meaningful way. Students’ illustrations of their visualizations allow the viewer an insight into what details resonated with the student that a written sentence answer may not have been able to convey.

Infer – students look for clues to make sense of the text. With guided steps, students search like detectives, looking for clues to deduce what is not written

Transformation - students identify transformation in characters by observing changes in beliefs, perceptions, and behaviours

These comprehension skills, allow students to connect with the literature in a more powerful way than basic information recall. Engaging well-rounded activities allow students to feel successful, fostering a sense of joy and optimism for literacy.

Three Novels in one school year?!

The novel studies are designed to complement each other. Procedures and activities for each chapter are familiar, allowing for independence and student success. Personally, I have read aloud the first novel, The Barren Grounds, to my class as we completed the response booklet together. Next, I intend to move into small group literature circles, where students can choose to read the next novels in the series. They will, independently or with their group, complete the familiar style response booklets successfully, as the process and tasks are already routine.

Final thought

When students feel successful in their learning, and a connection to the content, they are optimistic about being in school. And that is my goal when I create my content. Their joy, becomes my joy. I hope it becomes yours as well.

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