I love using the book, Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen, to teach symbolism! I heard about this book from Holly Hill, a the third grade teacher who works at my school. I was so excited to read Extra Yarn because I am a HUGE of both these authors!
Read this book to your students all the way through once. It is such a magical book! You don’t want to break up your first read with a lot of jotting or Q&A. Then, reread the book with your students and discuss the yarn. Perhaps you even want to bring a ball of yarn to class? Talk about yarn. What is the purpose of yarn? How do people use yarn? What is made of yarn? See some sample responses below.
Move this discussion to symbolism. What does the yarn represent? What does it symbolize in the text? Sample responses might be: “The yarn symbolizes kindness and generosity.” “The yarn symbolizes creativity.” “The yarn symbolizes community and giving back to the community.”
Have you used Extra Yarn? Please share with us!
Typically found wearing mismatched socks, Dana Johansen spends her time teaching fifth grade in Connecticut, negotiating with her yellow lab about doggy dinner options, and plopping down on the floor in bookstore aisles to find new reads. She has taught elementary and middle school for fourteen years. Dana is a doctoral student at Teachers College, Columbia University where she studies blended learning in reading and writing workshop.