Reading Roadmaps - Lentil

Monday, March 7, 2016

Ok, so I totally have a new thing I have to tell you about! I plan to write a more specific post about it, but this bit of fun we had with it will have to do for now. Not long ago a friend sent me the link to Reading Roadmaps and Teaching the Classics. Teaching the Classics is a DVD seminar taught by Adam Andrews. Being the bibliophile that I am I was all about learning more about how I could better teach literature to my kids. I was a literature major myself, but I'm not sure I knew how to teach it well. I have watched the DVDs once so far. I'm going to watch them again before I say too much more about them here, but I can tell you so far that I loved them. I loved the passion with which Adam shared and how he explained the reasons for why we want to teach literature in the first place.

Center for Literature also has other products. One of them is Reading Roadmaps which is basically their book list for k-12 that gives you a book list and a skeleton for what to discuss with each book. I just got it in the mail a little while back and have already jumped right in. Like I said, there is much more to be said, but I want to share how we used it this week because it was so fun! TtC uses picture books for the first few weeks of the year. These books are used from K-12 to illustrate different literary devices and themes. I would have never thought to do that with bigger kids, but it is fantastic! Their thinking is that those elements are far more easily deciphered in a children's book than a more difficult piece of literature. As they learn in these more simple, yet wonderful, children's books it makes these elements easy to find. Brilliant!

One of the first books on the Reading Roadmaps 4th grade book list is Lentil. If you've followed me a while you know I love Five in a Row. This is also one of the Five in a Row Volume 1 books. We never made it though all of the books, so it was especially fun that this was on the RR list. I wasn't ready to let go of picture books just yet, and this gives me a wonderful reason to use them.

Lentil is the story of a young boy that loves music. He wants to sing, but nothing but a horrible sound comes out. He can't even whistle. He just can't for the life of him pucker his lips.

The literary device we were looking for in Lentil was Onomatopoeia. Lentil is the absolute perfect example of Onomatopoeia! There are quite a few examples in this book which of course makes it especially fun to read. Since we have read this book looking for different elements, I'm already seeing Silas pay attention to those details in other books. As we add more devices to his understanding (and mine for that matter) I think we will see literature with fresh eyes. It is cool to already see the benefits with only having read the first few books.

Lentil isn't content to live out his fate as a music-less child. He saves up his money to buy a harmonica.

I just simply couldn't resist buying my boy one too. This is the one we got HERE.

We learned that harmonica's actually make great cat calls. The kitty was following him around like he was the pied piper.

This was Silas's first run at harmonica playing.

Teaching the Classics teaches us to look for all kinds of story elements. In this story the protagonist is Lentil. The obvious antagonist or villain is Old Sneep. He doesn't like anyone and is the town grump. News has it that a special guest will be visiting Alto, and Old Sneep isn't impressed. As the town starts buzzing with excitement over the arrival of Colonel Carter, Old Sneep sits on a rooftop looking down while "Shlurp"ing on a lemon. I won't give the whole story away, but it is definitely worth having on your shelf!

When life gives you lemons...You make a whole lot of lemon food! Y'all know I don't pass up an opportunity to cook our way through books. We invited over our good friends who graciously accepted our spontaneous invitation.

Serendipitously, my mom gave us a citrus juicer a while back. I never needed it more than I did this weekend. Silas and Aedan helped me juice the lemons the night before our lemon extravaganza. They thought this was pretty fun. We juiced all the lemons the night before our guests arrived.

Even after 2 full bags of lemons we barely made 3 cups of juice. I had to send my very patient husband to the store to pick up a third bag. Bless that man. The Lord knows how much I would appreciate a hunter-gatherer. We needed a LOT of lemon juice for our lemon lunch.

We of course had to make lemonade!

I made a simple syrup with 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water. To that I added one cup of lemon juice and topped it with water. We also had iced tea. Mixing lemonade and iced tea makes for a delicious drink too!

Since we were reading Lentil, I took my FIAR cookbook off the shelf. There were 3 recipes - One for lemonade, one for lemon chicken and one for lemon bars. All of them were delicious. The lemon chicken is marinated in lemon juice and breaded with flour, lemon pepper and Parmesan. Delish! We also had Pioneer Woman Mashed Potatoes, a simple salad and fresh fruit. Food is always way better when shared with friends!

Our friends had their kids listen to the story online before they came, so they knew why in the world everything was made with lemons! When old Sneep was sucking on his lemons it made everyone pucker.

Of course I needed to have all these boys test out the lemons. Mine might have been a lil' more dramatic as you will see :)

Sour things are always made better by a little bit of sweet. These lemon bars were made from the recipe in the FIAR cookbook as well. They had a thicker crust than my recipe, but it was very flaky. I may have to use this one from now on.

I can't wait to share more about Teaching the Classics and Reading Roadmaps. I'm still figuring it out myself, but I have learned so much already. If anything I recommend you take a look at the book list itself. There are many wonderful book choices if you need some inspiration. I'm inspired to do a better job of teaching lit than I have in the past. I'm so thankful to have found such an excellent tool. I only wish I had found it sooner!


  1. So fun! Lentil was the book we had slatted to do next in FIAR, and I also bought my little ones a harmonica! We will have to try that lemon chicken.

  2. Such a great book! You have to have a harmonica after reading this book :) The chicken was really good. Marinating it in lemon gave it a much better flavor.

  3. Oh the memories of our row with this book. The beauty of FIAR, is it covers all this and more. It always seems like its too simple, but as you just shared in this post, it covered a 4th grade literary device so device. Another reason that I have no problem using FIAR with older children much to glean in their selections of books.

    1. SO true! FIAR really covers so much. It is really neat finding the books on the RR list and using them in a new way but still having FIAR fun too :) Next year's 5th grade list has a few books FIAR books on the list too. I'm so excited to learn a new way to approach these wonderful books.

  4. Those cute puckers made me smile! What fun. Your food tho - yummy! Looks so good and yes, always more fun with friends. I love rowing for that part alone - inspiration to cook (ha) but yes wonderful lessons in each book. I love how RR takes those to a new level for older grades. I need to get it for when I do FIAR with Bo so I can include Malachi and Eliana in on the lessons. Thank you for sharing!

  5. My food is always obnoxious on stuff like this ha! I use these books to give me a chance to cheat. RR has been a neat way to take a different look at these books, but still have the chance to be inspired to have fun too :)


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