5 Reading Comprehension Skills to Target with Turkey Books

Turkey books and reading comprehension skills activities.

Finding the right books that accurately depict the reading comprehension skills you’re teaching your students can come as a task. One that you may not have the time to complete. Instead, you can rely on tried and true recommendations to ensure you are hitting your targets.

With Turkey season falling during a vital time for essential reading skills, I thought we could dive into 5 reading comprehension skills to target with a set of turkey books that are perfect anchor texts. Plus, a few activity ideas, including a FREE resource below.

{DISCLAIMER: Affiliate links have been used in the post below, but I only share items I use and enjoy!}

4 turkey books pictured on a white background and the words 5 reading comprehension skills to target with turkey books.

Teaching Perspective with the book Turkey Trouble

The tricky part about teaching perspective is that oftentimes, students confuse perspective with character’s point of view. While point of view focuses on the narration of the story, perspective focuses on the character’s thoughts and feelings. 

Students need to be able to understand these differences. The solution is to find a book that clearly draws the line between the two as you are introducing them to perspective.

The book Turkey Trouble and two printables activities for teaching perspective.
Perspective activities pictured above are from the Rooted in Reading: Turkey Trouble unit.

Turkey Trouble by Wendi J. Silvano is one of those books. In this story, a turkey is trying to avoid becoming the main course on Thanksgiving while the farmer is excited to feast. With these two very different ideas on what Thanksgiving means, students have a better chance at articulating a character’s perspective. 

Accompany the book with simple activities that hone in on the differences and drive students toward accurate interpretations.

Teaching Asking Questions with the book Plump and Perky Turkey

We often ask our students a lot of questions while reading, but do we also give them an opportunity to ask questions? Strong readers ask questions all throughout their reading. It helps them to make connections, predict what will happen next, and check for understanding. 

Plump and Perky Turkey book and asking questions printable activities.
Asking questions activities pictured above are from the Rooted in Reading: Plump and Perky Turkey unit.

Allow me to introduce you to the book Plump and Perky Turkey by Teresa Bateman.

While reading A Plump and Perky Turkey, you’ll notice that there is a lot happening in the illustrations. It’s almost as if a second storyline is being told. Students can look closely at the illustrations to ask even more questions about what is going on in the background of the story.

Teaching Analyzing Characters with the book Turk and Runt

Shameless plug here but Turk and Runt by Lisa Wheeler is my FAVORITE turkey book ever! Not only is it just a good read for your classroom, but it has valuable lessons and a storyline that is perfect for teaching students about analyzing characters.

The book Turk and Runt and notebook activities for analyzing characters.
Journal activities for analyzing characters from the Rooted in Reading: Turk and Runt unit.

Turk and Runt is about two brothers who are completely different. Turk is large, athletic, talented, and clueless. Runt is small, nervous, clever, and observant.

With these very clear differences, Turk and Runt make the perfect duo to use in a lesson on analyzing characters. Books with dynamic characters such as these make the comprehension skill of analyzing characters a true breeze!

Turk and Runt book with adjectives printable activity and poster.
Adjective poster and reading comprehension activity from the Rooted in Reading: Turk and Runt unit.

As a bonus, due to the descriptive nature of the characters in the story, you can complement the lesson with practice in naming adjectives. 

Teaching Retelling a Story with A Turkey for Thanksgiving

Retelling a story is a fundamental component of reading comprehension. Turkey books are perfect for developing this skill because there is typically a clear problem and solution. 

The book A Turkey for Thanksgiving with retelling a story bookmarks, poster, and retelling hand reading comprehension skills activity.
Reading activities for retelling a story pictured above from Rooted in Reading: A Turkey for Thanksgiving unit.

When we retell a story, we summarize the main events— describing the key details and demonstrating our understanding of the plot. 

This requires a story with a strong plot and added interest for students. A Turkey for Thanksgiving by Eve Bunting plays to this need well.

As a group of friends gather for Thanksgiving dinner, they notice their friend Turkey is missing. What ensues after is a perfect sequence of events for practicing story retelling.

When young learners understand the key elements of a story retelling, they are building the foundation that will be the base of many other skills. Later on, students will build upon that foundation when it’s time to write a summary, describe plot elements, and outline a story’s structure. 

Reading activities for retelling a story pictured above from Rooted in Reading: A Turkey for Thanksgiving unit.

One strategy we can use with little learners is the Retelling Hand. Students learn that each finger represents a part of a story retell: Characters, Setting, Problem, Events, and the Solution. They can refer back to their Retelling Hand whenever it’s time to verbally recall a story!

Writing a Summary with Any Turkey Book

Summarizing a story is the next step in a story retelling. Students extract the important parts of the text as they organize their story retell. 

One effective summarizing strategy is the Somebody, Wanted, But, So, Then strategy. The key to look out for when choosing books for this comprehension skill is ensuring it’s clear what “somebody” AKA a character wants in the story. 

FREE Turkey Activity for writing a summary.

Turkey books pair well with summarizing because it’s normally very clear what the turkey (or the farmer or the villager) wants! 

Here’s a little breakdown of SWBST:

  • Somebody: Character
  • Wanted: Character Motivation
  • But: Problem
  • So: Events
  • Then: Solution or Ending

If you’d like to learn more about the SWBST strategy, check out these 7 summary activities you’ll love for your students!

In addition, you can access a FREE Turkey Summary Activity like the one pictured above!

Targeting reading comprehension skills is always easier when you have the right books at your disposal. During Fall, Thanksgiving, or any time of the year, turkey books are the perfect solution.

Don’t forget these turkey books and tips for targeting reading comprehension skills, save the image below for later!

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Hi, I'm Amy

Hey, y’all! My name is Amy Lemons and I am passionate about providing students with both engaging and effective standards-based Math and ELA lessons.


Sample a day of Rooted in Reading with these lesson plans and activities for Reading Comprehension, Vocabulary, and Grammar!