Amongst all that feels lost, I am holding onto the magical read aloud moments that still exist. In our quick-paced hybrid model, I am trying to find space where reveling in stories is a possibility. One of those places is our community meetings. Meet Someone New Monday allowed us to introduce ourselves to Ashima Shiraishi, and Talk About It Tuesday invited us to dig into the story arc and deeper meaning of How To Solve a Problem: The Rise (And Falls) of a Rock-Climbing Champion.
We journeyed through the trouble structure of Ashima’s story. As I turned the pages, I asked readers to give me a signal where her trouble starts. One reader identified the problem that “stretched into the sky.” Ashima hadn’t begun her climb yet, but the problem stood before her.
“The trouble kind of gets worse here,” a reader shared as we continued through our picture walk.
“Say more, ” I encouraged. He pointed out that Ashima was thinking about how to solve the problem. Though she hadn’t taken physical action, she was busy being imaginative — using familiarity to tackle the unknown.
As we continued to relive the text by studying the images, readers discovered that there were many attempts and falls. Year after year, the story arc becomes a close friend to fourth graders so this is exactly what I wanted readers to latch onto. Ashima’s trouble resolves in a concise way — standing atop a boulder. What I love about the concluding words is how they serve as an invitation to conquer future trouble.
“Readers, I bet that you figured out this is not just a book about rock climbing. We can learn a lot about Ashima Shiraishi and her journey as a rock climber, but what is this book really about?”
The classroom filled with real life examples such as, “If you are a soccer player trying to score a goal, just keep trying until it happens. Don’t give up!” Our Google Meet chat box repeatedly filled with “Never give up” and “It’s about solving problems.” This is just the entry point I was expecting. With the help of our theme sentence starters, here is where readers nudged themselves:
|It can be hard to solve big problems, but if you give up then you won’t be able to succeed.||In life, there can be lots of different obstacles, but you need to work through them.||You have the ideas within you that you can use to solve your own problems.|
This is a book we will come back to as we get to know story arc in a stronger way. It will also serve as encouragement for learners each and every day.