Book of the Week: Diary of a Wombat

Every Monday, I highlight a book from our school bookroom along with lesson plan suggestions. I hope you find this useful, and please leave a comment with any suggestions or additions!

Diary of a Wombat, by Jackie French

Didn’t get enough of wombats from One Wooly Wombat? Take a look at this book by Australian author Jackie French. And if that’s still not enough, the author and illustrator also teamed up to write How to Scratch a Wombat.

Writers Workshop Mini-Lessons

  • The text in this book is pretty minimal, but I’d definitely use it in a writing workshop mini-lesson about avoiding bed-to-bed stories. The wombat’s diary entries start out as bed-to-bed stories, but they become more interesting as he adds details from specific moments in the day.
  • Additionally, Diary of a Wombat was based on an actual wombat living under the author’s house, so it’d be a great way of showing students how their personal narrative ideas can be reused for fiction stories.

There is a CAFE menu included with this mentor text, and I’ve highlighted these as suggested lessons:

Comprehension

  • Use main idea and supporting details to determine importance. The wombat sleeping is mentioned in every entry, but is the main idea of the text necessarily that wombats sleep a lot? This might be a good lesson to use to refine what the main idea is, because a strategy often used in test prep to determine the main idea is to count the number of sentences in the passage that contain a particular idea.

Fluency

  • Adjust and apply different reading rates to match text. French repeats the beginning and end sentence of every entry for comedic effect. Ask students to look at how including pauses or saying these sentences the same way every time can impact the humor of the passage.

Please add any lessons or supplemental materials to the book bag so future teachers can utilize your good thinking!

Comments and constructive feedback are always welcomed. Please let me know if these lessons were useful in your class!

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