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Rain School

Last updated Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Author: James Rumford
Date of Publication: 2010
ISBN: 0547243073
Grade Level: 1st    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: May 2011

Synopsis: From School Library Journal:

In the country of Chad, it is the first day of school. The dry dirt road is filling up with children. Big brothers and sisters are leading the way.” Thomas and the other younger children follow behind their older siblings, bombarding them with eager questions. “Will they give us a notebook? Will they give us a pencil? Will I learn to read like you?” When the children arrive at the schoolyard, they find only their teacher. Working under her direction, they build a school, using a wood frame, a few bricks, and a thatch roof and walls. With that completed, they have their classes. Nine months go by and rain clouds begin to gather. School is over until next year. Along with the rain comes the wind, and over time, the building disappears–washed away. Come September, the process will begin again. The final illustration features a smiling confident Thomas at the forefront, with eager, younger children following behind. The yellow, brown, and burnt orange shades dominate each of the spreads, both as background color and as part the dry, sandy, and hot landscape. The message of the story is clear–while the school structure may be temporary, education is permanent. This book also gives young children a glimpse into the school life of children in another part of the world.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Why are the children running?
•  Have you been stuck in the rain before?
•  Do you like rain?
•  Do you get wet from the rain?


•  Chad (country)- See back page for a map of Africa
•  Saplings
•  Strokes
•  Slump

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What is the first lesson Thomas and his classmates are given?
•  What type of material is the school mostly made of?
•  What materials did the children use to make a roof?
•  Do you think the students enjoyed building their own school?

Craft ideas:
•  Make your own school. Draw an outline of your school, then using popsicle sticks, cotton balls, pipe cleaners (or whatever craft materials available) fill in your school. Students can also use crayons/markers to color in parts of the school. Then, draw you and your classmates surrounding the school.
•  Locate your school. Using the maps provided, have students color in the state where the school is located. Then have the students draw a star to indicate the approximate location of their school.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!