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A River Ran Wild

Last updated Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Author: Lynne Cherry
Date of Publication:
ISBN: 0152005420
Grade Level: 3rd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Apr. 2006

Synopsis: In the 15th century, when native people first settled on the banks of the river now called the Nashua, it was a fertile and beautiful place. By the 1960s, the river valley had been ravaged by many years of serious pollution , and fish, birds, and other animals were no longer seen in the area. Through the efforts of Marion Stoddart and the Nashua River Watershed Association, laws were passed that resulted in the restoration of this river and the protection of all rivers. The author gets high marks for documenting the negative impact of industry on the environment and for highlighting the difference one determined person can make. (from School Library Journal)

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Look at the cover of the book. Based on the pictures, when does the story take place?
•  What do you think Los Angeles looked like 500 years ago? What would be different in our environment?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Note the pictures around the words on each page. Ask the students how each item relates to the information on the page.
•  Describe the environment by the river. How did the Indians live?
•  How does the environment change after the trading post? After the settlers? After the industrial revolution?
•  What caused the pollution in the river? Are there places around you that are polluted? What causes pollution?
•  Why did Oweana and Marion decide to save the river? How did they save the river?

Craft ideas:
•  Discuss what other causes there are for pollution. Have students draw posters to stop pollution in their environment.
•  Design your own page similar to the book. Write a short paragraph about why the environment is important and draw pictures around it.

Special activities:
•  Make a rainstick with the students. Bring ahead option: cardboard tube, aluminum foil, and dried beans. Crumple aluminum foil and place inside tube with dried beans. Seal both ends of the tube with paper and tape. Have students decorate.

*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!