• Written by: Helen Frost
  • Age Range: 10 – 14 years
  • Grade Level: 5 – 9
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Square Fish; Reprint edition (December 1, 2015)

Summary: Salt is the story of two young boys, James and Anikwa, an American and a Native American, during 1812. James and his family are respectful of the Native Americans and their culture, but not everyone is. When the war threat of the British backing the Natives becomes serious, everyone must pick a side, including the two best friends. Written in a free form poem form the story comes to life with every line.

5 keywords: Poetry, Free-Verse, Historical Non-Fiction, American History, Colonial America. 

Common Core State Standard: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.5.3.B
Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, description, and pacing, to develop experiences and events or show the responses of characters to situations.

Suggested Delivery: Audiobook read aloud

Electronic Resources: Use this before reading the book. It is a book trailer for the story and can provide background information

This Myaamia dictionary website can be used during reading to ensure that students are understanding vocabulary.

Website: This is a link to the audiobook for Salt.

Key Vocabulary: 

Brine – Salty water that preserves food

Cattails – A tall plant that grows in wet places (looks like a corndog)

Stockade – A tall barrier that aims to protect a place

Snares – A trap for small animals

Unusual – Not regular

Provisions – Supplying something

Washbasin – A large bowl of water for washing faces

Kindling – Twigs and paper that start a fire and burn easily

Before: Prior to reading this verse novel students will watch the book trailers that show what life was like in 1812. This will give students some historical context of the book and will help understand what is happening in the story. Discuss this map with students as well. This will give students the schema of where tribes were located during this time. 

During: While reading students will use the Myaamia dictionary to clarify any vocabulary they do not understand. The book on tape will also help with the fact that students can listen for clarification and context of words they cannot easily decode. Students will be asked to keep a page in their writing journal for difficult Native American words they do not understand.

After: After reading students will analyze different verses from the novel to gain some insight to inferential comprehension. Many of the verses are written in the way that foreshadow what is going to happen, and students may not pick up on. There are examples on page 33, 35, 45, and 86. Through analyzing this foreshadowing and lines that have many inferences, students can develop the skills of inferential comprehension.

Writing Activity: The writing activity for the students will consist of writing their own free verse poem about the story. This should reflect on the style of the story and include information about the characters to show literal and inferential comprehension of the text. Poetry is emotional in nature and the students understanding of the emotional bond between the characters should come through in their poems.


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