Now that you have your piece of literature chosen, it's time to start planning your unit. It's now time to choose the themes you will study. Doing this will depend on how much you know about the book you are reading.
I had never read The Secret Garden when I decided that we would do a unit on it. Of course if you have time, you can read the book first and jot down themes as you go. Or, you can easily do an internet search. Why reinvent the wheel? There are hundreds of thousands of people out there who have identified themes from literature and gladly posted about them. After some brief research, I decided that our themes would center around gardening and a full plant study. There was also the underlying theme of friendship and kindness that was going to be included in all of our discussions.
I had read Charlotte's Web in my childhood, and had seen all of the movies about it. I knew that we would want to study farms, pigs, and spiders. And, what do you know, but there was that theme of friendship and kindness again.
Another study we did on the fly this year was on Dr. Suess' The Lorax (this unit was prompted by the recent release of the updated movie, and Earth Day activities highlighted in a TeachersPayTeachers e-mail I had just received). Upon reading the short picture book, I saw that the theme was on the importance of trees to our earth and how just one small person can make a difference in the world. It was easy to build a unit once I recognized these themes.
A lot of times a science topic is a main theme of a piece of literature. But often times, there is highlighted social studies topics and/or character training. These are typically the main themes I search for. You can learn about countries (cultures and geography), careers, animals, architecture, agriculture, community service, generosity, recycling, and the list goes on and on and on. The key is to be open-minded to all you read, and when you see a recurring theme, grab onto it!
Once you have your theme(s) decided, then searching for other books, activities, and events will be a breeze. All you really need is your local library and the web. And we'll learn about that tomorrow.
Remember to leave a comment on yesterday's post, today's post, and every post in this series. It will qualify you to receive my copy of The Secret Garden by Classic Starts (including the cd) and copies of all resources I used in our unit study on the book.
And be sure to go over to the Homeschool Crew anchor post to get other great nuggets of information about a variety of topics.
If you missed Day 1 in this series, you can read it here.