Traveling with Tulip

Looking for some end of year ideas to fill those last few days of school?

Here’s a fun and easy read aloud by author Cynthia Rylant that you can use to spark conversation about summer travel plans.  And because of the repeating language and beautiful imagery, it’s a no-brainer to connect this to a follow-up writing lesson.

Note to parents: Try reading this book at home and then using the attached handout Tulip Sees America as a summer writing activity.  A great way to document your summer travels in a meaningful, authentic way!

Possible Writing Objective: Use descriptive details to describe a setting

Possible Reading Objective: Create mental images to support comprehension

The Book: Tulip Sees America, by Cynthia Rylant

Before Reading (intro and possible language)

“This is about a boy who never goes anywhere as a child.  When he grows up, he decides to travel across the country in his VW Beetle with his dog Tulip.  (Show different states on map: Ohio, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Oregon, Nevada, Colorado).  In each place, he notices something different about the setting.  As you listen, put your thumb up if you get a picture in your mind because of the details that the author uses to describe each state.”

During Reading: 

Stop to discuss parts of the text that stand out to the students.  Try one turn and talk: “What images stayed with you on this page?” or “Share your mental movie with a partner.”

After Reading:

Make a list of the descriptive words that the author used to describe each state.  If time allows (or during another lesson), try out the writing extension (see attached) Tulip Sees America.  The students can write their own “Tulip Sees America” stories based on a place that they have visited.

Disclaimer: I read this recently with some second graders and they got a good chuckle from the Nevada section.  I won’t give it away but be sure to preview that part before you read!






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