This is an example of a DRTA (Directed Reading Thinking Activity) used with William Steig’s The Amazing Bone.  All examples under each step are specific for this particular piece of literature and would be different based on your selection of quality children’s literature. 


  Literature:  Steig, William.  (1984).  The Amazing Bone.  New York:  Houghton Mifflin. 

Targeted Grade Level for this DRTA:  3rd grade 

Step 1:  Motivation and Development of Background

            Develop a “mystery box” with different items and have students put their hands in one at a time to try and figure out what an object is based on the way it feels.  One of the items in the box should be a dog bone.   Another suggestion for activating schema and building background is to go through a "mock" purse and see what someone might have in a purse (wallet, comb, lipstick, keys, etc.). 

Step 2:  Initial Predictions

            Ask students:  What does the word "amazing" mean.  Can you name things that are

            amazing?  Look at the picture on the cover of the book.  Who are two characters you

            would expect to be in the book?  Is the pig a boy or a girl?  Is the pig happy or sad?

            Is the wolf a boy or a girl?  Do you think he is nice or mean?  What time of year

            is it?  How do you know?  What is in the pig's purse?

Step 3:  Set purpose for initial reading

            Read from pages 1 through 7 to find out what the pig finds in the woods.

            What amazing talents did it have?

Step 4:  Designate all stops, what questions you would ask to prompt for predictions and give purposes for reading.

1.  Read from page 7 to 11 to find out what scary thing happens to Pearl.

     How would you feel if someone tried to steal something from you?

     What should you do if some approaches you and asks for something of yours?

     What do you think Pearl will do?

2.  Read pages 12 and 13 to see what happens with Pearl and the robbers.

     Why did Pearl and the bone laugh?

     Do you think they will be involved in another adventure?  What will it be?

3.  Read pages 14 through 17 to see if another character seen on the cover of the books

     shows up and what part he plays.

     Why wasn't the fox afraid of the bone?

     What do you think will happen when the fox gets Peal and the bone to his house?

4.  Read 18 through 23 to find out what happens to Pearl when Fox tries to eat her.

     What did the bone do to save her?  Where did he learn that trick?

     Could Pearl trust her parents with the truth?  Would you be afraid to tell your

     parents something you did not think they would understand?

Step 5:  List 1 reading skill you could focus on with this story.

             Sequencing or characterization would work well with this piece of literature. 

Step 6:  How would students practice this skill.

             Students might draw pictures on cards to represent different things that happen in the

             story and then practice sequencing the cards.  Students might volunteer to “play” certain

             characters in the book and act out the story. 

Step 7:  Enrichment activities.
             Students could compare and contrast this book with other books that involve wolves as

             evil characters.  Students could read other books by William Steig and build a display 

             board of his books, complete with student comments and activities based on the books

            (students would invent the activities).

For another example of a DRTA based on Koala Lou written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Pamela Lofts, visit this site:

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