THE POLAR EXPRESS activities READING COMPREHENSION - Book Companion read aloud (2024)

Save yourself time and engage your students with these The Polar Express activities. This jam-packed book companion is quick and easy to use - Just print and go!

Read on to learn more about all that is included in this standards-based interactive read aloud packet based on the children’s book, The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg.

TO SAVE YOU TIME, WE'VE DONE ALL OF THE WORK FOR YOU!

1. We chose vocabulary words & kid-friendly definitions.

2. We selected mentor sentences & specific grammar skills for each.

3. We wrote 30 book-based writing prompts (that cover 10 genres of writing).

4. We identified an SEL focus / character education topic based on events in the story.

5. We constructed strategy-based reading comprehension questions and created no-prep, print-and-go reader response worksheets.

YOU ONLY NEED TO DO 3 QUICK & EASY STEPS:

Simply customize your The Polar Express lesson plans using the ideas in the teaching guide and choose from the 15 standards-based activities.

Prep can be as simple as printing the activity pages (or assigning the included digital version) and finding a free video of the book being read aloud online.

OPTIONAL: If you want to dive deeper into a book study, you’ll find our teaching ideas and slides make it easy to create mini-lessons, anchor charts, and slideshows.

Engage your students with an interactive read aloud by reading or streaming the picture book. Practice reading comprehension strategies with text-based discussion questions. We even wrote the The Polar Express comprehension questions for you!

Some teachers like to assemble and assign independent work packets. Others prefer to dive deeper into the story with vocabulary, grammar, SEL, and writing lessons that can span over several days.

The best thing about our 500+ book companions is the flexibility they provide you. We’ve packed them with a variety of teaching ideas and activities so you have the option to use them in the way that works best for you and your students!

We have over 500 picture book companions to choose from? ➔ ➔ SEE THEM ALL HERE

THE POLAR EXPRESS BOOK COMPANION FOCUSES ON:

◼️READING SKILLS

☐ making inferences

☐ visualizing

☐ analyzing character

☐ plot | problem - solution

☐ author's purpose

◼️GRAMMAR

☐ base words

☐ articles

☐ adverbs

☐ prepositions

◼️SEL

☐ feelings

THE POLAR EXPRESS SUMMARY

The Polar Express is a magical story about a late night train ride to the North Pole. On Christmas Eve the main character lays quietly in his bed hoping to hear Santa, however he hears the train instead. The boy runs outside and learns it is headed to the North Pole. On board, he and other children enjoy cocoa in their pajamas as the train moves through the night.

When they arrive at the North Pole, the children learn one person will be chosen to receive the first gift of Christmas. The main character is chosen and he asks Santa for a bell from his sleigh. When the children are back on the train and heading home, everyone wants to see the bell. When the boy reaches into his pocket for it, he realizes there was a hole in his pocket! The bell is gone!

The next morning, the boy opens Christmas presents with his family. His younger sisters hands him the last gift and the boy is surprised to see the bell. There was a note from Santa explaining he found it on the sleigh. As the boy shakes the bell, he and his sister can hear the beautiful sound but his parents cannot. Years pass and soon his sister and friends can no longer hear the bell either. Only those that truly believe will be able to hear the beautiful bell.

HOW THIS RESOURCE SAVES YOU TIME and IMPROVES STUDENT LEARNING:

♥ The comprehension questions are grouped by reading strategies for easy lesson planning.

♥ It is standards-based and covers all aspects of language arts instruction.

♥ The activities were designed to be open-ended for easy differentiation and modification.

THE BOOK COMPANION PACKET CAN BE USED FOR:

→ sub plans

→ reader's workshop

→ guided reading

→ small group instruction

→ independent work

→ literacy centers

→ informal assessment

→ writer's workshop

→ RTI

→ word study

→ guidance lessons for social emotional learning

→ for remote learning, distance learning, or paperless work in the classroom

INCLUDED READ ALOUD LESSON IDEAS & PICTURE BOOK ACTIVITIES:

Comprehension Questions categorized by reading strategy; text-dependent

Social Emotional Learning guidance lesson ideas & discussion topics based on the story

Vocabulary Activities with kid-friendly definitions

Grammar Topics selected to align with the text

Focus Sentences use the book & author's craft as a mentor text to improve writing

Lesson Planner summary, background info and planning space

Story Mapping Printable identify character, setting, problem and solution

Making Words Activity Page use any word from the book

Focus Sentence copy work, identifying elements of the sentence, rewriting

Design a New Book Cover demonstrate understanding of the text by creating an illustration

Predicting Activity primary-ruled and wide-ruled versions

Summarizing Somebody → Wanted → But → Then → Finally

Comparing and Contrasting using a Venn Diagram

Cause and Effect analyze how events affect one another

Visualization illustrate visualizations from the story and support thinking with text-based evidence

Making Connections identify text-to-self, text-to-text, and text-to-world connections

Thematic Writing Paper Use with the Writing Prompts... Makes a Great Bulletin Board

2 Sequencing Activities First → Next → Then → Last and Beginning → Middle → End

2 Vocabulary Activities Vocabulary Booklet and Word Mapping

2 Character Trait Activities listing traits and supporting traits with text-based evidence

30 Text-Based Writing Prompts 3 prompts for each of the following types of writing:

  • narrative
  • persuasive / opinion
  • descriptive
  • expository / informative
  • creative / story writing
  • procedure / how-to
  • list making
  • letter / postcard writing
  • poem
  • book reviews

INCLUDED DIGITAL ACTIVITIES:

5 Teaching Slides with clipart from the story to use for instruction (add questions, vocabulary, instructions, etc)

15 Student Pages for use in Google™️ Classroom or as editable files to create customized printables

The 20 slides above can be exported to be used with PowerPoint, Seesaw™️, or another platform.

THESE BOOK COMPANIONS HAVE BEEN USED AND LOVED BY. . .

→ classroom teachers

→ school librarians / media specialists

→ reading specialists

→ homeschool families

→ special education teachers

→ ELL / ESOL teachers

→ school counselors

→ speech language pathologists

→ reading interventionists

→ literacy coaches

→ substitute teachers

VISIT OUR LET'S GET CONNECTED PAGE TO CHOOSE FROM . . .

◼️THE EMAIL CLUB → weekly freebies

◼️FACEBOOK GROUP → a supportive community of elementary teachers

◼️THE TPT STORE → new resources 50% off

◼️THE BLOG → teaching tips and ideas

◼️INSTAGRAM → a look behind the scenes

STANDARD ALIGNMENT FOR ALL STARTS WITH A STORY BOOK COMPANIONS

This resource can be used to teach any state standards. We aligned it with the CCSS, TEKS, and FLORIDA B.E.S.T. STANDARDS below.

FIRST GRADE CCSS

  • READING LITERATURE: CCSS.RL.1.1 CCSS.RL.1.2 CCSS.RL.1.3 CCSS.RL.1.4 CCSS.RL.1.7 CCSS.RL.1.9
  • READING FOUNDATIONAL SKILLS: CCSS.RF.1.1 CCSS.RF.1.1a
  • WRITING: CCSS.W.1.1 CCSS.W.1.2 CCSS.W.1.3 CCSS.W.1.5
  • LANGUAGE: CCSS.L.1.1 CCSS.L.1.1a CCSS.L.1.1b CCSS.L.1.1c CCSS.L.1.1eCCSS.L.1.1f CCSS.L.1.1h CCSS.L.1.2a CCSS.L.1.2b CCSS.L.1.2d CCSS.L.1.2e CCSS.L.1.5c CCSS.L.1.6
  • SPEAKING AND LISTENING: CCSS.SL.1.1 CCSS.SL.1.1a CCSS.SL.1.1b CCSS.SL.1.1c CCSS.SL.1.2

SECOND GRADE CCSS

  • READING LITERATURE: CCSS.RL.2.1 CCSS.RL.2.2 CCSS.RL.2.3 CCSS.RL.2.5 CCSS.RL.2.6 CCSS.RL.2.7 CCSS.RL.2.9
  • READING FOUNDATIONAL SKILLS: RF.2.3 RF.2.4.c
  • WRITING: CCSS.W.2.1 CCSS.W.2.2 CCSS.W.2.3 CCSS.W.2.5
  • LANGUAGE: CCSS.L.2.1 CCSS.L.2.1e CCSS.L.2.3 CCSS.L.2.4a CCSS.L.2.6
  • SPEAKING & LISTENING: CCSS.SL.2.1 CCSS.SL.2.1a CCSS.SL.2.1b CCSS.SL.2.1c CCSS.SL.2.2 CCSS.SL.2.3

THIRD GRADE CCSS

  • READING LITERATURE: CCSS.RL.3.1 CCSS.RL.3.2 CCSS.RL.3.3 CCSS.RL.3.4 CCSS.RL.3.5 CCSS.RL.3.6 CCSS.RL.3.7 CCSS.RL.3.9
  • READING FOUNDATIONAL SKILLS: RF.2.3 RF.2.4c
  • WRITING: CCSS.W.3.1 CCSS.W.3.2 CCSS.W.3.3 CCSS.W.3.4 CCSS.W.3.5 CCSS.W.3.10 CCSS.W.3.1a CCSS.W.3.1b CCSS.W.3.1c CCSS.W.3.1d CCSS.W.3.2a CCSS.W.3.2b CCSS.W.3.2c CCSS.W.3.2d CCSS.W.3.3a CCSS.W.3.3b CCSS.W.3.3c CCSS.W.3.3d
  • LANGUAGE: CCSS.L.3.1
  • SPEAKING AND LISTENING: CCSS.SL.3.2 CCSS.SL.3.3 CCSS.SL.3.4

CCSS ANCHOR STANDARDS (ALL GRADES)

  • LANGUAGE:CCSS.CCRA.L.1 CCSS.CCRA.L.2
  • READING: CCSS.CCRA.R.1 CCSS.CCRA.R.2 CCSS.CCRA.R.3 CCSS.CCRA.R.4 CCSS.CCRA.R.9
  • SPEAKING AND LISTENING: CCSS.CCRA.SL.1 CCSS.CCRA.SL.4
  • ANCHOR STANDARDS FOR WRITING: CCSS.CCRA.W.1 CCSS.CCRA.W.2 CCSS.CCRA.W.3 CCSS.CCRA.W.4 CCSS.CCRA.W.5 CCSS.CCRA.W.10

FIRST GRADE TEKS

  • DEVELOPING AND SUSTAINING FOUNDATIONAL LANGUAGE SKILLS: TEKS.1.1.C TEKS.1.1.D TEKS.1.1.A TEKS.1.12.C.iii TEKS.1.12.C.iv TEKS.1.13.B
  • AUTHOR’S PURPOSE AND CRAFT: TEKS.1.10.A TEKS.1.10.B -EKS.1.10.C TEKS.1.10.D
  • COMPOSITION: TEKS1.11.A TEKS.1.11.B.i TEKS.1.11.B.ii TEKS.1.11.D.ix TEKS.1.11.x TEKS.1.11.E TEKS.1.12.A TEKS.1.12.B TEKS.1.12.C
  • COMPREHENSION SKILLS: TEKS.1.6.B TEKS.1.6.C TEKS.1.6.D TEKS.1.6.E TEKS.1.6.F
  • RESPONSE SKILLS: TEKS1.7.A TEKS1.7.B TEKS1.7.C TEKS1.7.D TEKS1.7.E TEKS1.7.F
  • MULTIPLE GENRES: TEKS1.8.A TEKS1.8.B TEKS1.8.C TEKS1.8.D

SECOND GRADE TEKS

  • DEVELOPING AND SUSTAINING FOUNDATIONAL LANGUAGE SKILLS: TEKS.2.1.A TEKS.2.1.C - TEKS.2.1.D TEKS.2.1.E TEKS.2.3.B
  • AUTHOR’S PURPOSE AND CRAFT: TEKS2.10.A TEKS2.10.B TEKS2.10.C
  • COMPOSITION: TEKS.2.11.A TEKS.2.11.D.xi TEKS.2.11.E TEKS.2.12.A TEKS.2.12.BTEKS.2.12.C
  • COMPREHENSION SKILLS: TEKS.2.6.B TEKS.2.6.C TEKS.2.6.D TEKS.2.6.E TEKS.2.6.F TEKS.2.6.G TEKS.2.6.H
  • RESPONSE SKILLS: TEKS.2.7.A TEKS.2.7.C TEKS.2.7.D TEKS.2.7.E TEKS.2.7.F
  • MULTIPLE GENRES: TEKS.2.8.B TEKS.2.8.C TEKS.2.8.D

THIRD GRADE TEKS

  • DEVELOPING AND SUSTAINING FOUNDATIONAL LANGUAGE SKILLS: TEKS.3 .1.A TEKS.3.1.C TEKS.3.1.D TEKS.3.1.E TEKS.3.3.B
  • AUTHOR’S PURPOSE AND CRAFT: TEKS3.10.A TEKS3.10.B TEKS3.10.C
  • COMPOSITION: TEKS.3.11.A TEKS.3.11.D.xi TEKS.3.11.E TEKS.3.12.A TEKS.3.12.B TEKS.3.12.C
  • COMPREHENSION SKILLS: TEKS.3.6.B TEKS.3.6.C TEKS.3.6.D TEKS.3.6.E TEKS.3.6.F TEKS.3.6.G TEKS.3.6.H
  • RESPONSE SKILLS: TEKS.3.7.ATEKS.3.7.C TEKS.3.7.D TEKS.3.7.E TEKS.3.7.F
  • MULTIPLE GENRES: TEKS.3.8.B TEKS.3.8.C TEKS.3.8.D

PRINT CONCEPTS: ELA.1.F.1.1

PHONOLOGICAL AWARENESS: ELA.1.F.1.2

PHONICS AND WORD ANALYSIS: ELA.1.F.1.3, ELA.2.F.1.3, ELA.3.F.1.3

FLUENCY: ELA.1.F.1.4, ELA.2.F.1.4, ELA.3.F.1.4

LITERARY ELEMENTS: ELA.1.R.1.1, ELA.2.R.1.1, ELA.3.R.1.1

THEME: ELA.1.R.1.2, ELA.2.R.1.2, ELA.3.R.1.2

PERSPECTIVE AND POINT OF VIEW: ELA.1.R.1.3, ELA.2.R.1.3, ELA.3.R.1.3

CENTRAL IDEA: ELA.1.R.2.2, ELA.2.R.2.2, ELA.3.R.2.2

AUTHOR’S PURPOSE AND PERSPECTIVE: ELA.1.R.2.3, ELA.2.R.2.3, ELA.3.R.2.3

PARAPHRASE AND SUMMARIZE: ELA.1.R.3.2, ELA.2.R.3.2, ELA.3.R.3.2

COMMUNICATING THROUGH WRITING: ELA.1.C.1.1, ELA.2.C.1.1, ELA.3.C.1.1

COMMUNICATING THROUGH WRITING - NARRATIVE: ELA.1.C.1.2, ELA.2.C.1.2, ELA.3.C.1.2

COMMUNICATING THROUGH WRITING - ARGUMENTATIVE: ELA.1.C.1.3, ELA.2.C.1.3, ELA.3.C.1.3

COMMUNICATING THROUGH WRITING - EXPOSITORY: ELA.1.C.1.4, ELA.2.C.1.4, ELA.3.C.1.4

COMMUNICATING THROUGH WRITING - IMPROVING WRITING: ELA.1.C.1.5, ELA.2.C.1.5, ELA.3.C.1.5

CREATING AND COLLABORATING - TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATION: ELA.1.C.5.2, ELA.2.C.5.2, ELA.3.C.5.2

VOCABULARY - FINDING MEANING: ELA.1.V.1.1, ELA.2.V.1.1, ELA.3.V.1.1

VOCABULARY - MORPHOLOGY: ELA.1.V.1.2, ELA.2.V.1.2, ELA.3.V.1.2

VOCABULARY - CONTEXT AND CONNOTATION: ELA.1.V.1.3, ELA.2.V.1.3, ELA.3.V.1.3

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THE POLAR EXPRESS activities READING COMPREHENSION - Book Companion read aloud (2024)

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