Sunday, April 7, 2013

A Train to Somewhere - Making Inferences {Mentor Text}

I'm linking up with Amanda & Stacia at Collaboration Cuties for their mentor text linky. This week the theme is Language Arts.

Train to Somewhere by Eve Bunting is based on the true story of the orphan trains that carried children to the midwest in hopes of finding families to adopt them. It is a heartbreaking book, but also a great way to talk about perseverance and how our dreams can change. 

I used this book as an assessment for making inferences this year, but it could just as easily be used to introduce the concept or for more practice with the skill. 

This story happens to be included in our reading series (this is the only story I use from that book), so it was nice that every child had a copy of the book to read along with. I created a chart for students to use as their assessment. The chart had three columns and they were labeled "What the Author Tells Me", "What I Know", and "My Inference".  As we read I stopped at predetermined places and had them write their inference. My students were really successful with this activity. 

A few years back my teaching partner even assigned each student the name of a real child from the orphan train and then had her students research what happened to the child after they were adopted. The students loved it and it was great motivation for doing research! 

How do you use this book in your classroom? I'd love to get some new ideas for next year!

Click over to Collaboration Cuties to read about other great mentor texts and link up with your own. 


  1. Thanks you for sharing this text--it has some wonderful themes. I adore Eve Bunting, but I have never come across this one, so it is a MUST read for me. Just found your blog through the mentor text link up and have become a follower--will be back to read future posts...

    All the best--
    Sarah @ Hoots N' Hollers

  2. I can't wait to check this book out! I love Eve Bunting. Thanks for the ideas! I'm also a fellow fourthie and your newest follower! :)
    ideas by jivey

  3. I LOVE Even Bunting and I have not heard of this book! It does sound heartbreaking, but I will have to check it out soon! Thanks so much for sharing your ideas and for linking up!!

    Collaboration Cuties

  4. So glad to have found your blog, I'll be teaching 4th next year :) I love the research project idea with this book! Thanks for sharing!

    Teaching Tales Along the Yellow Brick Road


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