Sunday, December 2, 2012

Maple Tree to Syrup

From Maple Tree to Syrup
written by Melanie Mitchell
2012 (Lerner Books)
Source: Orange County Public Library

Check out Nonfiction Monday at Booktalking

Our second grade class just finished writing "how-to" pieces in Writer's Workshop. Many different elementary grade levels write these pieces and it's good to have some mentor texts available for students to view. From Maple Tree to Syrup is one such book that would be good to use for this purpose. Each two page spread features a topic sentence in bold print followed by supporting details. A full page photograph is on the right side of each spread.  Readers learn in the beginning that a group of maple trees used for making syrup is called a sugar bush. In the spring, holes are drilled in the trees and metal spouts used to collect the sap. Barrels are used to collect the sap and take it to a sugarhouse to be processed. The sap is boiled and turned into maple syrup.

If you are teaching a lesson on sequence and using a flow chart to organize information, this book would be a good text to use. Like I've said before, books like From Maple Tree to Syrup aren't glamorous and will not  be considered for any awards, but they are extremely valuable to classroom teachers and librarians who want to put more nonfiction titles into student hands. Kids have a connection with syrup so they will be interested in this process and can also learn to use nonfiction text features like a table of contents and a glossary and index. The text is simple, so it is easy to focus on teaching comprehension topics like nonfiction text features or main idea and supporting details.


  1. Jeff,

    I really appreciate what you say about books that aren't "glamorous" having their place, too. That said, the book sounds yummy.

    1. Thank you, Roberta! It is indeed a yummy book.


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