The Breaking News by Sarah Lynne Reul

TheBreakingNewsWe all know how pervasive bad news is. We try to shield it from young learners, but they can see our faces full of worry. They watch us read news alerts and hear us whispering with coworkers. Imagine what it must be like for them to see adults so distressed?

Author Sarah Lynne Reul takes an interesting approach to help readers work through dealing with bad news. In her book, The Breaking News, we see a loving family, in their kitchen, filling pots of soil with indoor plants. Their happy moment is disrupted by a report on the television. We don’t know what the news is, but we can tell it’s bad. The following pages show parents, neighbors, children, and an educator full of worry and grief.

It’s sad to think that every child and adult will connect with this story. But they will, and that’s why The Breaking News is an important book. Readers will learn how to make a difference when everyone is upset. They’ll follow the story of a young girl who makes people smile with small gestures. She waters plants, opens drapes, and reads to her brother. She brings goodwill to her neighborhood by planting flower pots and giving them away. These ideas will resonate with young learners as they think about what they can do to make the world a happier place.


Response to Literature

AASL Standards Framework for Learners: Collaborate/Share III.A.3 Learners identify collaborative opportunities by deciding to solve problems informed by group interaction.

Invite learners to read the story by just looking at the illustrations. Ask the following questions:

  • “What do you notice?”
  • “What’s happening in the story that makes you say that?”
  • “What does the girl do to make a difference?”

Divide the class into groups. Ask each group to brainstorm things they can do to make people happier. Invite them to draw an illustration of their ideas. They can draw doodles on sticky notes and add them to a hallway display.

Cover of Lessons Inspired by Picture Books for Primary Grades by Maureen Schlosser and Rebecca Granatini.
If you like these lesson ideas, please take a look at our book, Lessons Inspired by Picture Books for Primary Grades. This resource includes ready-to-go lesson plans that meet the standards. Worksheets, assessments and rubrics are included.

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