A Year of Great Third Grade Read Alouds: September & October

Dear Mr. Henshaw

A book about a kid who loves to write…sigh….

Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Clearly (Level Q)

Summary of the Book

“Leigh Botts has been author Boyd Henshaw’s number one fan ever since he was in second grade. Now in sixth grade, Leigh lives with his mother and is the new kid at school. He’s lonely, troubled by the absence of his father, a cross-country trucker, and angry because a mysterious thief steals from his lunch bag. Then Leigh’s teacher assigns a letter-writing project. Naturally Leigh chooses to write to Mr. Henshaw, whose surprising answer changes Leigh’s life.”

Why This Book Is Great

The interesting thing with this book is that it’s written entirely in the form of letters and/or a journal entries. At first, the main character is a bit of a mystery and even starts off with a very cranky tone. We learn more about the character with each letter by picking up on clues and piecing his comments together. The book address some common family troubles (divorce, lack of money, loneliness) in a straightforward way but doesn’t over-simplify them. This is a quick read and Leigh’s dedication to improving his writing craft may just inspire a few of your students!

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