For teachers, and students, who like stories, The Lost Colony of Roanoke by Jean Fritz, is a great choice when only a non-fiction book will do. It tells the true story of the colonists who disappeared from Roanoke Island and discusses the theories about what might have happened to them.
This story is full of adventure and mystery with its ocean storms, pirates, and intrigue. Kids who like action stories should love it; it’s definitely not a dry history book. At about 50 pages, it is a fairly short book and includes lots of detailed, interesting illustrations, but it’s mostly text, not a quick picture book. This book is complex enough to work well for reading comprehension practice with non-fiction.
Questions of various types including sequence of events, cause and effect, context clues, and compare and contrast should work well with this text. It is also a good choice for kids to use to answer questions where they are asked to document where they found their answers. Since the book talks about various theories of what happened to the Roanoke settlers, it would also be a good one for sorting facts from opinions.
As a follow-up to this book, students might write their own opinion about what happened to the settlers. A class discussion about the various theories – the settlers all died, they went to live with a Native American tribe, they were the victims of a nefarious plot – would be a good lead-in to the writing assignment. Then the students could each choose their favorite theory and support it with evidence from the book.
As with her other books, Jean Fritz brings history alive for students with The Lost Colony of Roanoke. Good stories like this, whether fiction or non-fiction, make it easy for students to get into reading and writing.
Linked with Reading Toward the Stars for Book Talk Thursday and with Elizabeth-Elle Lifelong Learning for Story Sunday.