PICTURE BOOK LESSON PLAN
GUIDED ANTI-BIAS/ANTI-RACIST READING | GRADES K+
This is a reading guide designed to accompany Smriti Prasadam-Halls and David Litchfield’s picture book Rain Before Rainbows. We recommend that grownups read the focus book and the reading guide content BEFORE reading with young readers. This guide will help you prepare your own questions for your young readers and choose vocabulary, history, and other related topics to integrate into your learning and discussion.
Lesson content was written by Zapoura Newton-Calvert and was designed to start or deepen anti-racist and anti-bias conversations in families and other learning communities. The editing team for this lesson included Kaitlyn Knebel, Michaela Barton, and Chloe Evans.
WATCH THE READ ALOUD
A young character is accompanied by her fox friend as she journeys through rain, darkness, mountains, and more. Fears and obstacles face the two but they continue on following the footsteps and ideas of those who went before them gathering friends as they go and finally reaching a beautiful sunny meadow.
This story is about the challenges and hardships we all will face and how our friends and ancestors can help us continue on with their company, wisdom, and experience. We see how community and memory can show us the way through tough times and the process of rain and seed planting can result in a beautiful garden.
This guided reading lesson is designed to be part of a larger life-long commitment to anti-racist reading and learning for the student and the facilitator. Reading Is Resistance sees reading as an opportunity to seed deeper conversations and opportunities for action around racial equity in our communities. We hold the belief that being anti-racist is a process of learning (and unlearning) over time.
The Learning for Justice Social Justice Standards (focused on Identity, Diversity, Justice, and Action) serve as guides for our work.
LEARNING FOR JUSTICE STANDARDS REFERENCED
The Learning for Justice Standards and Domains referenced in this lesson are for Grades K-2. This book, however, can be used with a wide range of ages. Standards and Domains featured in this lesson are as follows:
Radical Imagination: “Radical: forming the root; Imagination: the force that creates seeds of emergence”
Diversity Standard, Domain #6: I like being around people who are like me and different from me, and I can be friendly to everyone.
Justice Standard, Domain #15: I know about people who helped stop unfairness and worked to make life better for many people.
Action Standard, Domain #20: I will join with classmates to make our classroom fair for everyone.
READ + DISCUSS QUESTIONS
Look at the front cover of the book. What do you notice? From the title and the picture, what do you imagine the book is about? RADICAL IMAGINATION
What do you know about rainbows? What do they represent? How do they appear? How do you feel when you see a rainbow? RADICAL IMAGINATION
The main character has a fox friend as a companion. If you could have an animal companion to go with you on an adventure, which animal would you choose? Why? RADICAL IMAGINATION
As you read through the main character’s journey in rain, across mountains, and more, pause a few times and sit with one of the pictures. What do you see? How does the picture make you feel? If you were the main character, how would you feel? If you were the fox, how might you feel? RADICAL IMAGINATION
When the fox and the main character reach the shore after they get through the big storm, who do they meet? Who joins them in their journey? How many different kinds of creatures do you see? How does the main character react to other animals joining her and the fox on their journey? DIVERSITY DOMAIN #6
What do you think this sentence means: “there are footsteps to follow and words that are wise. There’s a map that will guide us when troubles arise”? JUSTICE DOMAIN #15
At the end of the book, the main character and fox are celebrating with a large group of animal friends. What are they celebrating? How did the group work together to get to such a beautiful garden in the last scene? ACTION DOMAIN #20
Have you ever faced a challenge? This could be a fear, a storm, or something else. How did you overcome this challenge? Did any animal, human, or imaginary friends help you through? Did sunshine, rainbows, or any other kind of nature help you through? How do you feel when you overcome a challenge and get to the rainbow after the rain? REFLECTION
RESOURCES & ACTIVITIES
These are optional resources that can extend your learning started in the focus book. Take some time to peruse, enjoy, imagine, and learn.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR & ILLUSTRATOR
OUTDOOR ART ENGAGEMENT IDEAS
The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by Rafael López
Share Your Rainbow: 18 Artists Draw Their Hope for the Future, introduction by R.J. Palacio
Drum Dream Girl by Margarita Engle and illustrated by Rafael López ( lesson plan here)