Hatchet Novel Study Unit

Hatchet is a great choice for your students’ literature circle or book club. It is an engaging survival story that captures readers from the early chapters. This no-prep Hatchet Novel Study Unit helps students build comprehension skills through this award-winning survival story by Gary Paulsen without handing them a sheet of questions that just ask them to spit back the text.

I have updated this many times, but it was one of the first novel study units I ever did with my students! The activities fit well in lit circles and book clubs and allow for easy differentiation in a whole group novel study or as a follow-up to a read-aloud. Afterward, you can even do some STEM challenges to give students experience with wilderness survival.

Hatchet Novel Study pdf

What’s included in this Hatchet novel study unit?

This novel study guide focuses on comprehension and vocabulary. It includes four weeks worth of lessons and paper-saving printables including:

  • Instructional guide with daily comprehension skill, objective, and key Tier 2 & text-based vocabulary
  • Comprehension trifolds (provided in color and black & white)
  • Reader’s Notebook Comprehension Prompts (matching trifolds)
  • Word of the Day Text-based Vocabulary flip books
  • Trifold answer keys for easy grading
Buy the Hatchet Novel Study

Comprehension skills addressed in this novel study

I carefully selected Hatchet’s trifolds and notebook prompts to align with the text and comprehension skills that often need repeated practice.

The skills in this Hatchet novel study include:

  • Analyzing text quotes, characters, and setting
  • Problem and solution
  • Point of view
  • Cause and effect
  • Making inferences
  • Summarizing
  • Text-dependent writing
  • Vocabulary analysis & context clues
  • Author’s craft – the use of flashback
  • Analysis of character change

Each day focuses on a single comprehension skill. I did this to enable you to dive deep into the skill and ensure your students understand and can apply their knowledge to the text.

Hatchet Novel Study Unit

These prompts encourage higher-level thinking. Students must apply the skill to generate a written response and defend their answers with text evidence.

This analysis of the Hatchet plot enhances understanding and develops applicable comprehension strategies for other texts.

How do readers practice comprehension?

The daily comprehension prompts are provided in two formats. I picked each format to minimize the required copies while still providing materials for student use.

Here are the benefits:

The trifold format was the original design for this novel study.

Each foldable was designed to cover a week’s worth of comprehension using only one piece of paper.

You’ll assign students a one question daily that focuses their reading on the daily comprehension skill.

Hatchet Novel study comprehension questions

The benefit of the trifold format is that it is extremely approachable to students. Each day only takes up a third of the page, keeping reluctant writers from shutting down.

This also makes it easy to collect and grade. Many students use the trifold as a bookmark, helping prevent missing papers.

Click to learn more about the trifold novel study format.

The Reader’s Notebook prompts are ideal for advanced students who require additional space for in-depth analysis or longer written responses.

Furthermore, these prompts encourage advanced readers to provide more detailed answers, stimulating critical thinking and the ability to defend their viewpoints.

Additionally, students with dyslexia, dysgraphia, and fine motor issues can also benefit from the notebook prompts. By gluing the prompts onto specialized paper or within a notebook, these students gain extra room to respond, accommodating those with larger handwriting.

Hatchet Novel Study Comprehension Questions

Regardless of the format you pick, the prompt is the same so you can easily have some students working on the trifolds while others use the notebook prompts.

What academic vocabulary is included in the novel study?

The guide for this novel includes over 50 academic vocabulary words.

These include general academic vocabulary and skill-specific vocabulary. Below, you can see a sample of the terms included:

General vocabulary:

  • analyze
  • evaluate
  • interpret
  • generate
  • concise
  • composition

Skill specific vocabulary:

  • context clue
  • summary and main idea
  • inference
  • protagonist
  • point of view
  • synopsis

Why do you include academic vocabulary?

Academic language, also known as Tier 2 vocabulary, presents a significant obstacle to student success in school.

Moreover, the research on the impact of academic vocabulary is clear, and we must explicitly teach these words to our students.

To make it easy, I outline key Tier 2 words for each skill. By doing so, you can easily include these words in your novel study discussions.

Additionally, it means you can explicitly teach students their meaning if you are working with struggling students or English Language Learners (ELLs).

Many teachers pre-teach this vocabulary to help struggling students start the text on equal footing with their peers.

Text-based vocabulary in Hatchet

In addition, each lesson includes a text-based vocabulary word that can be found within the day’s reading.

Some of the text-based words in this Hatchet guide include:

  • remnants
  • embedded
  • crude
  • exasperation
  • rectify

These words can be taught using the flipbook format. Designed with copies in mind, this format uses one piece of paper per week.

Hatchet Novel Study vocabulary

The Word of the Day Flip Book is designed for use in reading journals.

To use the flip books, your students cut around the flip book, cut the tabs, and glue it into their notebook. Have students leave the tabs unglued so they can be lifted. This allows students to write under them.

Depending on your students, you can have them write a definition of the day’s word or create a list of synonyms and antonyms.

You can even have students draw a picture of the meaning.

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen Novel Study Vocabulary and Comprehension

How to buy this novel study for Hatchet

Hatchet Novel Study Activities

The Hatchet novel study unit can be bought directly or from my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Shop Differentiated Teaching Hatchet novel study


Purchase from Teachers Pay Teachers

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply