Hatchet makes a great choice for a literature circle or book club with your students. It is an engaging survival story that captures readers from the early chapters. This no prep Hatchet Novel Study Unit helps them students build comprehension skills through this award-winning survival story by Gary Paulsen without handing them a sheet of comprehension questions that just ask them to regurgitate the text.
In addition to being a great fit for lit circles and book clubs, the included activities are easy to differentiate for a whole group novel study or as a follow up to a read aloud.
If you need a copy of the book, you can purchase Hatchet on Amazon. (This link is an
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
Comprehension skills addressed in this novel study
The skills addressed in this novel study include:
- Analyzing text quotes, characters, and setting
- Problem and solution
- Point of view
- Cause and effect
- Making inferences
- Text-dependent writing
- Vocabulary analysis & context clues
- Author's craft through use of flashback
- Analysis of character change
Each day focuses on a single comprehension skill. This was done to allow you to dive deep into the skill and ensure your students truly understand and can apply their knowledge to the text.
These comprehension prompts encourage higher-level thinking. Students must apply the skill to generate a written response and defend their answers with text evidence.
This literary analysis fosters a deep understanding of the plot of Hatchet, but it also builds comprehension strategies that are applicable to other texts.
How do readers practice comprehension ?
The daily comprehension prompts are provided in two formats. Each format was selected to reduce copies needed while still offering materials for student use.
The benefits of each format are outlined below.
The trifold format was the original design for this novel study.
Each foldable was designed to cover a week worth of comprehension using only one piece of paper.
Students are given a single question each day that focuses their reading on the daily comprehension skill.
The benefit of the trifold format is that it is extremely approachable to students. Each day only takes up a third of the page, and this keeps 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.
Want to know more about trifold novel studies? Click here to learn more about the trifold novel study format.
The Reader's Notebook prompts are perfect for students who are advanced and need more space to provide an in depth analysis or need more space to write their response.
For advanced readers, the notebook prompts can be used to generate a longer, more detailed response to the daily prompt. This pushes the students to analyze and defend their answers.
However, the notebook prompts are also great for students with dyslexia, dysgraphia, and fine motor issues because they can be glued onto specialized paper or within a notebook to give students with large handwriting more room to respond.
Regardless of the format selected, 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 with the novel study?
There are over 50 academic vocabulary words included in the instructional guide for this novel.
These include general academic vocabulary and skill specific vocabulary. A sample of the included terms is shown below:
Skill specific vocabulary:
- context clue
- summary and main idea
- point of view
Why do you include academic vocabulary?
Tier 2 vocabulary, also known as academic language, is one of the biggest barriers to student success in school.
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. This allows you to incorporate these words into your novel study discussions.
It also means you can explicitly teach students their meaning if you are working with struggling students or English Language Learners (ELLs).
Many teachers like to pre-teach this vocabulary to help struggling students start the text on equal footing with their peers.
Text-based vocabulary in Hatchet
In addition to the Tier 2 vocabulary, each day's lesson includes a text-based vocabulary word that can be found within the day's reading.
Some of the text-based vocabulary words included in this Hatchet literature guide include:
These words can be taught using the flip book format. Designed with conserving copies in mind, this format uses one piece of paper per week.
The Word of the Day Flip Book is designed for use in interactive 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 generate a definition of the day's word or generate a list of synonyms and antonyms.
You can even have students draw a picture of the meaning.