If you had the opportunity, would you choose eternal life? This highly engaging question is explored in Tuck Everlasting, making it a book that will quickly draw students in and spark debate. Author Natalie Babbitt crafts an easily relatable story that attracts reluctant readers and brings them into the discussion.
This fantasy novel can be easily differentiated for students of all levels and is perfect for a spring novel study. Tuck Everlasting is the perfect novel to target and expands on students' reading skills to allow for deeper, more meaningful learning to take place. After an individual and in-depth class focus, students will be able to transfer these valuable comprehension skills to any text they tackle!
What you'll find on this page:
An Overview of the Story
Tuck Everlasting is the perfect novel to target students' reading skills and create a meaningful, literature-based learning experience.
After an individual and in-depth class focus, students will be able to transfer these valuable comprehension skills to any text they tackle!
Summary of Tuck Everlasting
Ten-year-old Winnie Foster is bored. She is from a wealthy family in the town of Treegap living in the 1800s. Winnie is sick of the strict life she lives under the eye of her mother and grandmother.
She debates running away but decides to do something she has never done before and ventures into the woods across from her family home. In the woods, she meets a beautiful seventeen-year-old boy named Jesse Tuck near a natural spring. Jesse tells Winnie that she cannot drink the spring water.
Jesse's mother, Mae Tuck, worries that Winnie now knows about the spring. She kidnaps Winnie along with Jesse and Jesse's brother, Miles. As they take Winnie to their home outside of Treegap, the Tucks explain that anyone who drinks from the spring will stop aging. They become immortal. Meanwhile, a stranger in a yellow suit followed them and overheard their conversation.
As Winnie learns about the true meaning of everlasting life from Mae's husband, Angus Tuck, the man in the yellow suit returns to Winnie's family and offers her location in exchange for ownership of the woods. He plans to profit from the magic spring by selling the water and giving customers eternal life.
Jesse tells Winnie to drink from the spring when she is seventeen, so they can stay the same age together forever and travel the world. But, as the man in the yellow suit and the constable of Treegap arrive at the Tuck's home, Mae finds herself in trouble. Winnie has choices to make.
Will she stay loyal to this family and their story? Will she choose eternal life?
Tuck Everlasting Reading Level
Tuck Everlasting is a Guided Reading Level U with a Lexile measure of 770L. The novel is frequently taught as a 4th or 5th-grade novel unit but is considered of high interest for grades 4-8.
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Great Reading Skills to Introduce & Reinforce with Your Tuck Everlasting Novel Unit
As you start planning a literature unit for this fantasy story, you'll find it offers enough depth that you can easily differentiate. It also allows you to teach and reinforce some essential higher-order reading skills authentically. Here are a few I recommend considering as you plan your Tuck Everlasting Book Study Unit:
1. Build experience with generating summaries.
Summarizing is a skill that requires repeated practice for students to perfect. Some students include unnecessary details in their answers. Others don't have nearly enough.
Students need to be able to identify the main idea of a text and generate a summary that contains a clear beginning, middle, and end.
What is Tuck Everlasting about? Students should be able to tell you clearly and concisely.
I always tell students that they want to include just enough detail that someone who has not read the book would still understand it from their summary.
2. Teach students to identify and support their responses with text evidence.
Many students are resistant when asked for text evidence. However, students need to know how to back up their answers with proof from the source.
This skill is essential to expand on as it is applicable in everyday life! In addition, students need reasoning skills as they age. It is vital to give them the voice to be strong in their opinions and answers.
As Tuck Everlasting deals with topics that can have more than one side, students need to support and back up the side they agree with using clearly stated reasons.
3. Target that those tricky inference standards that are so important.
Inferences can be tricky with students because sometimes they don't have the background knowledge to connect the dots independently.
Therefore, it is essential to teach students the process of making inferences. This helps them recognize their own knowledge gaps.
Explain what background knowledge is, and give students many opportunities to practice inferring with the text. Giving students relatable opportunities to infer through a shared literature experience can be a great way to make inferences approachable for all learners.
4. Introduce the subtle art of symbolism.
Students do well with concrete concepts and ideas, so symbolism can be challenging for them to grasp. Start small with familiar symbols and grow from there as they understand the concept.
Natalie Babbitt includes symbolism in Tuck Everlasting, and once students understand how to analyze and evaluate it, they can begin to understand the deeper meaning of the text.
5. Develop a deeper understanding of the nuances of theme.
This is also an excellent opportunity to challenge critical thinking skills about themes related to life, love, and loyalty.
Students often confuse theme and central idea. We need to instill the idea that these concepts are very different!
Students need to understand that the theme is the moral or lesson the author teaches us about life. The theme should apply to anyone around the world, not just one specific character in a text.
This is where we tie in inferencing skills, text evidence, and symbolism as well! Once you introduce common themes, it is essential to explain how quotes and passages within a text can point to the theme.
Again, as we scaffold this skill, it can get tricky for students. They need the chance to practice it repeatedly. After investigating meaningful quotes and symbols in Tuck Everlasting, students can infer possible themes.
Grab the No Prep Tuck Everlasting Novel Unit
Once students have mastered these five essential reading skills in Tuck Everlasting, they will have valuable tools in their comprehension toolbox that can be applied to hundreds of other texts!
Would you'd like Tuck Everlasting lesson plans that are easy to follow and already have these important skill activities included for you?
These Tuck Everlasting lesson plans are carefully structured. They focus in-depth on one reading skill each day with a convenient tri-fold format. This makes them fun for students and no prep for teachers!
In addition, the unit contains Tuck Everlasting questions and answers as well as bonus cut-and-paste reading journal prompts.