Ox-Cart Man Discussion Guide
- Grades: 3–5
About this book
As You Read
On the chalkboard, draw large outlines of a sheep, a goose, a tree, and a farm field. Direct reading by asking students to fill in the pictures with words or phrases to tell what the family gets or makes from these. (You may want to introduce the word resource, explaining that it means “something we use to meet our needs,” and ask what need each listed item meets; for example, the sheep's wool is needed to make yarn.)
Guide reading with questions like these:
- What special job does each person in the family have? What work does the family do together?
- What needs does the family meet by using things they grow or raise? (food, shelter, clothing) What things does the family need that must be bought?
- Why does the father make the long trip to town each autumn?
- Why does the family's work change with each season?
As reading-response strategies:
- Invite students to tell about jobs they do for their family and compare them with the work the children in the story do.
- Discuss why wintergreen peppermint candies are a treat for the family, and call on volunteers to tell how that treat differs from ones they expect. Discuss why the ox-cart man's family could not afford more expensive gifts.
- Encourage students to compare the outdoor market and the general store shown in the illustrations with the stores they are used to.
- Ask students how they feel when the father sells the ox, and how the father seems to feel and why he makes this sale. Invite students to point out illustrations that show that an ox will be available for the next autumn's trip to town.