Lesson plan

Anansi and the Turtle and Me!

Anansi invites his friend Turtle to dinner at his house ... but does he treat him like a friend? In this reading comprehension lesson, your class practices questioning, retelling, and identifying the moral in "Anansi and the Turtle."
Grade Subject View aligned standards

Students will be able to ask and answer questions about a text and recount details.

(5 minutes)
  • Gather students together and explain that today, they will read and listen to a story called Anansi and the Turtle.
  • Ask the class if any of them have read this story before.
  • Explain that Anansi and the Turtle is an African folktale, or a tale or legend passed along between people of a culture, usually through oral storytelling.
(20 minutes)
  • Tell students that good readers use strategies before, during, and after reading to help improve their comprehension, or understanding of the story.
  • Explain that today they will practice asking questions with words like, who, what, when, where, why, and how. They will also retell the story and use connecting strategies to read and listen to the story Anansi and the Turtle.
  • Pass out a copy of the Anansi and the Turtle Questioning worksheet to each student. Explain that you will work together as a class to come up with questions before, during, and after reading Anansi and the Turtle.
  • Display the Anansi and the Turtle story on the interactive whiteboard.
  • Tell students to think about the title and front page of the story. Encourage them to share any questions they have before reading.
  • Remind students of the questioning words to help them get started. Also, you may need to model coming up with questions, if students are struggling. Some questions they may create come up with are, "What will happen to the turtle? How might the main character react to the problem? Who is the main character?"
  • Model recording the questions in the "Questions I Have BEFORE Reading" box.
  • Listen to the interactive story. Stop midway through to have students generate questions to record in the "Questions I Have DURING Reading" box.
  • Finish reading Anansi and the Turtle. Talk to your students about what happened in the story, and ask them to share questions they have.
  • Record these questions in the "Questions I Have AFTER Reading" box, and encourage your class to do the same.
(10 minutes)
  • Discuss the answers to the questions students created during the reading of Anansi and the Turtle. Have students discuss their answers using key details from the story.
  • Conduct a whole class discussion about the key details and ideas from the interactive reader as they answer questions they had while listening to the story.
  • Ask students if they know what the word moral means. After some discussion, define the word moral as a lesson being learned or taught.
  • Explain that there is a moral in Anansi and the Turtle. Instruct your students to think about what the moral of the story might be as they complete some after-reading activities.
  • Give them the chance to discuss their ideas about the moral in partners before moving on the after-reading activites.
(20 minutes)
  • Pass out a copy of the Anansi and the Turtle After-Reading Activities packet to each student.
  • Review the directions with your students, and ask if they have questions about the handout.
  • Set up access to Anansi and the Turtle in case students forgot key details of the story. This can be done with the interactive whiteboard or using student computers. Alternatively, play the story again to the entire class on the interactive whiteboard before they begin independent work.
  • Tell students to complete Part One and Part Two, and then share their work with a partner.
  • As the class works on the Anansi and the Turtle After-Reading worksheet, circle the room to help students as needed. Ask them to recount details from the interactive story as they provide their answers.


  • Encourage students to complete Part Three of the after-reading activities and share their answers with their partners or the whole class during the Review and Closing section.
  • Challenge advanced students to compare and contrast Anansi and the Turtle with another folktale, using some of the same comprehension strategies.
  • Show students how to create a Venn diagram that compares these two stories.


  • Encourage students who are struggling with reading comprehension to draw pictures to help them with retelling the story.
  • Provide students with a pre-printed story map to help assist them in their reading comprehension activities.
  • An interactive whiteboard will be needed to display the story Anansi and the Turtle. The sound is optional.
  • If student computers are available, you may want to make them available for students who need to hear the story again during independent working time.
  • Informal assessment: Take note of student participation in discussions during the reading of Anansi and the Turtle and Review and Closing activities.
  • Formal assessments: Review each student's Anansi and the Turtle Questioning worksheet and Anansi and the Turtle After-Reading Activities worksheet to gauge for understanding.
  • Assessment time is embedded in the entire lesson.
(5 minutes)
  • Five minutes before the end of class, have students stop wherever they are and come together to end the lesson.
  • Ask students to turn to their neighbors and share what they each think the moral of Anansi and the Turtle was. Give them 1-2 minutes to do this and walk around to monitor their conversations.
  • Ask students to show whether they agreed with their partner on the moral by showing thumbs up or thumbs down.
  • Come to an agreement as to the moral of Anansi and the Turtle.
  • Remind students that they used several reading strategies today: questioning, retelling, and identifying the moral of a folktale.

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