3.11 More Than Anything Else

Handout 3.11
More Than Anything Else
More Than Anything Else by Marie BradbyI
Illustrated by Chris K. Soenpiet
Orchard Books, c 1995
(9-year-old Booker works with his father and brother at the saltworks but dreams of the day when he’ll be able to
Concept(s) / Skill(s)
Answer the question - Why should I read?
Educational Framework
Relationships ** Engagement ** Learning
1.Children begin to see that you are aware of fictive kinship bonds among African
Americans that have been based upon common struggle (Murrell, 2002).
1.I see faces that look like mine in various struggles and accomplishing
competence in reading.
1. Children learn that reading is a part of their cultural legacy.
2. Children learn “why” they should read.
3. Children develop an appreciation for the privilege of reading.
Handout 3.11
* Lesson *
Introduce the book, More Than Anything Else by Marie Bradby,
illustrated by Chris K. Soentpiet. Lead a pre-reading discussion
about the intensity of the character Booker’s desire to learn to
read. Relate his desire to some of the children’s heartfelt
desires. Briefly talk about how it was against the law for African
Americans to learn to read during this period in history.
1. Read in a small group or aloud, More Than Anything Else by Marie
Bradby, illustrated by Chris K. Soentpiet.
2. When you get to page 3 in the reading encourage the reader to
emphasize the first sentence-“More than anything else, I want to learn
to read.” Briefly reiterate Booker’s strong desire to learn to read.
3. On page 12 which starts with (I see a man…..) discuss the entire
page. Briefly talk about Booker’s tangible vision of reaching his goal
by seeing a man who looks like him reading a newspaper. Talk about
role models, dreams and visions for the future.
On page 14 point out the sentence that says, “I will work until I am
the best reader in the county. Children will crowd around me, and I
will teach them to read.” The focus of this discussion should be on
how Booker is beginning to mentally define steps to his plan. The
second sentence that should be pointed out on this page is, “They
don’t see what I see. They don’t see what I can be.” Talk about
Booker’s vision of himself in the future. Talk about how important it
is to be able to visualize yourself accomplishing your goal. Talk about
how some people may not support you in your efforts to achieve your
goal. This is where the discussion of resilience could come into play.
Children could draw themselves achieving their goals later in the
Handout 3.11
5. On page 22 Booker says, “I draw the marks on the dirt floor and try
to figure out what sounds they make, what story their picture tells.”
Explicitly tell the children that Booker is trying to figure out the
letters of the alphabet and the sounds they make. This sets the stage
for work with phonics and phonemic awareness activities.
6. On page 26 the newspaperman teaches Booker the alphabet and the
sounds of each letter. Show the picture of Booker on page 27
achieving his goal. Talk about how good he must have felt. Talk
about how Booker equated reading with jumping into another world
and being saved. Discuss the literal meaning of this statement.
7. On page 28 the newspaperman writes Booker’s name on the ground.
Cover the letters “er” and turn the book upside down to show how his
name has the word “Book” in it.
8. On the last page of the book show how Booker has learned to read his
own name. Talk about being able to read will change his life. The key
point of this discussion is reading as a form of liberation (Murrell,
10. After the reading create a poster called, Reasons Why We Should
Discuss what reading did for Booker and write the responses on the
poster. Display the poster in a place that will serve as a daily reminder
to children of the rewards that can come from reading.
(Possible responses to add to the poster: reading saved his life and took him to another world)
The Wisconsin RtI Center/Wisconsin PBIS Network (CFDA #84.027) acknowledges the support
of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction in the development of this product and for
the continued support of this federally-funded grant program. There are no copyright
restrictions on this document; however, please credit the Wisconsin DPI and support of
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