Encounter by Jane Yolen

Encounter image

Encounter Author Jane Yolen, Illustrator David Shannon (No, David! books)

Book Summary:  When Christopher Columbus landed on the island of San Salvador in 1492, what he discovered were the Taino Indians. Told from a young Taino boy’s point of view, this is a story of how the boy tried to warn his people against welcoming the strangers, who seemed more interested in golden ornaments than friendship. Years later the boy, now an old man, looks back at the destruction of his people and their culture by the colonizers. (goodreads.com)

  • Teacher shows the front cover of the book to the class explaining that they are going to make predictions about the story.  Teacher shares that story is from the viewpoint of a Taino Indian boy and it takes place in the time of Columbus. 
  • Teacher introduces 7-10 vocabulary words from the list below. This does not need to be time consuming since many of the students will be familiar with words and will be using them as they make their predictions.  Vocabulary should be placed on post its or in a manner by which they can be easily rearranged.  
  • As a whole group, the class places the words in the order they believe they will appear in the story, creating a potential storyline as they go along.  Words can be moved as the storyline develops. Teacher guides students to remain focused and to create a plot that has a beginning, a middle and an end.
  • Once all of the words have been placed in order and the oral sharing of potential storyline is complete, the teacher tells the students to listen as she reads the story aloud.  Students should listen to see if any of their predictions in the class storyline were present in the book.
  • After the shared reading, the vocabulary list is revisited.  
  • The teacher asks if students can retell the story so they can place the words in the actual order they appear in the story.

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Extension: There are many books that applaud Christopher Columbus’ bravery and neglect to reveal the level of disruption he placed on the Indigenous people. A deeper discussion of point of views in history and who has the opportunity to share their stories can be facilitated by the teacher. 


About Sara

Expert Consultant in Bilingual Education for Multilingual Learners
I have dedicated my time to researching and learning how best to teach reading to Spanish-speaking students. My goal as an independent consultant is to empower teachers to know better and thus to do better.