"I have always imagined that Paradise will be some kind of library." ~ Jorge Luis Borges

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

ReedALOUD: Last Stop on Market Street

Today, the third graders and I read Last Stop on Market Street, written by Matt de la Peña and illustrated by Christian Robinson.

Here's a description of the book from Matt's website: "Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don’t own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn’t he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty—and fun—in their routine and the world around them."

I love this book! The hush that occurred over three classes confirmed the power of a well-told story. Poetic verse and vibrant illustrations elevate Last Stop on Market Street to the experiential level. It feels authentic.  Having grown up in the inner city it feels familiar to me, but it presents a world not often seen by readers, some of my students included. There is much discussion about books as windows and mirrors - a window into another person's world and a mirror of one's own. This book provided both experiences for the students that I worked with today.

There is far too much to mention and still have you get to the good part of this post - the student reactions - so I will choose two things.

I appreciate how Matt wove into the story the strong sense of values and how the grandmother was passing them along in both straight-forward and subtle ways. Certainly serving others is a wonderful value, but so too are friendlessness, kindness, politeness, and generosity. The students and I had an interesting discussion about this topic.

I am in awe of the city, the people, and the beauty in both that Christian has created. The art is light yet carries depth. Each spread is a story in itself.

As I have mentioned before, this group of students are well-versed in close reading having been participants in a Mock Caldecott Committee for the last three years. They also happen to be a thoughtful and introspective group of children who are willing to share their feelings, ideas, and connections to stories. This makes them ideal partners in reading!

The students had five ways to reflect on and connect with the book. 

Using the Tellagami App, the students talked about why their connections to the story. 

Using pen and paper, the students answered three different questions: 

How have you helped others? 

 What values are your grandparents passing along to you? 

 What activities do you do with your grandparents?

See more answers here:

The last tool the students used was FlipGrid. They talked about why they think the story is important.
The password is "mrlibrary."

How have your students connected and reflected on the story?


  1. I came across your page by searching for activities to do in my elementary library for Last Stop on Market Street. I hit the jackpot! I love your ideas and can't wait to use them with my students. I have also bookmarked your blog and will be coming back to it often. Thank you for posting these great activities!