Re: Comprehension - Fly Away Home - #3

Student_Teacher: Sue Holst
Grade: 3
School: Marshall
Coop_Teacher: B. J. Cain
Lesson_Time: 30 minutes
Remote Name:


After reading the story, Fly Away Home, teacher will tell the class that they will use some comprehension strategies to understand the story. Students will question the author and make connections with the little boy in the story. The children will use critical thinking skills to discuss why some people are homeless. They will discuss why an airport might be a good place to live if you are homeless, why the boy and his father wear blue clothes, and what new problems may be created when Andrew starts school. They can question the author as to the significance of the bird in the story (this part of the story will also introduce them to symbolism). Children will reflect on their own homes and families and explain how Andrew may feel about his living situation.


Many children do not realize how fortunate they are, as they have never experienced homelessness, hunger, no television, etc. They cannot imagine what it is like not to sleep in a warm bed at night or have a variety of clothes to wear. This story introduces children to the plight of homeless people in a sensitive manner without frightening them.

State Standards – Students will construct, examine, and extend the meaning of literary, informative, and technical texts through listening, reading and viewing which will include the following: understanding vocabulary, including literary devices which will include integrating prior knowledge with information from the text (written or oral); use context clues to determine the meaning of words; and critically evaluate and analyze information presented through print, speech and mass media by responding to question requiring critical thinking.

Students will access, organize, and evaluate information gained by listening, reading, and viewing. Students will use literary knowledge accessed through print and visual media to connect self to society and culture including the following: connecting their own experiences to literary characters by relating incidents in the text or media to life’s experiences; and apply knowledge gained from literature as a basis for understanding self and society by using literature as a resource for understanding social issues.


This book is a story about a little boy, Andrew, and his dad who live at the airport because they are homeless. It tells how they move from terminal to terminal in order not to be noticed. Even the clothes they wear are dull and ordinary. The young boy dreams about the day he can “fly away” to a home of his own, especially when he discovers a bird that is trapped inside the airport that eventually slips out an open door at the right moment so it, too, can ‘fly away home.”


Book – Fly Away Home by Eve Bunting, 1991


Teacher will ask the students where they live (i.e., house, apartment, etc.). Discussion will then lead to how not all people have a house, apartment, etc. to live in. These people are homeless. Teacher will tell students that they will learn about a man and his son who are homeless and they will need to use some comprehension strategies to understand the story. Students should question the author – why did the author put the father/son in an airport to live, what is the significance of the bird trapped inside the airport. Teacher will tell students that they should put themselves in the little boy’s shoes. The students will reflect on their lives and how it compares to the life of the little boy and his father.


Ask the children what does it mean when the little boy says, “Not to be noticed is to look like nobody at all.” If students need some help, teacher will ask them about the way the father/son dress (blue, drab clothing, not bright colors); teacher will ask about father/son washing themselves in the airport rest rooms (may be homeless, but still are clean); that father/son have value/are important even though they are homeless. Students will use analysis as to why an airport would be a good place to live if you didn’t want anyone to notice you. Students will question the author as to the significance of the little brown bird that got trapped in the airport? (This will also introduce them to symbolism.)


Discuss what are some of the reasons a family may become homeless. Discuss that living without a home is short-term for some people while others may live this way for a longer period of time. Children will analyze problems that may be created when Andrew starts school. Discuss how the father does work part time and is looking for a place that they can afford – that he does not turn to crime to get a place to live. Discuss some of the emotions that homeless people might feel and how they cope with these difficulties without hurting anybody. Talk about the bird getting free and what this may predict about Andrew and his father.


Teacher will ask students how they will now look at/feel about people who are not like them – people who are homeless, poor, don’t have a lot of clothes, etc.

If an activity was done with this lesson, I would ask the children to determine some ways they might help people who are less fortunate (i.e., organize a food drive, start a penny collection, donate clothing, etc.). As a class, we would then come up with a way to implement our idea.



Last changed: September 05, 2001