Sketch-to-Stretch (#41)

Carly Bachman

Grade Levels

  • 3rd - 8th grade

Instructional Focus

  • Comprehension

How To Use It

1. Read and respond to a story.
  • Students read a longer book and they can respond in their reading logs.

2. Discuss the themes.

  • The teacher and students have a discussion about some possible themes of the book. Then the teacher reminds their students that there are several different ways that you can express the meaning of something such as different lines, colors, shapes, etc.

3. Draw the sketches.

  • Students work in small groups to draw their sketches to reflect on what the story means to them. This is when you remind the students that they should focus on the meaning of a story instead of just their favorite part.

4. Share the sketches.

  • Students will share their sketches in groups with their peers.

5. Share some sketches.

  • A volunteer from each group will share their sketch with the rest of the class.

6. Revise sketches and make final copies.

  • If students want to revise their sketches based on their conversations with peers, they are able to do so.


Sketch-to-Stretch is a great tool to use with students in order to stretch their thinking on the stories they are reading. This strategy focuses on finding the themes of books and being able to express a story's meaning through the use of symbols and drawings instead of words. Students also learn that a text can be interpreted differently from person to person and that there can be more than one theme in a story. This is an engaging way for students to be able to explain how they are interpreting the story.

Why I Like It

  • It provides a fun way for students to show their comprehension.
  • It's great for English Language Learners because they can express their understanding through a drawing rather than writing.
  • It shows students that people can interpret a story differently than they do.
  • Students gain a deeper understanding of a story through their classmates ideas and interpretations.
  • It allows the students to be creative!

Connection to Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.3.9 Compare and contrast the themes, settings, and plots of stories written by the same author about the same or similar characters (e.g., in books from a series)
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.5.2 Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.
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