Fish In A Tree


Fish in a Tree

Lynda Mullaly Hunt

©2015 Lynda Mullaly Hunt 

Published by The Penguin Group 

Lexile Level 0550

Fifth grader Ally masks her inability to read by distracting and disrupting her classmates. Since she finds herself dumb, she’s never been one to ask for help. Mr. Daniels sees right through her misbehavior, however, and recognizes that Ally might be down on herself.  Throughout the story, Mr. Daniels comes to show Ally that she isn’t at all dumb, and that instead she is much more than her disability.  A fish can’t be tested on its ability to climb a tree!


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.

Suggested Delivery: Independent Read Grade 5


The video found here would be a great introduction to the book to prepare and hook students prior to reading.

Giving students the opportunity to research/ learn more about learning disorders would be a great way to complement what is being learned in this text. This video is a compilation of different students addressing teachers saying what they wish the teachers knew.  `

The teaching guide for this book can be found here.

Teaching Suggestions:

  • Vocabulary is an essential part to reading.  One activity which could help students grow their vocabulary alongside of this can be found at this link.  The following vocabulary words would work well in this pre-teaching activity:
    • Deflate- To let air or gas out of something
    • Delirious-  In a disturbed state of mind because of illness or intoxication and characterized by restlessness, illusions, and unclear thoughts/ speech.
    • Disgust- A strong feeling of disapproval/ dislike
    • Grudge- A feeling of ill will or resentment
    • Candid-Truthful/ straightforward
    • Visionary- Thinking about the future using imagination
  • Comprehension is the goal in reading.  It is important to focus on comprehension before, during, and after reading a story.  The following activities can be done throughout the journey a student takes reading this book in order to support the level of comprehension reached:
    • Before reading the story, a great activity for students to develop schema related to the story would be to watch the introduction video seen above and write a KWL to gage where the students are prior to reading.
    • During reading, an activity which will support the comprehension of the students would be to have the students watch the second video seen above and draw connections/ compare contrast to what they see in the video and what can be seen in the book.  A Venn diagram would be a great tool for this task.
    • After reading, a good activity would be to have students reflect upon the story by working on and writing a simple summary.  After writing a summary of key events, they will be given the opportunity to reflect it through either a created dialogue, a cartoon, or any other proposed multimedia project which students can have approved by the teacher.
  • A conclusive writing activity is a great way to wrap up a novel with students. Corresponding with the standard seen above, a great writing activity would be to have the students respond to the following question: “What does the title Fish in a Tree mean? Use evidence from the book to support your response.”

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