Almost Astronauts: 13 Women who Dared to Dream


Almost Astronauts- 13 Women who Dared to Dream

Tanya Lee Stone

©2009 Tanya Lee Stone

Candlewick Press

Lexile 1070 L

Back in the day, women couldn’t be scientists- or so it seemed.  Following the journey of thirteen women who went above and beyond what most women of the time period did, this story talks about their journeys and contributions to science and specifically space science.


Analyze multiple accounts of the same event or topic, noting important similarities and differences in the point of view they represent.

Suggested Delivery: Read Aloud grade 5

Having students watch the trailer for Hidden Figures found here, or if there is time, watch the whole movie, would be a great way for students to see a newly produced movie which covers the same ideas seen in this book.  Then, a comparison and contrast can be made between what is read in the book and what is seen in the movie.

The teaching guide found here by Tanya Stone is a great resource for classroom teachers.

Teaching Suggestions:

  • Vocabulary is an essential part to reading. A great activity to do with this book to build on vocabulary would be to have students look up the words in the dictionary, write it down, then use it in their own sentence.
    • Agitate- To make someone annoyed or nervous
    • Tinge- Slightly colored
    • Solitude- Being alone
    • Brief- A short duration
    • Spectators- A person who watches a show or event
    • Pioneer- A person who is among the first to do something
  • 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/ start thinking about the ideas seen in this story would be to ask them to draw an astronaut.  Then, after having the students draw conclusions about similarities they see from each others drawings, introducing the story and how this story will focus on the contributions women have made to space travel would be a great way to show students what will be studied.
    • During reading, an activity which will support the comprehension of the students would be to have the students pause and reflect upon their thoughts up to date.  Having them write down 2 questions each for  the 6 question words, (Who, what, when, where, why, how) then seeing if continuing to read will answer those questions is a great way to see where the students are.
    • After reading, having students go back and answer the questions seen in the during reading activity, and researching online the answers to any other questions they couldn’t answer would be a great way to have students wrap up thoughts seen in this novel.
  • A conclusive writing activity is a great way to wrap up this novel.  Having students respond to the following question in a short essay would be a great way to finish the reading of this story.  “How did this book change how you view astronauts and outer space?”

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