One fun way to boil down a story is to identify the beginning, middle, and end. In this activity, students will create a storyboard that summarizes Sounder in three parts: the beginning, the middle, and the end. They will summarize each part and create an illustration of a key scene from each. This is a great alternate activity to a regular plot diagram!
Beginning: A Black sharecropper and his dog, Sounder, go hunting each night so that the family can be fed. When hunting no longer brings in enough food, the sharecropper steals ham and is caught. When the sheriff arrives to take him away, Sounder chases them, gets shot, and runs away.
Middle: Weeks later, Sounder returns, but he is in very poor shape. He can only use three of his legs, and half of his face has been mangled from being shot. The family takes care of the dog, and he becomes stronger each day. Meanwhile, they learn that father has been convicted and forced into hard labor. While looking for his father one day, a guard whacks the boy’s fingers with a piece of iron. Hurt and bleeding, the boy goes to a nearby schoolhouse to tend to his wounds. There, he meets a kind teacher. The teacher tends to his injuries, and the boy tells him of his family’s situation. The teacher offers to help by teaching him and allowing the boy to live with him. Mother agrees and the boy stays with the teacher for part of the year, while working in the fields during the summer.
End: One day, while at home helping his mother, the boy sees his father walking down the long road to the cabin. He is thin, battered, and was terribly injured in a dynamite blast, but he is home. As dog and master reunite and heal, they go hunting together one last time. When Sounder returns without his master, the boy discovers that his father has died. Shortly after father’s death, Sounder dies as well. The boy is happy that they have both found peace and are in a better place. The boy continues to learn to read and write, and has hope for a future.
(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)
Objective: Create a visual plot diagram of Sounder that highlights the beginning, middle, and end of the story.
Grade Level 4-6
Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)
Type of Assignment Individual
Type of Activity: Parts of a StoryCommon Core Standards
(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)