Fourth Grade Journeys Unit 1 Lesson 1


 Dear Family,

The first week starts by asking “How do friends help each other?” In the realistic fiction selection Because of Winn-Dixie, we’ll read about how a stray dog helps a lonely girl make friends in her new town. We’ll also read the informational selection Because of BookEnds, about a nonprofit group that helps recycle books through student-run book drives and donates the books to schools and youth organizations.


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Target Vocabulary: comfort, mention, mood, properly, intends, consisted, positive, advanced, peculiar, talent

Vocabulary Strategy: Prefixes re-, un-, dis- (prefixes meaning “again,” “not,” and “undo”)

Comprehension Skill: Story structure – examine details about characters, setting, and plot

Comprehension Strategy: Summarize – briefly tell the important parts of the text in your own words

Writing Focus: Narrative Writing – descriptive paragraph 

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blade gray past afraid magic
delay amaze drain maybe break
sale hang stain glass raft
jail crayon fact stale steak
fraction trait champion activity graceful

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See how many vocabulary words you and your child can use in a conversation.

Conversation Starter
Tell your child about a great friend you had growing up, or one you have now. How did – or does – this person help and support you? Then ask your child to tell you about one of his or her best friends. How are your friend and your child’s friend alike?

A Personal Paragraph
Talk with your child about what makes a great friend. What words and images does he or she associate with “friend”? Ask your child to use these ideas to write a fictional descriptive paragraph about what it would be like to have the world’s greatest friend!