BigUniverse.com serves up a holiday classic, a tale by English writer Charles Dickens, that’s been reworked to appeal to children and reluctant readers of all ages. Saddleback Educational Publishing, one of Big Universe Learning’s education partners, has published an illustrated comics-style version of “A Christmas Carol.”
While typically loyal to literature in its original form, I appreciate the effort to draw in new readers. The educators who reworked this Victorian Christmas story retained key phrases and some of the more quotable parts. The stingy Ebenezer Scrooge is there in all his grumpy glory, as well as Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim, nephew Fred, and the Spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come, who help sway Scrooge’s cold wintery heart and restore it to one overflowing with good will and compassion for others.
Although first published in December 1843, the story is timeless, making it a great catalyst for discussion and creative writing. Many kids want to right the wrongs of the world, so “A Christmas Carol” is a good model for students to write their own modern-day story. The online writing tool on BigUniverse.com will make such an assignment even more appealing.
I served as a children’s writing contest judge for a number of years and read many submissions that naturally addressed societies’ ills. The entrants were like little primary and middle school Dickenses, who used their words to speak about cultures' problems and to work through feelings about everything from the 911 attacks and tsunamis to bullying and the death of pets and loved ones. Just like Mr. Dickens, they used various intervention tools to render ethical and emotional transformation in their main characters. Nine times out of 10, they ended their narratives with words of hope.
“…God bless us, everyone.”
Saddleback’s A Christmas Carol (Illustrated Classic) uses vocabulary from the Dale-Chall model, (F&P GR: V Lexile: 500). To acquire additional materials, the publishing company provides a study guide and activities for the interactive whiteboard. According to the Saddleback website, “IWB activities feature 19-24 lessons in 168 screens (per title average) and include an introductory audio clip from the novel; words and meanings puzzle; words and meanings antonym pairs; word search; figurative language; cause and effect; and more.”
Other miscellaneous resources:
- “A Christmas Carol” – the original text, via StormFax
- “A Christmas Carol” quiz – Interactive
- “A Christmas Carol” trivia
- Decorate a Christmas Tree – Interactive Activity (click on picture)
- Christmas Candles Coloring Page – Interactive or printable
NOTE: You may like to read Elizabeth Peterson's Big Universe blog entry "Variations on a Classic.”