Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes Complete Novel Study Teaching Guide 60 Pg


Subject: Reading, Literature, Close Reading
Grade Levels: 3rd - 5th, Homeschool
Resource Type: Homeschool Curricula, Novel Study, Literature Circles
File Type: PDF
File Size:
Number of Pages: 60 + 40 Google Slides
Answer Key: Included
Teaching Duration: 1 Week


This is a Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes literature unit. This novel study is 60 pages plus 40 Google Slidesand includes higher level thinking comprehension questions as well as integrated topics including World War II, Hiroshima, Japanese culture and geography.


Summary of Sadako & the Thousand Paper Cranes

This is the biography of Sadako Sasaki, who developed leukemia after the bombing of Hiroshima. The crane was believed to bring good luck. If a sick person folded 1000 paper cranes, then the Gods would grant him or her a wish. Sadly, Sadako died from leukemia when she was twelve. Thousands of people have been inspired by her story.

This book could be used with 3rd through 5th grades. It could be integrated into a unit on World War II or used as a book study.


Activities Included

I wrote this novel study with vocabulary and comprehension activities, as well as integrated enrichment lessons. Those topics include:


  • Japan’s geography
  • Japanese language and culture
  • World War II
  • Hiroshima


This novel unit includes the following:

  • 38 student pages (in both PDF & Google Slides formats)
  • Reading comprehension questions
  • Vocabulary lists & activities
  • Vocabulary flash cards
  • Vocabulary quiz
  • 2 choices of final projects, plus student checklist, project templates, & rubric
  • Integrated activities on history activities on WWII and Japan’s culture and geography
  • Complete Answer Key


Please see the preview for the table of contents. All activities are ready to be printed and copied.


Organizing The Novel Study

When creating these guides, the activities are written so that they could be used as individual activities or as a packet that could be given to an independent reading group. The activities are a mix of close reading questions, vocabulary, and background/schema-building reading activities. Vocabulary is emphasized heavily, and words are spiraled in the activities to reinforce previously learned words.

This guide is broken down into chapters plus after the book activities. Two chapters are covered in one “day,” although the classroom teacher could provide more than one class period for the activities to be completed.

If using this book as an independent work packet, copy the activities for each student and place the copies in a binder or stapled as a packet. During class, students can take the binder and easily see what they need to complete as a checklist is provided for each day. Students could be required to turn in certain activities, or the teacher could grade the activities in the binder/packet.

If using this as a whole class activity, the teacher should simply select which activities to use and copy the desired pages.

On a side note, I had the honor of participating in the Fulbright Memorial Fund, which selected teachers to travel to Japan to learn about its culture. My group spent a week in Hiroshima. Visiting the Peace Memorial Park and Museum was one of the most moving experiences of my life. I recommend that everyone visit Hiroshima if they have the opportunity.


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