Using Mentor Texts to Teach Reading Skills: Ten Ways to Hear Snow

Finding new children’s books that speak to my soul is my passion. Finding new children’s books that speak to my soul, allow me to learn new things and connect to life is my passion on overload. That is what this book, Ten Ways to Hear Snow written by Cathy Camper and illustrated by Kenard Pak, has done for me. As an Instructional Coach, I look at books from the lens of ways it could be used in a classroom community or enjoyed in a home setting as well.

This particular book is about a little girl named Lina that wakes up to silence. It’s the sound of snow — the kind that looks soft and glows bright in the winter sun. But as she walks to her grandmother’s house to help make the family recipe for Warak Enab, she continues to listen.
As Lina walks past snowmen and across icy sidewalks, she discovers ten ways to pay attention to what might have otherwise gone unnoticed. With stunning illustrations by Kenard Pak and thoughtful representation of a modern Arab-American family from Cathy Camper, Ten Ways to Hear Snow is a layered exploration of mindfulness, empathy, and what we realize when the world gets quiet. (Penguin Random House)

Learning Targets: Notice & discuss sensory words or phrases in a poem or story & Think about how sensory language helps me visualize.

Before Reading:

Using this book is perfect for creating mental images with the sensory language that is infused in the book, Ten Ways to Hear Snow. Before reading it will be important to increase student’s background knowledge of Lebanon and its location in the world. Show students the front of the book to help them to predict what might happen in the story to notice the cover and illustration. This will help students to get an idea of what the book is about.

Set a Purpose for Reading:

Your purpose for reading–Some authors use sensory language to help us better experience a story and/or to teach a lesson.

Sensory language is when authors use words that help us picture things and paint a picture in our minds. Chat about the five senses and as you read the story, have the students see where they notice sensory language.

During Reading:

As you read the story to the students ask the following questions to get their minds thinking of the sounds in the story.

Page 8

What was the first way to hear snow? 

scraaape, scrip

What was that sound? 

Mrs. Watson’s shovel digging out the sidewalk.

Page 9

What about the second way to hear snow? 

snyak, snyek, snyuk

What was that sound? 

The treads of Lina’s boots crunching the snow into tiny waffles.

Page 10

What was the third way to hear snow? 


What was that sound? 

The Blue Jay on the Branch

Page 27

How does Sitti know that there was a blizzard? 

Page 30

What was the last way to hear snow? 


After Reading:

Talk to students about why Sitti had to hear snow and how hearing could be a heightened sense. Have a discussion with students on how Sitti could tell that it was a blizzard.

Talk to students about the relationship between Lina and Sitti. What ways did you know as the reader that they had a close relationship and were friends.

Extend the Learning:

In the learning extension, have students draw and name two out of the ten ways that Lina heard snow in the story. Then at the bottom, students can name their favorite way to hear snow. They can also write about what snow sounds like to them and draw a picture.

Students will absolutely love this story. It is a wonderful book to engage with during the winter holidays. A fun way to culminate this activity would be to make snow with you students in the class! How fun is that! You will also be able to get a resource for 1/2 off on Teacher Pay Teachers. It is an extended version of this freebie above! Here you go! Ten Ways to Hear Snow Interactive Read Aloud is 50% off search in TPT with code readingcrewdeals2021!

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