3 Ways to Use Those Darn Squirrels Read Aloud


3 Ways to Use Those Darn Squirrels Read Aloud

Nothing says welcome fall like a read-aloud of Those Darn Squirrels!  

Hands down, this is my favorite read-aloud of the season, and is equally enjoyed by students.
I found this book by chance. One day after I dropped off my students at the Media Center for their weekly library class, a huge pile of books caught my eye. They were labeled "discard pile." Since picture books are totally my jam, I had to peek and see what was being discarded. Those Darn Squirrels was in the stack {and I have no idea why because it is so good} and had a new home in my classroom.

Have you read this one yet?

Those Darn Squirrels, written by Adam Rubin tells the story of Old Man Fookwire, a lonely, old man who lives alone and loves to bird watch. When the squirrels start stealing the bird seed that he leaves out for the birds, a match of wits ensues between Fookwire and the squirrels. The squirrels come up with a plan to turn cranky old Fookwire into a happy man who becomes their friend.


This picture book, as with so many picture books can be used in many different ways, saving you valuable classroom time and increasing student comprehension at a deeper level. A read-aloud of Those Darn Squirrels pairs perfectly with lessons about:

  • Reading: Problem and Solution and Story Structure
  • Writing: Writing Story Beginnings that Hook Readers
  • Word Work: Understanding and Using Compound Words
  • Going Further: Activities that focus on character emotions, changing characters, writing a sequel, researching birds and migration, designing your own squirrel trap, and much more!

Grab a free activity to do with this book at the bottom of this post:

3 Ways to Use Those Darn Squirrels Read Aloud

Here is a closer look at the lessons that I teach using this mentor text.

Reading as Readers: Problem and Solution and Story Structure

This story is just perfect to teach problem and solution structure with your students. Since the main character has more than one problem and other characters in the books have problems, too, this book is just perfect for upper elementary students who are ready to go beyond just the basic problem and solution structure.

Reading as Writers: Writing Story Beginnings that Hook Readers

To be honest, my students are always immediately hooked from the title and cover of this book. They giggle and laugh when I read the title and instantly their eyes widen with anticipation about what might happen in this book. But, the first page is another instant hook! it dives deep into the setting and introduces the main character. I love to use the book as a mentor text for students about writing beginnings that hook the readers. The unique character names, title, and illustrations, also support how important it is for students to make their writing pieces unique, stand out, and have a little something special to hook their readers right at the beginning of the piece.

Word Work: Understanding and Using Compound Words

I love to use books in many ways, the more the merrier! After we read this book as readers and writers, we revisit this book again and dive deep into compound words. With compound words woven throughout the text, it is easy to teach and review compound words and multi-syllabic words. 

Let's Go Further: Literature Activities

Book extensions are definitely a must in my classroom! Once we have read, reread, and revisited the book it is time for the students to take the story and go a little further on their own. I love having students complete book projects based on the read-alouds that we read in class. It strengthens their reading comprehension skills, helps them to practice going back to the book for support or evidence, and is a fun way to help kids fall in love with a wide range of stories and reading!

Going Further activities I love to do with students for Those Darn Squirrels include:
  • focus on character emotions and changing characters
  • write a sequel
  • research birds and migration
  • design your own squirrel trap

Those Darn Squirrels, written by Adam Rubin is a must-grab! It will instantly become your new favorite fall read-aloud and mentor text. You will find yourself loving Old Man Fookwire as much as the kids do!

Grab a free activity to do with this book right here:

Looking for more fall read aloud companions?
Look HERE!

fall picture books upper elementary

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3 Ways to Use Those Darn Squirrels Read Aloud

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