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Literature Unit Study Ideas for The Moffats by Eleanor Estes (31 Days of Literature Unit Ideas)

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This post is part of the 31 Days of Literature Unit Ideas series. You can find links to all of the books in the series here. And if you're interested in using this book as a unit study, you can find a FREE printable guide at the bottom of this post.

Today's book is one that is sometimes less known, but it's been a favorite of mine since I was a child. It's one I can remember my mom reading to me. I think now I love The Moffats by Eleanor Estes because there are four children who have all kinds of adventures- just like my own family.


About the book...

The Moffats is the first of a series of books about the Moffat family. There are four children in the Moffat family- Sylvie, Joey, Janey, and Rufus. Their mother is a dressmaker, and their father has died. The book is a collection of stories about the adventures of the family- mostly featuring Janey and Rufus, the youngest children at 10 and 5. Set in the 1910s, the book has a good historical setting that can be used as a jumping off point for some learning connections.

I love Eleanor Estes' detailed descriptions. But this makes it difficult for younger children to read independently or even to listen to for long periods of time. I've had the best success reading this to older elementary-aged kids. At this age, they have the attention span to listen to the lengthy descriptions and to appreciate Eleanor Estes' great character development. The stories are touching and funny. And kids will appreciate the adventures that Janey and Rufus just seem to fall into.

History connections...



Science connections...



Language arts connections...

  • The Moffats is more a collection of stories than a rising action with a climax. Have kids illustrate each of the stories to create a story quilt for the book. Here is an example of this done with a whole class, but you can easily do it with only one or a few children as well. The site also has a printable template, but we've just done the squares on plain white paper and drawn a border as well.
  • Although the story features the whole Moffat family, Janey and Rufus are definitely the ones that the author describes in most detail and the ones that most of the adventures happen with. Have kids talk about which character they like best and why.
  • Creative writing- Have kids write their own adventure that features Janey and Rufus.


Hands-on/crafts...



Other resources...



Booklist...


If you'd like to use these ideas in your own unit study, you can find a FREE printable guide by clicking here. (There are also guides to all of the books in the 31 series here as well.)



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