And So It Begins: The One and Only Ivan

Contributor: Jennifer Blanchard. Lesson ID: 13454

Let's jump right into this book to meet Ivan the gorilla! The book starts out with a quote by George Eliot: "It is never too late to be what you might have been." What does that mean for Ivan?


English / Language Arts, Literary Studies

learning style
Auditory, Visual
personality style
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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Check out this video about The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate.

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  • Doesn't it make you want to jump right in and read it?

You will get the chance as you work through The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate in this series of Related Lessons.

Let's get started!

  • What part of the trailer excited you to read the book? Why?

Jot down your thoughts here.

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In this series of Related Lessons, found in the right-hand sidebar, you can practice analyzing and discussing a book you're reading.

This is important because the whole purpose of reading is to make as much meaning of it as possible. Sharing and hearing your thoughts from others creates a higher level of thinking about the text.

You will need a copy of The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate to complete these lessons.

Before you begin, read the blurb on the book's inside cover.

The author often includes this to give you an idea of what the book will be about and to make you excited about reading it! It also gives you a bit of context so you can understand the text better as you start reading it.

You can click the white play triangle below to hear it read aloud as your eyes follow along with the words in your copy of the book!

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  • What can you tell about Ivan as a character so far?

Write a sentence or two below, and then click to see my response.

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  • What are you noticing about the genre of the text so far?

Based on the blurb and other evidence on the cover, this book appears to be fiction. Even more specifically, it looks like a fantasy text. That means that what happens in this text DID NOT and COULD NOT happen in real life.

The evidence for that is that Ivan can have complicated thoughts like a human. As you read this book, you'll see if you can find more evidence for or against this.

Look at another text feature the author included before starting the story.

If you turn to the first few pages before the main body of the text starts, there's a glossary the author included. A glossary acts as a small dictionary. It gives the definitions of words that are used in the text.

Usually, they are essential words or words the author thinks the readers might not know. A glossary is often included in nonfiction texts, but it looks like Applegate included it here because this text has to do with gorillas, which we might not know a lot of specifics about.

Take a few minutes to read through the glossary.

  • Are there any words that are new to you?

If you come across those words as you are reading and forget exactly what they mean, remember that you can refer back to the glossary anytime. The author puts it there to help you!

  • Do you feel like you're ready to jump into the actual main body of the text?

Move on to the Got It? section, and away we'll go!

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