Seeds of Revolution
Level X 

About the Book 

Text Type: Nonfiction/Historical
Page Count: 24
Word Count: 2,211 

Book Summary
Seeds of Revolution is an informative book about the history of the American Revolution. The book discusses the French and Indian War, followed by the struggles created by "taxation without representation." Patriot and Loyalist positions are addressed, as are the events leading to the beginning of the Revolutionary War. Photographs and illustrations support the text. 

About the Lesson

Targeted Reading Strategy

  • Ask and answer questions


  • Use the reading strategy of asking and answering questions to understand informational text
  • Understand and identify cause-and-effect relationships
  • Identify conjunctions used in the text
  • Recognize and use synonyms


  • Book -- Seeds of Revolution (copy for each student)
  • Chalkboard or dry erase board
  • KWL, cause and effect, conjunctions, synonyms worksheets

   Indicates an opportunity for student to mark in the book. (All activities may be completed with paper and pencil if books are reusable.)


  • Content words: allies, banish, colonists, debts, delegates, militia, mutiny, parliament, protesting, rebellious, resentment, retaliate, retreating, revolution, rights, taxes

Before Reading 

Build Background

  • Discuss what students already know about the 13 colonies and the American Revolution. Create a KWL chart on the board and hand out the KWL worksheet. Review or explain that the K stands for knowledge we know, the W stands for information we want to know, and the L stands for the knowledge we learned. As the topics are discussed, fill in the first column (K) with information students know about the topic. Have students complete the same section of their KWL chart.
  • Ask students what they would like to know about the American Revolution. Have them fill in the second column (W) of their chart. Write their questions on the class chart.

Preview the Book

Introduce the Book

  • Give students a copy of the book. Guide them to the front and back covers and read the title. Have students discuss what they see on the covers. Encourage them to offer ideas as to what kind of book this is and what it might be about.
  • Preview the title page. Talk about the information on the page (title of book, author's name.)

Introduce the Reading Strategy: Ask and answer questions

  • Discuss how having prior knowledge about the topic, and asking and answering questions while reading, can help readers understand and remember the information in a book.
  • Direct students to the table of contents. Remind them that the table of contents provides an overview of the information in a book and how it is organized. After previewing the table of contents, use it to model asking questions.
  • Think aloud: I can use the table of contents to think of questions I have answered about the American Revolution. For example, Chapter 2 is titled "The French and Indian War." This makes me wonder how the French and Native Americans were in the American Revolution. I'll have to read the book to find out. I'll write this question on the chart.
  • Have students look at the other chapter titles. Have them write any questions they have based on the covers and table of contents in the W column of their KWL chart.
  • Have students preview the rest of the book, looking at maps, photos, and captions. Show students the glossary and index. Have them add any additional questions they might have on their KWL chart. Invite students to share their questions aloud. Write shared questions on the class chart.
  • As students read, encourage them to use other reading strategies in addition to the targeted strategy presented in this section. For tips on additional reading strategies, click here.

Introduce the Comprehension Skill: Cause and effect

  • Discuss cause-and-effect relationships. Explain that a cause is an event that makes something happen, and the effect is what happens because of, or as a result of, the event.
  • Write the following sentence on the board: I put on my hat. Model identifying cause-and-effect relationships.
    Think-aloud: I know that there are reasons, or causes, for events to happen. When I put on a hat, it might be because it is hot outside. The hat shades me from the sun and keeps me cool. So, a cause for putting on the hat could be because I wanted to stay cool. However, I also sunburn easily. Since a hat shades my face from the sun, another reason to put on a hat could be to prevent me from getting sunburned. There can be more than one cause for an effect to happen.
  • Invite students to explain other possible causes for putting on a hat (it is cold, it is windy, it is part of a costume, and so on).
  • Write each of the following sentences on index cards: I go to sleep. I am tired. I put on my coat. It is cold outside. I drink water. I am thirsty. I eat an apple. I am hungry. Mix up the cards and give each volunteer a card. Have volunteers find a match to their sentence on one of the other cards. Then have each person in the pair identify who is the cause and who is the effect. Ask the remaining students to explain whether or not the match and explanation are correct.

Introduce the Vocabulary

  • Write life, liberty, pursuit of happiness on the board. Have students explain what they know about basic rights.
  • Ask students to explain what their reaction might be if they were forced to do something that violated one of those rights (unfair, angry, and so on). Explain that displaying a complaint about an idea or event is called protesting.
  • Show students the Stamp Act and Boston Tea Party illustrations from pages 14 and 17. Ask students to explain how the illustrations show the colonists protesting (burning paper to complain about the Stamp Act, throwing boxes overboard).
  • Ask students how these illustrations and vocabulary words might help to explain the cause of the war (people were upset about certain ideas and began to protest these ideas).
  • Invite students to explain what might happen if the ideas protested were not changed (people would be angry, they might fight to change them, and so on). Write the word revolution on the board. Explain that a revolution is when people fight to get rid of one government and its ideas, and replace it with a new government and ideas.
  • Have students use the words rights, protesting, and revolution to predict the events in this book. Invite them to use this opportunity to write additional questions on their KWL chart.
  • For tips on teaching word-attack strategies, click here.

Set the Purpose

  • Have students read the book to find answers to their questions about the American Revolution. Remind them to think about the causes and effects that led to the American Revolution, and use that information to generate new questions.

During Reading 

Student Reading

  • Guide the reading: Have students read to the end of page 10. Remind them to look for information about the American Revolution that will answer questions on their KWL chart. Encourage students who finish early to go back and reread.
  • When they have finished reading, have students discuss the information in each chapter and share what they learned about the causes and effects that led to the American Revolution. Have them circle any questions on their KWL chart that were answered and add any new questions that were generated.
  • Model answering a question on the KWL chart and filling in the third column (L).
    Think-aloud: I wanted to know how the French and Indian War was important to understanding the American Revolution. I found out that both France and Great Britain fought over who controlled the land in the New World. The Native Americans, who had lived on the land before either the French or the British, sided with both countries in hopes of regaining their land. I also found out that after Britain won the war, events happened that caused the colonists to become angry at Great Britain. I suspect that the colonists will protest.
  • Ask students to identify possible causes for the colonists to protest (the colonists were forced to pay for British soldiers' housing and food, they had to pay taxes to help pay off Britain's war debts). Write the following question on the class chart: Will the colonists protest over forced housing and taxes?
  • Check for understanding: Have students write answers they found while reading in the L column on their KWL chart and additional questions they raised in the W column. Invite them to share the information they learned and the questions they generated as they read the book. Record shared responses on the class KWL chart. Invite students to share information they read that reflected additional cause-and-effect relationships (Native Americans were angry about giving up their land (cause), they fought to regain their land (effect); Great Britain won the war (cause), the French lost all claims to North America (effect).
  • Have students read the remainder of the book. Remind them to look for answers to their KWL chart questions. Encourage them to add new questions they might have to their chart as they read.

    Have students make a question mark in their book beside any word they do not understand or cannot pronounce. Encourage them to use the strategies they have learned to read the word and figure out what it means.

After Reading 

Reflect on the Reading Strategy

  • Ask students what words, if any, they marked in their book. Use this opportunity to model how they can read these words using decoding strategies and context clues.
  • Ask students to share questions they added to their KWL chart while reading and ask them what questions were answered (or not answered) in the text.
  • Reinforce that asking questions before and during reading, and looking for the answers while reading, keeps readers interested in the topic. It also encourages them to keep reading to find answers to their questions and helps them understand and remember what they have read.

    Have students circle the questions on their KWL chart that were answered by reading the book and underline the information in the book that answers those questions. Invite them to share answers they found while reading.

  • Think-aloud: I wanted to know whether the colonists protested over the forced housing and taxes. I found out that they did protest, but large protests did not begin to take place until after several acts had been passed by Great Britain. This tells me that people will tolerate something until a certain point is reached. When that tolerance level is reached, people may strive to enact change.
  • Ask students to explain why they think many colonists waited to protest on a larger scale (they might have been afraid of the British response, it took longer for information to travel and people to be informed, and so on).

Reflect on the Comprehension Skill

  • Discussion: Ask students to explain or show how the strategy of identifying cause-and-effect relationships helped them understand the story.
  • Have students look at the cover of the book and reread the title, Seeds of Revolution. Ask them what they think the author meant by using the word "seeds." Discuss the idea of planting a seed and how it relates to this topic. (When a seed is planted, it takes a while for it to root and grow. The acts of Great Britain were the seeds of the revolution. These "seeds" took time to grow before colonists reacted.)
  • Ask students to explain how, in this book, the analogy of the seed relates to the cause-and-effect relationships in the book. (Each "seed," or cause, led to an effect, which "planted the seed," or cause for something else to happen. This happened over and over until finally a revolution took place.)
  • Independent practice: Have students reread page 16 to identify the cause illustrated in the engraved picture (the Boston Massacre) and the effect of the massacre (colonists were enraged, more colonists may have sided with the Patriots). Allow students to share their findings.
  • Introduce, explain, and have students complete the cause and effect worksheet. If time allows, have students discuss their work and explain their answers. 
  • Extend the discussion: Ask students how Seeds of Revolution changed what they know about the events leading to the American Revolution. Discuss information students would still like to know about the American Revolution.

Build Skills 

Grammar and Mechanics: Conjunctions

  • Examples of conjunctions are: and, but, for, or, nor, so, and yet.
  • Write the following sentences on the board: The engraved picture was printed in newspapers. The engraved picture was printed in other places. Ask students to explain how these two sentences can be shortened into one sentence. (The engraved picture was printed in newspapers and other places.)
  • Ask students to identify the word that joined the two parts of the sentence together (and). Review or explain that a conjunction connects words or parts of a sentence together.
  • Discuss how the author chose to link these two phrases instead of writing two repetitive sentences, one after another. Invite students to explain a purpose for using conjunctions in writing (conjunctions help writers make their writing more fluent).
  • Have students turn to page 7. Write the following sentence on the board: The French captured Fort Necessity, but Washington escaped. Ask students to identify the conjunction (but).
  • Have students identify the two sentence parts the conjunction connects (The French captured Fort Necessity, Washington escaped). Discuss how the conjunction connects the two parts of the sentence together.
  • Ask students to identify other conjunctions they know that join words or parts of sentences together (and, but, for, nor, or, so, yet). Write these words on the board.

    Check for understanding: Have students locate sentences in the book that use the conjunctions listed on the board to join words or parts of sentences together. Ask them to underline these sentences in their book and circle each conjunction. Invite students to share their answers.

  • Independent practice: Introduce, explain, and have students complete the conjunctions worksheet. If time allows, discuss their responses.

Word Work: Synonyms

  • Write the word peace on the board. Ask students to suggest a word that means almost the same thing (calm, quiet). Review or explain that a word that means the same or almost the same as another word is called a synonym.
  • Ask students to explain why the use of synonyms is important in writing (they help to describe something in text, they make the writing more interesting and varied, and so on). Have them provide examples of sentences that support their thinking. (For example, in the sentence Braddock's goal was to banish the French from the Ohio River Valley, the synonym banish allows the readers to get a more accurate impression of Braddock's goal than the phrase get rid of.)
  • Have students turn to page 15 to find the word that describes the group of Boston colonists who started the fight (rowdy). Write the word rowdy on the board. Ask students to use the context of the sentence to suggest a word that means the same or almost the same as rowdy (loud, noisy). Write these words on the board.
  • Show students a thesaurus. Use the word rowdy to explain how a thesaurus is used. Write synonyms for rowdy on the board and compare the meanings of these words with the words on the board. Point out that a thesaurus identifies synonyms for words.
  • Check for understanding: Give pairs of students a thesaurus. Ask them to locate the synonyms for the word banish. If needed, provide additional practice using a thesaurus.
  • Independent practice: Introduce, explain, and have students complete the synonyms worksheet. If time allows, check their responses.

Build Fluency 

Independent Reading

  • Allow students to read their book independently or with a partner. Encourage repeated timed readings of a specific section of the book.

Home Connection

  • Give students their book to take home to read with parents, caregivers, siblings, or friends. Have students practice identifying causes and effects in their daily lives with someone at home.

Extend the Reading 

Writing and Art Connection
Provide print and Internet resources for students to research an historical figure from the American Revolution (Samuel Adams, Edward Braddock, William Dawes, Thomas Gage, John Hancock, Patrick Henry, King George III, James Otis, Samuel Prescott, Paul Revere, orGeorge Washington). Have them research the following information: birth date, childhood, education, significance before/during/after the American Revolution. Have students record these events on a time line.

Social Studies Connection
Discuss with students the inaccuracies sometimes found in historical writings. Discuss page 21, The Truth About Paul Revere's Ride, pointing out that Samuel Prescott actually carried out the warning. Ask students how they think the wrong story got told and how it continued to be told until it was written as history. Discuss the meaning of oral traditions (information passed down by word of mouth). Have students evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of both recording history written form and passing it on through oral traditions.


Monitor students to determine if they can:

  • consistently ask relevant questions about a topic prior to and during reading; locate answers to their questions in the text and understand that not all answers are found in one source
  • understand and identify cause-and-effect relationships in text
  • recognize and understand conjunctions during discussion and on a worksheet
  • identify and use synonyms during discussion and on a worksheet; understand how to use a thesaurus to identify synonyms

Comprehension Checks

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