Scarecrow by Cynthia Rylant is a lovely story about a scarecrow who has other things going on in his head than doing his job of scaring crows away.  

We are entertained and challenged to live a little more fully, as the scarecrow does . . .

How to Use it in Your Classroom

BEFORE READING: Making Predictions & Accessing Schema

Before you read the story, help the students access their prior knowledge of scarecrows with some leading questions:

  • Have you ever seen a scarecrow?
  • Where have you seen scarecrows?
  • What is the purpose (job) of a scarecrow?


As your students answer these questions, you may see the opportunity to provide some background information about how farmers used scarecrows to do just that – scare crows away from their crops.

“As we read this story, let's see if our scarecrow fulfills the purpose (the job) a scarecrow.”

DURING READING: Making Connections & Reflections

Pause and invite your students to enjoy the illustrations and the beautiful language of the story.


  • What is our scarecrow doing?
  • Is he doing his ‘job'?

Use the flip-flap book to record observations about the scarecrow:





AFTER READING: Reflecting & Opinion Writing

Encourage students to retell the story,  using their ‘Scarecrow' flip-flap book.

Reviewing all these things about the scarecrow will set the stage for you to lead your students into a deeper meaning of this story. . .

there may be more important and meaningful things to do than just our jobs. . . .  

Perhaps we are meant to appreciate the wonder and beauty around us in its richness and have a sense of joy and contentment with ourselves, just as we are.

Discussion questions:

  • Do you think the scarecrow did his job?
  • Did he fulfill his purpose?
  • Why or why not?
  • Do you think he had a more important purpose than being scary and scaring crows?
  • In your opinion, do you think he loves his life?
  • Why? Encourage students to use examples from the text to support their reasons.

Use the ‘In My Opinion' graphic organizer for your students to write a rough draft for their opinion.  I have also included some paper for publishing their final draft.

See below on how to get your free copy of this Book Companion: Scarecrow.

Extending Learning

This beautiful story can provide great motivation to learn in other academic areas!  I love to start with a story because the students' imaginations have been activated and that enhances learning!


Your students will love making these cute scarecrow glyphs. The finished glyphs provide a fun way to practice data collection, data graphing, and data analysis.

These glyphs also make a stunning fall bulletin board!

Everything you need:

  • Data Analysis Vocabulary Posters
  • ‘I Can' Statements for CCSS
  • Data Analysis Student Study Guide
  • Student Recording Sheets
  • Scarecrow Glyph Patterns – 3 Options


Do your students need more practice with their addition or multiplication math facts in a fun and engaging way?

These games are so much fun, your students will forget they're practicing math. Plus, there's no grading required!

Check out the Addition & Multiplication BUMP Games!


My name is Peggy Means. I am a child of God and a retired elementary teacher. I loved teaching and creating engaging resources for my students. Now, I love sharing my resources and ideas with busy teachers around the world.

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