December 18, 2020

Broccoli Rob and the Garden Singers by John S. Armstrong

Several weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about The Saint Nicholas Day Snow by Charlotte Riggle.  In that post, I wrote about the benefits of reading a story multiple times to help students improve their comprehension of the story.  Broccoli Rob and the Garden Singers by John S. Armstrong is another story in which students can benefit from reading multiple times.  It lends itself well to choral readings, dramatic play, and music... making repeated readings of Broccoli Rob and the Garden Singers FUN!  Keep reading to learn more about Broccoli Rob and the Garden Singers and how you can integrate it into your language arts lessons.

Learn about characters and events while reading Broccoli Rob and the Garden Singers by John S. Armstrong. Make hand puppets and choral read the story. #kellysclassroomonline

Author's Summary

Broccoli Rob and the Garden Singers is an inspiring children's book with beautiful illustrations that takes the reader through the struggles and personal growth of Broccoli Rob, a shy stalk of broccoli who loved to sing. After several days of heavy rain, Rob was able to persuade his vegetable friends to come together and sing to encourage the sun to come out behind the clouds and shine bright, despite the other vegetable's initial reluctance towards Rob's plea. However, once the garden singers began to sing, Broccoli Rob was so shy even his vegetable friends can't hear his beautiful singing, let alone the sun. Rob found himself needing encouragement of his own from his garden friends in order to sing loud and proud, and that day he discovered a very important lesson from his experience. 

🍎 Title: Broccoli Rob and the Garden Singers
🍎 Author: John S. Armstrong
🍎 Illustrator: David Miles
🍎 Publisher: Heartland Publishing LLC
🍎 Date: August 21, 2020
🍎 Pages: 30

Learn about characters and events while reading Broccoli Rob and the Garden Singers by John S. Armstrong. Make hand puppets and choral read the story. #kellysclassroomonline

Before Reading the Story

Broccoli Rob and the Garden Singers is a fun story to read out loud to your students and lends itself well to choral reading and dramatic play.  The children's song Mr. Golden Sun plays a significant role in the story's plotline, so introducing the song before you read Broccoli Rob to your students will increase the fun factor while you read it to them.  If you or your students are not familiar with Mr. Golden Sun, you can watch the video below:


Mr. Golden Sun by Pinkfong... the singers who made Baby Shark famous
(Enjoy your earworm...)

Learn about characters and events while reading Broccoli Rob and the Garden Singers by John S. Armstrong. Make hand puppets and choral read the story. #kellysclassroomonline

Reading the Story

John S. Armstrong wrote Broccoli Rob in a nice, clean style that young readers and listeners can easily understand. The characters, setting, problem, and solution can be easily identified whether the students read the story independently or you read it to them.  
  • characters: Broccoli Rob, Carlton Carrot, Rufus Radish, Rosy Tomato, Pepe Pepper, Poppy Cornstalk
  • setting: outdoors, on a farm, in a garden, modern-day or recent past
  • problem: It has rained for a long time and Broccoli Rob wants the sun to come back out.
  • solution: Broccoli Rob's friends helped Broccoli Rob feel more confident and together they all sang for the sun to shine again.
When you read Broccoli Rob to your students, have fun with it... it is a story about singing, friends, and sunshine after all!  Read it with emotion.  Dramatize it a bit and sing the musical bits.  If your students beg you to read it again, go for it!  With minimal prompting, they will soon be reading parts of the story with you.

Learn about characters and events while reading Broccoli Rob and the Garden Singers by John S. Armstrong. Make hand puppets and choral read the story. #kellysclassroomonline

Even the youngest readers will be able to identify and illustrate the main characters.

Identifying Characters

After reading Broccoli Rob with your students, do a quick review of the main characters.  Who are they?  What do they look like?  What did they do?  Which characters are their favorites?  Once you are confident that your students can recall and describe the main characters of the story, have them select one character they'd like to use to create a character puppet.

You will need:
  • paper lunch bags (brown or white)
  • crayons, markers, colored pencils, paint, etc.
  • scissors
  • glue
  • construction paper
  • an assortment of crafty embellishments
  • googly eyes
  • anything else you can think of 
Character puppets are simply paper bag puppets with an academic sounding name.  There are no hard and fast rules about making them.  Take a paper bag, color and decorate the outside of it to look like a character from the book, pop it on your hand, and move your fingers inside of it to make it look like the puppet is opening and closing its mouth.  

Learn about characters and events while reading Broccoli Rob and the Garden Singers by John S. Armstrong. Make hand puppets and choral read the story. #kellysclassroomonline

"Broccoli Rob is green.  He needs a mouth to sing."

Learn about characters and events while reading Broccoli Rob and the Garden Singers by John S. Armstrong. Make hand puppets and choral read the story. #kellysclassroomonline

I happened to have a lot of felt stashed away in my craft closet, so I used it to make my sample puppet.  I added some googly eyes and puffy paints for details.  Depending on the ages of your students, the supplies you have on hand, and the amount of time you are willing to dedicate to making puppets, you can have your students make them as detailed as much as you want.   As long as the character puppets are cute and your students had fun creating them, it's all good!

Learn about characters and events while reading Broccoli Rob and the Garden Singers by John S. Armstrong. Make hand puppets and choral read the story. #kellysclassroomonline

Rereading the Story 

Now that you've read Broccoli Rob several times, made character puppets, and sang Mr. Golden Sun a bazillion times, it's time to choral read the story with the character puppets.

Choral reading is when the teacher and class read a text aloud together.  Choral reading takes the 'spotlight' off of struggling readers while encouraging them to try their best.

Repeated readings of stories help students build their knowledge base of sounds, language, and vocabulary.  They also help students acquire early literacy and comprehension skills.  Why the character puppets?  Those puppets help spark your students' imagination and curiosity.  They also help your students focus and concentrate on what's being read.  Granted, you may need to choral read Broccoli Rob several times.  The first time or two your students try to choral read with their puppets, it may be all silliness and playfulness.  Roll with it... kids are silly and playful.  After your students have gotten their sillies out, they'll be able to use their character puppets to choral read properly.

Learn about characters and events while reading Broccoli Rob and the Garden Singers by John S. Armstrong. Make hand puppets and choral read the story. #kellysclassroomonline

To learn more about Broccoli Rob and the Garden Singers, please visit John S. Armstrong's author page at Heartland Publishing.  You can also listen to John S. Armstrong as he talks about the book in his video on Youtube.


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1 comment:

  1. Kelly, I'm humbled to have such a positive and thoughtful review from you! I wrote "Broccoli Rob and the Garden Singers" to provide a powerful message of self-identity for young children, and I am thrilled to have reached so many children so far! Thank you for spreading the word. Kindly, Author John S. Armstrong

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