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Lesson Plan

The Tale of Despereaux: Fact or Fiction?

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The Tale of Despereaux: Fact or Fiction?

Grades 3 – 6
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Four 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Christy Simon

Christy Simon

Urbana, Illinois

Joyce Bruett

Joyce Bruett

Brookhaven, Mississippi


National Council of Teachers of English


Materials and Technology

Student Interactives






  • The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo

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Compare & Contrast Map

Grades   3 – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Organizing & Summarizing

Compare & Contrast Map

The Compare & Contrast Map is an interactive graphic organizer that enables students to organize and outline their ideas for different kinds of comparison essays.


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  • Kate DiCamillo

    The website of the author of The Tale of Despereaux, with more information about her and her other books.

  • Medieval Times

    Lists of kid-friendly research on medieval times and history including such topics as: castles, clothing, weapons, music, and much more.

  • The Tale of Despereaux

    This site is the Universal Pictures site for the movie.  It contains links to activities, games, and information about the movie.

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  1. Students should have completed reading The Tale of Despereaux either individually, in groups, or as a class.
  2. Students should have an understanding of the various reading genres and the characteristics associated with them (from a previous lesson or prior knowledge).  See the Teacher Notes on Genre Characteristics for more information.
  3. Have a collection of books on medieval times available in your classroom.  Use the Medieval Times Booklist for suggestions when searching your school or local library for books.
  4. Use the Book Selections for Comparison handout for suggestions of sample sections in the book for you discussion on this assignment.
  5. After choosing the selection(s) from The Tale of Despereaux that you are going to use in class, have factual information highlighted to read with/to your students that either makes a comparison or contrast to what is in the book. This will vary by what books or web sites you decide to use for comparison.
  6. Preview the web sites about medieval times noted in this lesson plan and bookmark them on your computer or student computers.
  7. Make copies of any handouts and the Compare and Contrast Map Rubric for students.
  8. Test the Compare and Contrast Map on your computer. Familiarize yourself with the tools and ensure that you have the proper Flash plug-ins installed. You can download the plug-in from the technical support page.


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