Kid Beowulf - The Song of Roland: Reading and Teaching Guide | Ages 8 - 11

Kid Beowulf - The Song of Roland: Reading and Teaching Guide | Ages 8 - 11


Beowulf and Grendel are banished from their homeland and seek refuge with their Uncle Ogier in fair Francia. But by the time they arrive, the kingdom is in shambles! King Charlemagne is ailing, his knights are exile, and Francia's hero, Roland, needs a kick in the pants! It's up to Beowulf and Grendel to unite the country before it's taken over by an invading Saracen horde.



Grade 3: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.3.2, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.3.3, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.3.7, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.3.1

• Recount stories, including fables, folktales, and myths from diverse cultures; determine the central message, lesson, or moral and explain how it is conveyed through key details in the text. [CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.3.2]
• Describe characters in a story (e.g., their traits, motivations, or feelings) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events. [CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.3.3]
• Explain how specific aspects of a text’s illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story (e.g., create mood, emphasize aspects of a character or setting). [CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.3.7]
• Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly. [CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.3.1]

Grade 4: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.3, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.4.1

• Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character’s thoughts, words, or actions). [CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.3]
• Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly. [CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.4.1]

Grade 5: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.2, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.3, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.7, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.5.1

• Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text. [CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.2]
• Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., how characters interact). [CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.3]
• Analyze how visual and multimedia elements contribute to the meaning, tone, or beauty of a text (e.g., graphic novel, multimedia presentation of fiction, folktale, myth, poem). [CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.7]
• Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 5 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly. [CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.5.1]



  1. Students will read Kid Beowulf: The Song of Roland and record the characters, settings, and main events in each section of the text.
  2. Students will discuss how the text sections fit together and how each successive part builds on earlier sections.
  3. Students will analyze several main events in the story, including the characters’ motivations and the consequences that follow.


  1. 3–5 class periods, plus time for students to read


  1. Copies of Kid Beowulf: The Song of Roland
  2. Copies of the Text Section Summary graphic organizer
  3. Copies of the Motives and Consequences chart
  4. Chart paper and markers


Students read Kid Beowulf: The Song of Roland and complete character studies. Each student then creates a timeline of his or her character’s actions and writes about the character’s motivations and choices and how they affect the story. After students share their character studies with the class, each student chooses two more characters and analyzes their interactions and motivations. 


1. Take students on a quick book walk through Kid Beowulf: The Song of Roland without reading the text. Ask students what they think the book is about. Have them share their thoughts and opinions on the art style. If they have read Kid Beowulf: The Blood-Bound Oath, ask them to share their thoughts about it.

2. Tell students that Kid Beowulf: The Song of Roland is a complex story with many characters. Because it is so complex, author Alexis E. Fajardo has provided some references that will be helpful to  refer to while reading. Have students use the Table of Contents to find and discuss the following references: 
• Map of Francia: The story takes place in different locations, and it’s important for the reader to keep track of who is where. Encourage students to refer to the map each time the action shifts to a  different location, just to get their bearings. 
• Character Glossary and Character Map: There are many characters in the story, and the Character Glossary and Character Map will help readers understand the characters and how they relate to one another. Encourage students to refer to the character map often to keep track of which characters belong to which groups and what roles they play in the story. You may want to create an anchor chart of the character map and post it in the classroom.

3. Before students read the book, you may want to teach/review the Key Terms on page 247 of the text.

4. Tell students they will each be creating a detailed character study of one main character from the story. Have each student choose one character from the Character Glossary. You may wish to  assign characters to be sure that every character has been chosen by at least one student.


5. Tell students that as they are reading, they will complete character studies of their chosen characters. They should write down the major events that the characters are involved in and what other characters are involved. (You may want to review what a major event is so students do not record every minor event that takes place.) Students should also record observations about their chosen characters’ traits along with text evidence to support their observations. Remind students that in comics, information comes from the words and the pictures (as well as the way they work together), so they should look for information in the drawings and in the dialogue. (Note: For younger students, you can have them complete a character study covering a single chapter instead of the entire book.)


6. Bring the class together to discuss their personal connections to the book using the following questions:
• What did you like about the story? Was there anything you didn’t like?
• Did you read anything that reminded you of something in your life? Of something in another book?
• Was there anything in the book that took you by surprise?

7. Have each student use his or her character study to create a timeline showing the major events that his or her chosen character takes part in during the story. Students can use the Character
Timeline graphic organizer or create their own timelines. You may wish to provide long strips of paper for this activity.

8. Distribute copies of the Choices, Motives, & Consequences page and review the directions with students. Tell students that some character motives and consequences are fairly clear, while others may be hard to figure out, so they need to try and put themselves in their characters’ places to understand what they are thinking. Give students time complete the chart.

9. Have each student share his or her completed character study with the class, briefly going over the main events in his or her character’s timeline and naming the choice, motivation, and consequence for each event.

10. As students are sharing their character studies, project the Character Map or ask students to refer to it in their books. Have each student begin his or her presentation by pointing out his or her
character on the map.

11. Once all students have shared their character studies, distribute copies of the Character Interactions page. Tell students that they should each choose two characters to compare and contrast, using the Character Map from the book for reference. The characters must interact at least once during the story. Students can choose the characters from their first studies along with one other character or choose two new characters.



See PDF attachment below

Differentiation and Extended Learning Activities

See PDF attachment below

Character Timeline

See PDF attachment below

Choices, Motives, and Consequences

See PDF attachment below

Character Interactions

See PDF attachment below

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