The Important Book -- Oh how I love thee....

One of my absolute favorite books to use in my classroom is Margaret Wise Brown's The Important Book.  It is such a great way to get your students to think about main idea and details.

For those of you who haven't heard of this awesome book, it is a short, simple story that takes the reader on a journey through every day objects, describing them for their many attributes, but boiling them down to one main "important" thing.

Using this book as a jumping off point, I have had my upper grade students think about whatever subject it is we are studying and write their own "Important Book" pages.  Most recently, we did this for our family holiday cards.

template  fill in the blank   communication guideAfter reading the book aloud, we each Circle Mapped (brainstormed) the important things about our own families.  Then, I had the students decide which one of those things was the most important.  That became the first sentence of the page.

"The most important thing about my family is that they love me and I love them."

Then, I gave the students a form to follow.  They filled in the blank spaces with the other things about their family they brainstormed in the Circle Maps.

The last sentence of the "Important Book" page they were writing was identical to the first.   upper grade   blog  5th gradeI love this activity because it really makes the students think about what is most important about what we are learning.  In this case, their family, it was a little easier because the subject was a personal to each child.  When we learn about reference books, or the Oregon Trail, or fractions, it gets a bit trickier.  However it really is a great way to get the students to narrow down their thinking.


  1. I love this activity too! We use it when we study facts and opinions. We talk about how in the book the "it is true that..." parts are (usually) facts but the "most important thing..." parts are opinions.

  2. Ooohh, that is a great idea Shauna! I had never thought of that. Definitely going into my next lesson when we pull this book out again :) Thank you for sharing.

  3. I agree with you. This is one of my favorite books to share with kids and it can be used in so many ways. I have used it in exactly this way with my 3rd and 4th graders. I haven't had them make the little reference books you show. Great idea.

  4. I have used The Important Book in both math and science. It's great for vocabulary development!

  5. I love The Important Book! I have used it to created big books for shared reading in science and social studies. For example, "The important thing about penguins is that they are birds that cannot fly."
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  6. Love this book! I have used it as a mini-autobiography or biography in Sept.and as a way to describe the properties of an object for science. If you have the children leave out what the object or person is, this can be a great way to work on inferencing.

  7. Can you display a larger sample of the example of the students work that they wrote about their family pleasE?

  8. This is my go to book when working individually with students. It is a quick read and a short beginning writing project. Plus a great way to learn what is important to each student as I allow them to decide what is important to write about.


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