Hear Lynne Cherry read the book “A River Ran Wild”, by clicking on this link: http://www.loe.org/series/lynne_cherry/

A River Ran Wild by Lynn Cherry is a great book to use for all of the Ohio Academic Content Standards. Below are three activities that can be used with this book.

Sequencing Cause and Effect
Throughout the book there are pictures of the river at various stages in its environmental journey. For example, at the opening of the book, the river is depicted in a two-page spread curving picturesquely through a virgin forest. This same angle of the river is shown twice more - once in the middle as a polluted river running through an industrial village and again, toward the end of the book, when clean up efforts have been largely successful and the village is now a growing modern town. Compare and contrast these three views and have students discuss and determine what factors contributed to why a the river appears so differently in each setting and time period. Are the factors natural or man-made, or both? Are changes the result of individuals, groups of people, government intervention, or some combination? Discuss alternative scenarios, both positive and negative, that could have happened and what would have caused these alternative scenarios.

Icon Inquiry
Most of the text of the book is surrounded by pictures or icons that are representative of items or events that occurred during the time in which the text is descriptive (see the picture below). It is important to note that none of the icons are actually mentioned or referenced in the text. The icons in essence can be used as a parallel story. One activity you can do is make two copies of each page that contains both icons and text - one with the text blocked out showing only the surrounding border of icons and another copy with the icons blocked so that only the text is shown. Students can then attempt to match up the relevant set of icons with the text appropriate for that time period. A second activity would be to sequence the icons (now lacking text) in a timeline that would follow the story.


Geography/Environmental Connections

The book focuses on the interactions that people have with their environment, specifically in this case with the Nashua River. The story told here is a true one as it depicts how the river was changes as settlers moved in to be followed by technologies associated with the industrial revolution. Students can follow the impact that industrial waste can have on such an environment through an activity called Fred the Fish. This activity was taken from the link; http://classroom.jc-schools.net/sci-units/activity/runyan.htm , but is also pasted below. In the book, The River Ran Wild, the story has a happy ending as it also depicts actions taken by various community and governmental groups to work together to clean up the river.

Fred the fish is a great water pollution activity that shows what happens to fish in polluted rivers and streams. I've used this lesson several times (even with adults) and it's been a success.
Fred is a light-colored, fish-shaped sponge which hangs from a weighted string into a large jar or punch bowl, about 3/4 full of water.
A scenario is read by different students (9). Each step tells of Fred’s travels down stream, starting with a clean river and gradually adding more and more pollution. Different containers of "pollution" are added by the students along the way. For example, when Fred swims under a highway bridge, some cars traveling across the bridge need to be repaired because they are leaking oil onto the road. The rain is washing the oil into the river below. The "pollution" added to the jar at this time is actually maple syrup to represent the oil.
In addition - students can practice using adjectives by making a list of how Fred looks after each addition.
Below is a list of the script. Remember you will also need baby food jars filled with similar items.
Duplicate one sheet per use, cut apart each story
detail and distribute one script to each of nine students.

Imagine a clean river as it meanders through a protected wilderness area. In this river lives Fred the Fish. How is Fred? Fred has lived in this stretch of the river all his life. But now he is going on an adventure and travel downstream.
Fred swims into farm country. He passes a freshly plowed riverbank. It begins to rain and some soil erodes into the river. (Dump soil in into Fred's jar.) How is Fred.
Fred nears a housing development. Some fertilizer from the pastures and lawns washed into the river awhile back. (Place brown sugar in Fred's jar.) The fertilizer made the plants in the river grow very fast and thick. Eventually the river could not furnish them with all the nutrients they needed, and so they died and are starting to decay. Their decomposition is using up some of Fred's oxygen. How is Fred?
Fred swims beside a large parking lot. Some cars parked on it are leaking oil. The rain is washing the oil into the river below. (Pour pancake syrup into Fred's jar.) How is Fred?
During a recent cold spell, ice formed on a bridge. County trucks spread salt on the road to prevent accidents. The rain is now washing salty slush into the river. (Put salt in Fred's jar.) How is Fred?
Fred swims past the city park. Some picnickers didn't throw their trash into the garbage can. The wind is blowing it into the river. (Sprinkle paper dots into Fred's jar.) How is Fred?
Several factories are located downstream from the city. Although regulations limit the amount of pollution the factories are allowed to sump into the river, factory owners are not abiding by them. (Pour warm soapy water into Fred's jar.) How is Fred?
The city's wastewater treatment plant is also located along this stretch of the river. Also a section of the plant has broken down. (Squirt two drops of red food coloring into Fred's jar.) How is Fred?
Finally, Fred swims past hazardous waste dump located on the bank next to the river. Rusty barrels of toxic chemicals are leaking. The rain is washing these poisons into the river. (For each leaking barrel, squeeze one drop of green food coloring into Fred's jar.) How is Fred?