In Barbara Mariconda’s book Sort it Out! we meet Packy the pack rat. Packy has collected quite a load of odds and ends. His mother tells him he must sort his collection and put everything away. Children will be engaged throughout the story by the author’s use of rhyming text as well as the detailed and colorful illustrations by Sherry Rogers.
As Packy begins his sorting task he names all the things he has collected and thinks about ways he can group them together. As the story continues Packy sorts all of his items into like groups. Items are sorted using both familiar and out of the ordinary characteristics. The author pushes children to think beyond attributes such as shape or color with ideas such as, “The locket, umbrella, and book that he chose, these are all things you can open and… close.” On each page the text is designed to prompt the reader to respond with the next rhyming word. “The needle, the locket, the dented tin kettle, all these three things are made out of… metal.” Cleverly, the response is the word that defines each group and it is represented by a large illustration as well as the word. Some children may notice that some of Packy’s items are included in more than one group. The book also includes a subtle mystery. At the end of the book Packy “scratched at his head, and said “I’ve been thinking; why does it seem my collection is shrinking?” Readers who have been paying close attention may have noticed Packy’s sister lurking in the background on some of the pages. On the last page, we see that she has swiped the missing items and is having a tea party outside.
This book is a winning introduction to sorting, classifying, and making observations for grades K-2. In the state of Virginia this book would pair with the Science SOL K.1a, learning to identify basic properties of objects by observation. It would also be appropriate to use in support of the 1st grade Science SOL 1.1c, learning to classify and arrange objects according to attributes or properties. Teachers of 2nd grade could also use the book in teaching the Science SOL 2.1c, two or more attributes are used to classify items.
- The back pages in the book provide additional sorting exercises using Packy’s items. There is a hidden pictures exercise, a classifying card game and a writing component that helps students think of different ways to describe objects. Additional activities are available to download from the Teaching Activities page at Sylvan Dell Publishing. Activities and lesson plans include an edible sort, animal classification and a writing activity.
- Lesson Planz.com has some great sorting activities for grades k-2. I like the Halloween Candy Sort because it expands the lesson to cover graphing. For 2nd graders the Spider Sort has many applications for expanding these concepts.
- Additional sorting worksheets can be downloaded at Enchanted Learning.com.