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Main Idea and Details The main idea tells what a paragraph is mostly about. Details support the main idea with more information. • Sometimes an author gives the main idea of a paragraph in the first sentence. The rest of the sentences are details that tell more about the main idea. • Sometimes, the author does not tell you the main idea and you have to figure out what it is. Detail
If the author does not state the main idea directly, use the details and what you already know about the topic to figure out what the main idea is.
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Read the paragraph. Think about what main idea the details support. Traders and other travelers in ancient China moved across deserts and through mountain passes. Sometimes the traders used horses or camels to carry goods they wanted to trade. Traders took goods such as tea, silk, sugar, and salt from China to faraway places. They traded, or exchanged, those goods for other goods they wanted. Many traders carried medicines, gold, and silver back to China. Detail Travelers moved across deserts and through mountain passes.
Detail Sometimes, the travelers used horses or camels.
Detail They traded goods and services.
Try This Look back at this passage. Find two more details that support the main idea.
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Build Robust Vocabulary
Foods of China generous banquet gaze agreeable curiosity famine
Long ago, emperors ruled China. An emperor lived in a palace. Every day more than two thousand workers prepared generous meals for the emperor. For each banquet, the cooks prepared many kinds of cereals, meats, fruit and desserts. The cooks could only gaze at the wonderful foods. Only the emperor, his family, members of the court, and special visitors could eat them. The emperor wanted food that was agreeable to him. His cooks chose and tasted his food.
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For hundreds of years, the people of China grew or hunted for all the food they needed. In time, some Chinese people traveled to other countries. They found new foods that were a curiosity to them. They carried these interesting new foods back to China. Corn, hot peppers, and potatoes soon became important to Chinese cooking. Today, many Chinese people live in other countries. They share their delicious cooking with others. www.harcourtschool.com/storytown
People knew which wild plants to eat during a famine.
Word Detective Your mission this week is to look for the Vocabulary Words in folktales from China or other countries. Each time you read a Vocabulary Word, write it in your vocabulary journal. Don’t forget to tell where you found the word.
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Fo l k t a l e
Genre Study A folktale is a story passed down through time by word of mouth. Look for • events that repeat. • story details that come together to teach a lesson. Detail
Comprehension Strategy Summarize, or review, the main events in a story to help you think about the important parts of the story.
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retold and illustrated by
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Three monks, Hok, Lok, and Siew, traveled along a mountain road. They talked about cat whiskers, the color of the sun, and giving. “What makes one happy, Siew?” asked Hok, the youngest monk. Old Siew, who was the wisest, said, “Let’s find out.”
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The sound of a bell brought their gaze to the rooftops of a village below. They could not see from so high above that the village had been through many hard times. Famine, floods, and war had made the villagers weary and untrusting of strangers. They had even become suspicious of their neighbors.
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The villagers worked hard, but only for themselves.
There was a farmer.
A tea merchant.
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A carpenter . . . . . . and many others.
But they had little to do with one another. 261
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When the monks reached the foot of the mountain, the villagers disappeared into their houses. No one came to the gates to greet them. And when the people saw them enter the village, they closed their windows tight. The monks knocked on the door of the first house. There was no answer. Then the house went dark. They knocked on a second door and the same thing happened. It happened again and again, from one house to the next. “These people do not know happiness,” they all agreed. “But today,” said Siew, his face bright as the moon,“we will show them how to make stone soup.” They gathered twigs and branches and made a fire. 262
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They placed a small tin pot on top and filled it with water from the village well. A brave little girl who had been watching came to them. “What are you doing?” she asked. “We are gathering twigs,” said Lok. “We are making a fire,” said Hok. “We are making stone soup and we need three round, smooth stones,” said Siew. The little girl helped the monks look around the courtyard until they found just the right ones. Then they put them in the water to cook. “These stones will make excellent soup,” said Siew. “But this very small pot won’t make much, I’m afraid.” “My mother has a bigger pot,” said the girl.
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The little girl ran home. As she started to take a pot, her mother asked what she was doing. “The three strangers are making soup from stones,” she said. “They need our biggest pot.” “Hmm,” said the girl’s mother. “Stones are easy to come by. I’d like to learn how to do that!” The monks poked the coals. As smoke drifted up, the neighbors peered out from their windows. The ﬁre and the large pot in the middle of the village were a true curiosity! One by one, the people of the village came out to see just what this stone soup was. 264
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“Of course, old-style stone soup should be well seasoned with salt and pepper,” said Hok. “That is true,” said Lok as he stirred the giant pot filled with water and stones. “But we have none…” “I have some salt and pepper!” said the scholar, his eyes big with curiosity. He disappeared and came back with salt and pepper and even a few other spices. Siew took a taste. “The last time we had soup stones of this size and color, carrots made the broth very sweet.” “Carrots?” said a woman from the back. “I may have a few carrots! But just a few.” And off she ran. She returned with as many carrots as she could carry and dropped them into the pot.
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“Do you think it would be better with onions?” asked Hok. “Oh, yes, maybe an onion would taste good,” said a farmer, and he hurried off. He returned in a moment with five big onions, and he dropped them into the bubbling soup. “Now, that’s a fine soup!” he said. The villagers all nodded their heads, as the smell was very agreeable. “But if only we had some mushrooms,” said Siew, rubbing his chin. Several villagers licked their lips. A few dashed away and returned with fresh mushrooms, noodles, pea pods, and cabbages. Something magical began to happen among the villagers. As each person opened his or her heart to give, the next person gave even more. And as this happened, the soup grew richer and smelled more delicious.
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“I imagine the Emperor would suggest we add dumplings!” said one villager. “And bean curd!” said another. “What about cloud ear and mung beans and yams?” cried some others. “And taro root and winter melon and baby corn!” cried other villagers. “Garlic!” “Ginger root!” “Soy sauce!” “Lily buds!” “I have some! I have some!” people cried out. And off they ran, returning with all they could carry. The monks stirred and the pot bubbled. How good it smelled! How good it would taste! How giving the villagers had become!
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At last, the soup was ready. The villagers gathered together. They brought rice and steamed buns. They brought lychee nuts and sweet cakes. They brought tea to drink, and they lit lanterns. Everyone sat down to eat. They had not been together for a feast like this for as long as anyone could remember.
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After the banquet, they told stories, sang songs, and celebrated long into the night. Then they unlocked their doors and took the monks into their homes and gave them very comfortable places to sleep.
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In the gentle spring morning, everyone gathered together near the willows to say farewell. “Thank you for having us as your guests,” said the monks. “You have been most generous.” “Thank you,” said the villagers. “With the gifts you have given, we will always have plenty. You have shown us that sharing makes us all richer.” “And to think,” said the monks, “to be happy is as simple as making stone soup.” 271
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1 What is the main idea of the story “Stone
2 What happens to the villagers at the feast? IMPORTANT DETAILS
3 Do you think that the change in the way the
villagers act will continue? Explain. EXPRESS PERSONAL OPINIONS
4 How can you tell that the author believes the
monks brought a good change to the village? DRAW CONCLUSIONS
5 WR ITE Why do the monks show the villagers
how to make stone soup? Explain what happens as a result. SHORT RESPONSE
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Meet the Author and Illustrator
Jon J Muth illustrated comic books for many years. After his son was born, he began to write and illustrate books for children. Jon J Muth likes creating books based on fables and folktales. Stone Soup is based on a story from Europe. He rewrote it and illustrated it so that it takes place in China. Monks, like those in Stone Soup, are often characters in Chinese folktales. Sometimes Jon J Muth uses his children as models for illustrations of characters in his books. By the way, the “J” in his name doesn’t stand for Jamal, or Jake, or Jason, or any name at all. www.harcourtschool.com/storytown
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L e ge n d
There’s no hero quite like Johnny Appleseed He wasn’t a giant like Paul Bunyan He wasn’t a fighter like Daniel Boone He wasn’t a hunter like Buffalo Bill He was kind and gentle and thought people and animals ought to get along Johnny’s real name was John Chapman He worked in an apple orchard as a young man That’s where he learned about trees About two hundred years ago pioneers started heading west They moved to the land between the Great Lakes and the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers The trees grew so thick in that area that a squirrel starting in Pennsylvania could reach the Mississippi by jumping from tree to tree
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Johnny was one of the first pioneers to arrive in that area While some people thought about getting rich Johnny thought about the families who would soon be coming They would need apples Apples were good to eat They could be pressed to make apple juice and cider They could be stored over the winter But although there were plenty of trees in the new territory not one grew apples Johnny decided to change that He went back to the big cider presses in Pennsylvania There he found plenty of leftover seeds from cider apples Johnny picked out the best seeds and carried them west He planted them in forest clearings He watered the seedlings to help them grow
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The settlers wanted to buy Johnny’s young trees Johnny sold his saplings for whatever people could pay An old hat a shirt or a pair of moccasins would do If people had nothing to trade he gave them saplings anyway He wanted them to have apples Sometimes Johnny would take a sack of apple seeds and visit faraway cabins He showed people how to plant the seeds and grow apple trees Folks started calling him Johnny Appleseed Johnny was a strange sight He walked barefoot wearing an old shirt or even a sack with a tin pot on his head for a hat Everybody seemed to love him anyway Johnny often stayed with different families as he traveled In the evening he told the families stories about his travels Johnny Appleseed was welcome everywhere
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The Native Americans welcomed Johnny too They knew that this strange man was their friend So did the animals One winter night as the story goes Johnny got caught in a snowstorm He stayed in a hollow tree with a mother bear and her cub The bears kept Johnny warm through the long cold night Johnny Appleseed was more than 70 years old when he died He had planted thousands of apple trees Seeds from Johnny’s trees were carried farther west over the Oregon Trail An apple you eat today may come from a tree descended from one that Johnny planted John Chapman or Johnny Appleseed left his mark on our country Whenever we show kindness or give freely to others we are walking in his footsteps
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Comparing Texts 1. How are Johnny Appleseed and the monks in “Stone Soup” alike? How are they different?
2. Would you like to go to a banquet similar to the one in “Stone Soup”? Why or why not?
3. What did you learn about living in a community from “Stone Soup”?
Vocabulary Review Rate a Situation Work with a partner. Read aloud each sentence and point to the spot on the word line that shows how you would feel. Discuss your answers. sad happy • Your friend was generous with his snack. • You are invited to a banquet.
generous banquet gaze agreeable curiosity famine
• You received a gift that was a curiosity to you. 278
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Fluency Practice Readers’ Theater Meet with a group to prepare a Readers’ Theater. Choose a section of “Stone Soup” to read. Each student should read the part of a character or the narrator. Speak clearly, pausing at commas and end marks.
My Writing Che
Write a How-To Paragraph Write a paragraph that tells how to make stone soup. Tell the main idea first. Then add details that tell more about the main idea. Use a main idea and details chart to help you plan.