The Raggedy Ann and Andy Books - A Guide for Teachers
About the Books
Cartoonist Johnny Gruelle created Raggedy Ann and Andy nearly ninety years ago. In Gruelle's numerous illustrated storybooks about the floppy, lovable rag dolls, the personalities of Raggedy Ann and Andy unfold -- Ann as the wise and kindly older sister; Andy as the fun-loving, slightly mischievous, younger brother.
Now, nearly a century later, the Raggedys are still going strong. In 2002 Raggedy Ann was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame, and there is renewed interest in the stories in which kindness, generosity, adventure, and make-believe are the underlying themes. The Raggedy Ann and Andy books can be used as source material for units in language, reading, art, and math readiness, as well to teach about gender identity, conflict resolution, and diversity. Come discover the world of the Raggedys and introduce your students to the joy of learning, Raggedy style!
Activities and Discussion Questions for Preschoolers (Ages 2-4)
Choose a story to read aloud from Raggedy Ann Stories . How do Raggedy Ann and Andy show they care about each other? What nice things do they do for their doll friends? Have you ever shared a toy or a doll? Or given somebody a present? How did it make you feel?
In Raggedy Ann and Andy: Fridays Are Fun! , the Raggedys explain why they like each day. Using a large calendar, talk about different days of the week. What family and school activities go with which days? What things are fun to do on weekends?
In My First Raggedy Ann: Raggedy Ann's Wishing Pebble , we meet some special friends of the Raggedys. Read the story aloud and talk about the different characters. Which ones are funny? Which ones are friendly? Which ones are mean or grumpy? Help students make simple costumes and masks from brown paper bags and construction paper, then dress up as their favorite Raggedy character. March together in a classroom parade and gather for a "Raggedy" group portrait.
The Raggedys celebrate the coming of autumn in Raggedy Ann and Andy -- Leaf Dance . What clues in the story tell that fall is coming? Take your students on a leaf scavenger hunt and see how many different kinds of leaves you can find. Afterward put on some music and do your own leaf dance with your students, pretending you are floppy rag dolls.
The Raggedys have fun naming shapes in Raggedy Ann and Andy: I Spy!. Play a game of "I Spy," asking students to identify objects that are circles, squares, etc. Hold up triangles, circles, and curved lines cut from felt and ask students to name the shapes as you place them on a felt board to create a Raggedy face. Then, using crayons or markers, draw Raggedy faces, naming the shapes as you draw.
Raggedy Ann and Andy love parties! To celebrate a holiday or special day, have students bring a "Raggedy" treat from home (candy hearts, raisins, goldfish crackers, peanut butter crackers, M&M's, etc.) Provide a beverage and serve goodies. Read "Raggedy Ann Learns a Lesson" aloud from Raggedy Ann Stories and play games (refer to Raggedy Ann's Birthday Party Book and Raggedy Ann's Tea Party Book for ideas).
Activities and Discussion Questions for Elementary Students (Ages 5-8)
Marcella and her Raggedys take their first airplane ride in Raggedy Ann and Andy: Going to Grandma's . What fun things do they each do during their trip? How does Marcella feel when she sees the Raggedys are not in her suitcase? How does she feel when the Raggedys are returned to her? Talk about plane, train, and car travel and ask students to share their happiest or funniest travel experiences.
In My First Raggedy Ann: Raggedy Ann and Andy and the Camel with the Wrinkled Knees , the Raggedys have an adventure in the Deep Deep Woods. Discuss highlights of the story. What particular details make the story good? Help students identify examples of drama, humor, and make-believe. Then discuss how the illustrations add to the story. What is happening in the pictures? Talk about how stories are told with illustrations as well as with words. Have your students draw their own Raggedy illustrations. Post the drawings on a special "Raggedy Artists" bulletin board.
In Raggedy Ann and Andy: School Day Adventure the Raggedys go to school with Marcella. What different kinds of things do the children share at show-and-tell? What makes each one special? Later on in the story, how does Raggedy Andy save the day? Have a "Keepsake" show-and-tell, in which each student brings in a special doll or toy that once belonged to an older relative. Talk about why family keepsakes are important.
Have students read Raggedy Ann and Andy: Hooray for Reading! How does Marcella show the dolls she is learning to read? How do the dolls teach each other to read? What are some other ways to make reading fun? Have students make their own illustrated flash cards, using words they are learning or words from the book. Gather in small groups to take turns with the cards.
Marcella and the dolls meet some new pals in Raggedy Ann and Andy: Old Friends, New Friends . How do the Raggedys make their new friends feel welcome? What nice things do they do for their old friends? Discuss what friendship means. What makes old friends special? How about new friends?
This guide was prepared by Patricia Hall. Patricia Hall has authored numerous books for adults and children about Johnny Gruelle and his Raggedys and serves as historical consultant to the Johnny Gruelle Raggedy Ann and Andy Museum in Arcola, Illinois.
Teachers can learn more about Johnny Gruelle and his Raggedys by reading Raggedy Ann and Andy: A Retrospective Celebrating 85 Years of Storybook Friends.