Summer of the Monkeys


About the story

Trekking through an Ozark dry riverbed, Jay Berry Lee is shocked to discover a tree full of escaped circus monkeys! Turns out there’s a big reward for their return! Jay Berry has a dream of owning a pony and a .22 rifle, so he sets out to trap the monkeys and earn the cash. But his twin sister Daisy, and her invisible friend the Old Man of the Mountains, are always on his mind, and with good reason. This is much more than a boy-wants-pony tale. In Summer of the Monkeys, Jay Berry gets what he wants, but gives it up for a greater good—and ends up with something better.

About the LitWits Kit

Experience Summer of the Monkeys with your students in fun, meaningful ways! This story lets you monkey around  — and pick up life lessons, history, Ozark geography, vocab, and writing tips too!  Your kids can depict the narrator’s memory as art, listen to Ozark fiddle music, craft Rawls-ish similes, eat a treat that would “put muscles on a grapevine,” use low-tech materials to build (humane) monkey traps, recreate the clay face Daisy made of another great healer, and so much more!

LitWits Kits are web pages that include a printable PDF version. This lesson planning resource is ideal for ages 8-12, but it’s highly adaptable. Scroll down to get more details and a free idea with template.


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Product Description

Have straight-from-the-story fun with The LitWits Kit for SUMMER OF THE MONKEYS by Wilson Rawls - LITWITS The LitWits Kit for Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls

Everything in this “experience kit” comes from our unique sensory workshops on Summer of the Monkeys.  It’s packed with hands-on ways to get into the characters’ shoes. When kids see, feel, hear, taste, smell, and DO what the characters did, they understand more. Better yet, they want to read more.

LitWits Kits are web pages packed with downloadables—templates, activity aids, academic handouts, and more. (Here’s a sample, for a different book.) Because our kits live online, we can link you to useful info and audiovisuals. And you’ll always have the very latest updates! A PDF version is included for easy printing.

The LitWits Kit for Summer of the Monkeys includes:

  • sensory prop suggestions, with photos
  • creative project and activity ideas, with photos
  • printable templates, excerpts, and activity prompts
  • takeaway topics, to fuel meaningful conversations
  • printable handouts for creative writing, the narrative arc, setting, and more
  • research and audiovisual links, for one-stop prep and homework help
  • great quotes from the book, where copyright allows

Want a glimpse of our sensory style? Scroll down to get a free idea and template!

This kit is adaptable to a wide range of ages. (See the Ways to Use tab for classroom and homeschool uses.) We find 8-12-year-olds consistently “ready to LitWit,” but you know best what your kids are ready for, interested in, and capable of.

Common Core Alignment
The LitWits experience of this book is jam-packed with carefully integrated lessons — but they’re embedded in FUN, so kids don’t feel “taught.”  At a bare minimum, the use of this kit helps meet these Common Core goals:

THIRD GRADE Common Core Alignment
FOURTH GRADE Common Core Alignment
FIFTH GRADE Common Core Alignment
SIXTH GRADE Common Core Alignment

Please note that LitWits® is a registered trademark of LitWits Workshops, LLC.  All LitWits Kits are copyrighted and may be used for non-commercial educational purposes only.

Get this FREE teaching idea and template when you subscribe!

Sign up to get a FREE idea and template!

We’ll send you our Setting Notes template, with a page of teacher tips. It’s a fun, sensory way to explore a story’s setting!

Here are a few options for classroom teachers and homeschoolers. Decide what works best for your classroom or family!

Pull projects, activities, and handouts as needed to stimulate interest, reinforce a concept, or take a break from reading.

Use a suggested prop to trigger a conversation. Ask your kids if they know what the item is, and why it’s significant in the story. You might discover a theme together!

Casually bring up a question from a handout at recess or over dinner, and let the discussion grow from there. Take advantage of tangential learning opportunities!

Do the projects and activities as the book is being read, or after as a reward.

Use one or more prop ideas to support specific learning goals, such as spelling or social studies.

Have your kids research a particular prop in more depth – learn its history and usage, and write a report.

Enjoy the arts and crafts projects as a family or in an after-care group.

Set up the book display in the classroom or living room, and invite your kids to contribute their own story-related items each day.


Please note that LitWits® is a registered trademark of LitWits Workshops, LLC.  All LitWits Kits are copyrighted and may be used for non-commercial educational purposes only.


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