Skills Building: The Word Collector (PK-5)

Written and Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

Pre- Reading Questions 

  1. Is there something that you like to collect?
  2. What is your favorite word? Take a minute to think about a word that you like the sound of or its meaning. 
  3. What words would you use to describe this year?

Post- Reading Questions

  1. How did Jerome change throughout the book?
  2. What feelings are you having at the end of the year? 
  3. Jerome, like Rainbow Fish, learned how it feels to share the things he loves. What is one memory you love from this year that you can share with the person sitting next to you?

Creative Enrichment Activity: Before and After (PK-5)


As we go through life, we change both on the outside and inside. For example, as our brains grow, they get bigger and stronger. In this activity, students will reflect on their inside and outside  changes.


  • White cardstock (1 per person)
  • Pencils
  • Colored pencils, markers, crayons 
  • Tables or flat surfaces

Duration: 60 minutes (May be broken up into two 30-minute sessions)

  • 3 minutes – Explain the activity
  • 2 minutes – Pass out supplies
  • 20 minutes – Before
  • 20 minutes – After
  • 10 minutes – Share out
  • 5 minutes – Reflect on the activity


  1. Students will create two self-portraits to reflect how they have changed both on the inside and outside over the past year. Explain to the students the importance of taking time to reflect on the changes that we have gone through and the growth that we have experienced. 
  2. Give a piece of cardstock to each student. 
  3. Fold the piece of paper in half. 
  4. Label the top left “Before” and the top right “After.”
  5. Begin by telling the students that they are going to reflect back on their external changes (e.g., growing taller, longer/shorter hair, lost teeth/new teeth, bigger feet, etc.)
  6. On the “Before” side, ask them to draw a self-portrait from the beginning of the school year. Be sure to tell them to fill the entire left side with their drawing. 
  7. Spend about 20 minutes drawing the “Before” picture.
  8. After 20 minutes, instruct students to put down their supplies and look at the teacher for further instructions.
  9. Now, students will reflect on what they look like now and what has changed. In the new picture, the students will highlight the changes that have taken place (e.g., they might draw themselves taller, with a different hair style, in a different outfit or new shoes, etc.) 
  10. Spend 20 minutes drawing the “After” picture. Remind them to fill up the entire space.
  11. As students finish, ask them to color the picture, leaving little to no white space. This will make for a better display at the end of the year. 
  12. Have students clean up and come together with their “Before and After Portraits.” 
  13. Break students into smaller groups and allow them to share their portraits. After all students have shared, they can switch groups and continue to share if time permits. 
  14. Collect the portraits and gather the students together for reflection time.

Reflection Questions

  • How do you feel looking back over this year?
  • How does it feel to see how much you’ve grown and changed? 
  • How would you like to see yourself grow next year? 
  • How have you changed on the inside?