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Trees in the Forest: Growing Readers and Writers through Deep Comprehension
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Rooted in Language

Trees in the Forest: Growing Readers and Writers through Deep Comprehension

Trees in the Forest: Growing Readers and Writers through Deep Comprehension

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Mastering language in all its forms — listening, speaking, reading, and writing — is not optional in today’s world. It’s life changing! 

Trees in the Forest will take you on a journey to deepen your own reading comprehension and writing prowess! And along the way, you’ll discover the steps to guide your students in strengthening their literacy skills. 

Detailed teaching strategies give you productive methods to develop your students’ deep comprehension, idea generation, and expressive writing skills. The activities support every student at their learning level – including those with learning struggles.

Explicit instructions, activities, and student samples are provided. These research-supported, hands-on approaches promote student engagement with text, fostering deep learning as well as abstract thinking.

More than anything, you will give your students the tools they need to engage with future texts and generate analytical ideas.

Empower your students to see themselves as readers with ideas to share, and give them courage to express themselves as writers! 

All Rooted in Language products incorporate research-based methods to support students with dyslexia, dysgraphia, developmental language disorders, and other literacy-based struggles.


To purchase Trees in the Forest in paperback instead of PDF, buy on Amazon.

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  • Grade level: 2 -12 
  • File count: 1 PDF
  • Page count: 149 pages
  • Beautifully illustrated full color book of comprehension and writing activities for repeated use with any literature selection
  • 6 pages of reprintable student resources for repeated use 
  • Summarized resource pages with activity instructions
  • Author, illustrator, and homeschool parent insights throughout
  • Adult and student examples as well as modifications to consider
  • 8 suggested student copywork passages from various reading selections
  • Free download: 1 PDF (3 pages) Comprehension Instructional Guide that outlines an order of teaching for Trees in the Forest activities and related RiL products


Deep comprehension and writing strategies and activities, including:

  • Conversations with text
  • Deep meaning, hidden meaning, unreliable narrator
  • Engaged reading, close reading, annotation
  • Partnership writing, modeling, piggyback writing
  • Internal conversation to discover and understand the writer
  • Connecting art with language arts
  • Character analysis, symbolism, imagery
  • Pretend play inspired by stories
  • Setting as a platform for developing character, creating plot, exploring theme
  • Freewriting to explore ideas
  • Intentional Copywork, Dictation, and Editing with suggested weekly plan that encompasses these skills:
  • Focused attention and deep comprehension
  • Phonics, spelling, word study, and vocabulary
  • Grammar, punctuation, and handwriting

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is Trees in the Forest for?

This book is for anyone who is looking for accessible ways to work on comprehension skills, analytical skills, oral discussions, or student writing, including:

  • Parents and homeschool educators
  • Teachers and tutors
  • Intervention specialists and Speech Language Pathologists
  • Anyone who wants to get more out of the stories and literature they read 


Can I use the activities and strategies in Trees in the Forest with students of any age? 

Yes. The activities and strategies are designed to be modified through the use of age and grade-appropriate literature. The reading activities can be accomplished with books students read independently, as well as those read aloud. The writing activities require basic writing skills, although the program is designed to accommodate students with limited writing abilities. Writing activities focus on idea generation and fluency (getting thoughts on paper) rather than composition.


Will Trees in the Forest help my student who struggles?

Yes. The strategies in Trees in the Forest benefit all students, but they are especially supportive for learners who struggle with dyslexia, dysgraphia, and developmental language delays. 

Explicit activities develop abstract thinking, teaching the complex skills needed to analyze text. Use books that your student can accurately read, as well picture books and stories read aloud. The writing activities focus on content and getting thoughts on paper in bits & pieces, rather than length or composition. This type of writing is therapeutic for the learner who struggles, building their confidence for more writing as they grow. 

Learning how to appreciate text at any level opens the world of literature and improves comprehension skills (listening and reading), thinking skills (text knowledge and analysis), and expressive language skills (oral discussion and writing).


Is my student too young to be introduced to abstract thinking?

If your student has basic reading and writing skills, they can begin to understand the subtle nuances found in story text. Students learn “to have a conversation” with the text they are reading which deepens their engagement and understanding. Picture books are used in two of the methods to demonstrate strategies across age levels. While abstract thinking skills develop with age, thinking about text begins at an early age. Even young children have opinions, and those opinions are the path to analytical thinking!


Do I need to read Trees in the Forest cover-to-cover before I can implement any strategies?

No. Each chapter provides immediately usable techniques and strategies to try with your students. Of course, we recommend you read and try them all! The PDF purchase includes a Comprehension Instructional Guide free download that outlines an order of teaching for Trees in the Forest activities and more.


Can I use Trees in the Forest with other programs?

Yes. These concepts are designed to deepen analytical thinking, generate an appreciation for text, and empower students to write their thoughts on paper. The activities are language and art-based and will augment any reading or language arts program.


Do I need any other resources to accompany the activities in Trees in the Forest?

The following works of literature are used to demonstrate the activities in this book:

  • The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
  • This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen
  • Blart–A Little Blob of Art by Tracy Molitors (available from Rooted in Language) 


I purchased the paperback version of Trees in the Forest on Amazon. Are there any supplemental resources to go with it?

Yes. Download the three page Comprehension Instructional Guide that outlines an order of teaching for Trees in the Forest activities and more.

Customer Reviews

Based on 9 reviews
Amazon Review

This book is amazing!! My son who hates reading now enjoys it and even reads for fun!! It has been so much help, so many great ideas and has even given us some extra bonding time together with books!! Definitely worth the money!!!!

Aaron, Amazon Review

What a wonderful book! This is a book that is helpful to teachers and parents alike who are looking for methods to help their students go deeper into comprehension. Trees in the Forest is very user friendly and has multiple strategies that would work whether you are teaching 1 on 1, a small group, or even in a classroom setting. I highly recommend this book as it is one that you will use and refer to over and over again.


Trees in the Forest is where I started my Rooted in Language journey. It's an amazing book. The ideas in there have helped me get more bang for my buck when reading literature, even though I have an Ivy League degree in German studies, which included lots of literature. It has wonderful ideas that would have made college so much easier and enjoyable!

Donna, SLP, Amazon Review

A beautiful, guided tour through the Forest of Literacy, with a Tour Guide who passionately loves the Forest and all that is in it. The differing viewpoints (author’s, illustrator’s, parent’s) all weave together in an inspiring way, with the roots/tree/forest metaphor. I was spell-bound--did not stop reading until I had read the entire book.

Amazon Review

Rita Cevasco’s experience and passion for assisting students explore the world of literature is apparent on every page of this book. The strategies presented in Trees in the Forest reflect what the research tells us about how people read. Each strategy is presented in an easy to understand format that includes the rationale, personal reflection from Rita, student examples, and insights from a parent who used the strategy. There is an opportunity for the reader to use the strategy alone before presenting it to the child. This is helpful so the teacher can anticipate potential barriers to success and be ready to make appropriate adjustments. Trees in the Forest is written for parents who homeschool or who want to assist their struggling child at home. However, as an experienced teacher, I recognize that this book can inform instruction for the classroom, especially in the elementary years, but also, with some adjustment, in the secondary ages. I would recommend this book for anyone who wants to help children become lifelong readers.