I Survived… Series Activities

I survived lauren tarshis audiobook

Standards and Objective

Paraphrase portions of a text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
Summarize a written text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

Students will paraphrase and summarize events in history by listening to an I Survived series book.


Tales2go Titles

  • I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic, 1912 (Book 1) by Lauren Tarshis
  • I Survived the Shark Attacks of 1916 (Book 2) by Lauren Tarshis
  • I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005 (Book 3) by Lauren Tarshis
  • I Survived the Bombing of Pearl Harbor, 1941 (Book 4) by Lauren Tarshis
  • I Survived the San Francisco Earthquake, 1906 (Book 5) by Lauren Tarshis
  • I Survived the Attacks of September 11, 2001 (Book 6) by Lauren Tarshis
  • I Survived the Battle of Gettysburg, 1863 (Book 7) by Lauren Tarshis
  • I Survived the Japanese Tsunami, 2011 (Book 8) by Lauren Tarshis
  • I Survived the Nazi Invasion, 1944 (Book 9) by Lauren Tarshis
  • I Survived the Hindenburg Disaster, 1937 (Book 13) by Lauren Tarshis


The activities below can be modified or changed depending on the title you or your students choose to listen to. Titles can be listened to in any order – each one is about a separate event.

Each title is between 60-100 minutes long. We suggest:

  • First, ask your students what they know about the event. They could write, draw and/or discuss what they know.
    • What other titles or movies have they read or seen about the event?
    • What else was going on in history during the time the event happened?
  • Titles can be used as a read aloud, during small group lessons or as individual listening (SSR, DEAR, etc.) Tales2go can of course be used during the Daily 5 or other literacy rotations.
  • Throughout the title, students should keep track of new vocabulary words using a vocabulary organizer or in a notebook.
  • Another ongoing activity for students includes picking out historical details vs. fictional details. What parts of the title actually happened? And what did the author make up?
  • Students should also make predictions when appropriate. Model how to accurately make predictions based on prior knowledge.
  • “Exit slip” ideas after each lesson include:
    • Write a summary of the section you listened to (make sure to do a mini-lesson if students are struggling with what a summary is.)
    • Paraphrase the section of the title you listened to.
    • Draw a series of events or “comic strip” of the section you listened to.
    • Discuss with a partner or group the character traits of the main character then turn it in together.
    • Write what the “problem” is in the story, and anything that surprises them.
  • At the end of the unit, students can write a letter to the main character.
    • What would you want to say to the character?
    • What advice would you give them?
    • How would you have dealt with the situation?
    • What would you do after you “survive”?

The discussions that your class(es) can have from these titles are endless. If you choose to have your students complete a full book report or do an assignment outside of school, remember they can listen to Tales2go at home if you have a building license so make sure they know how to login.

Extensions and Variations

Students can listen to other titles on Tales2go about the same topics. They can compare/contrast themes and issues to the I Survived title. Some examples include:

  • Zane and the Hurricane (Hurricane Katrina)
  • Thunder Dog (September 11)
  • Stone Angel (Nazi Invasion)
  • Dear America: The Fences Between Us (Pearl Harbor Bombing)
  • On Board the Titanic (Sinking of the Titanic)


Vocabulary organizer

Character traits organizer

Teacher’s Guide by Lauren Tarshis

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