A Long Walk to Water Teaching Resources

Teaching resources for a long walk to water grade 5 6 7

So you decided to read A Long Walk to Water with your students? This novel is a wonderful, quick read to use with upper elementary and middle school students. 

Students living in America will learn so much about life in Sudan and how it is possible to persevere through difficult situations. If you need help teaching this novel to your students, check out my blog post that has helpful strategies for this novel study

Teaching Resources for A Long Walk to Water

If you are looking for supplemental resources to use when teaching A Long Walk to Water, here are some great ideas for your novel study. 

Students will read about refugees in the book, A Long Walk to Water. Salva experiences life in a few refugee camps. While the author does a beautiful job describing Salva’s journey and the environment in the different camps, students may still be left wondering what a refugee is. 


The picture book, What is a Refugee? by Elise Gravel, will tell students: 

  • Who are refugees?
  • Why do they need to leave their country?
  • Are they always welcomed into their new country?
  • It uses beautiful illustrations and simple text to get students to understand its message.

This simple picture book will quickly give your students an overview of refugees, like Salva in A Long Walk to Water. At the end of the story, I also like that the author lists several well-known refugees – who knew that Albert Einstein was also a refugee! 

I use this teaching resource to introduce the novel study to my students in my classroom. This quick read will lead to a classroom discussion of refugees and leaves students with a good understanding of the term before reading A Long Walk to Water

This teaching resource for A Long Walk to Water teaches your students about life in Sudan. 

As Americans, we are used to technology, and cultural differences can make some aspects of Salva and Nya’s life confusing to students who do not have a broad knowledge of background information. Using this book will teach students about: 

  • Life and culture in Sudan
  • The wisdom of older family members 
  • Life before modern technology

Many students need to listen to My Great Grandmother’s Gourd to understand the differences in how people live around the world. After reading this story, students will better understand the life that Salva and Nya lead in Sudan, Africa. 

Teaching with Nya's Long Walk

As students read about Salva’s story in A Long Walk to Water, many of them become curious about Nya. While some information is given to understand the Nuer tribe, some students want more. For those students, this teaching resource, Nya’s Long Walk, offers them more insight into Nya’s life. 

I use this A Long Walk to Water teaching resource while reading the novel when students become more curious about Nya. I like this picture book because: 

  • You’ll learn the proper way to pronounce “Nya.”
  • Students learn more about Nya and her younger sister, Akeer
  • It leaves students with a similar message to Salva’s in A Long Walk to Water, hard things can be accomplished by taking one step at a time. 
Supporting A Long Walk to Water with Nya's Long Walk

If your novel studies tend to lack poetry, this might be a good teaching resource for A Long Walk to Water

The poem “Refugees” by Brain Bilston will leave a lasting impression on your students. 

This is a unique poem in that it can be read forward and backward and tells of the hardships and suffering of refugees. But, it also tells a part of how those in other countries can do more to help refugees. 


I hope these A Long Walk to Water teaching resources help you in your novel study. 

If you are looking for a print and go unit, you’ll want to check out my A Long Walk to Water novel study below. 

Want more tips and ideas to use in your classroom AND a free assessment when teaching A Long Walk to Water? 

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