Kindergarten - Literature - Casey Jones


Participate in a discussion about trains.

Listen to the story Casey Jones.


One of the books listed below to share information about trains

A version of Casey Jones (see suggested titles below)

Suggested Titles

Broekel, Ray. Trains. Chicago: Children's Press, 1981.

An introduction to trains, what they do, train workers, and kinds of railroad cars. Simple text and photographs make this "New True Book" suitable for reading aloud.

Coiley, John. Train. New York: Knopf, 1992.

Part of the "Eyewitness Book" series, this text traces the development of railways and describes how trains are built. Not suitable for reading aloud in its entirety, however, numerous interesting photographs and illustrations should be appealing to kindergarten students.

Gleiter, Jan, retold by. Casey Jones. Milwaukee: Raintree, 1987.

A good retelling appropriate for reading aloud. This version contains nice illustrations.

Hirsch, E. D. Jr and John Holdren, edited by. What Your Kindergartner Needs to Know. New York: Doubleday, 1996.

Includes a good retelling.

Rockwell, Anne. Trains. New York: Dutton, 1988.

Simple text and illustrations introduce a variety of trains and their uses.

Teacher Information: Casey Jones, born John Luther Jones, was a real train engineer. He began working for the railroad at age fifteen. He earned the nickname "Casey" after his hometown, Cayce, Kentucky. The story of his life and dramatic death in 1900 are told mostly in song, of which there are many different versions. If you have access to one of these recordings play it for the children.



Say: Today we are going to read a story about a train engineer. Ask: What do you think a train engineer does? (Allow speculation.) Say: A train engineer is responsible for driving the train. Ask: Would you like to be a train engineer? (Allow discussion.)

Ask: What are some things you already know about trains? (Allow discussion about trains and their uses.) Read one of the information books about trains listed above.

Say: The story we are going to read is about a train engineer named Casey Jones. Casey Jones was a real man. He was an engineer for a train called the Cannonball Express. One day, Casey's train was late, so he speeded up the Cannonball Express to get back on schedule. Another train on the track ahead of Casey couldn't get out of the way. Casey knew the Cannonball Express was going to crash into the back of the train ahead of him. Casey could have jumped out of the train to save himself, but he bravely stayed in the train. He stayed on board so


Kindergarten - Literature - Casey Jones

he could slow down the train. He wanted to save the people riding the Cannonball Express from death. Listen to the story Casey Jones and you will know what happened to Casey and the people riding his train, the Cannonball Express.

Read a version of Casey Jones. Following the reading, discuss how Casey's bravery and work ethic of doing his duty, saved the passengers from certain death.

Suggested Follow-Up Activity

Read other books about trains.

Galef, David. Tracks. New York: Morrow, 1996.

Magee, Doug and Robert Newman. All Aboard ABC. New York: Cobblehill Books, 1990.

Piper, Watty retold by. The Little Engine That Could. New York: Platt & Munk, 1990.

Retan, Walter. The Big Book of Real Trains. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1987.

Teach children the spiritual, Train Is A-Coming.

Verse 1:

Train is a-coming, oh, yes!

Train is a-coming, oh, yes!

Train is a-coming, train is a-coming,

Train is a-coming, oh, yes!

Verse 2:

Better get your ticket, oh, yes!

Better get your ticket, oh, yes!

Better get your ticket, better get your ticket,

Better get your ticket, oh, yes!

Verse 3:

Room for many more, oh, yes!

Verse 4:

Hear the whistle blowin', oh, yes!

Verse 5:

Hear the conductor callin', oh, yes!

Verse 6:

The train is a-leavin', oh, yes!

Verse 7:

Now the wheels are rollin', oh, yes!

Verse 8:

I'm on my way to Texas, oh, yes!


Allow the children to move like a train while singing. Assemble the children in a straight line, all facing forward. Instruct the children to place their hands on the shoulders of the person in front of them. The lead student should imitate the wheels of the train by moving bent arms in a circular fashion.