Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.
Discussing Curious George
Are you a teacher who works with students for whom English is not the first language? If so, then you know that your students might approach literature differently from native English speakers. Not only is vocabulary sometimes unfamiliar, but cultural ideas and norms might be new to your students.
The children's series about the little monkey named Curious George is a popular one; it has been spun off into beloved television cartoons, numerous short books and even toys. By helping ESL students access Curious George, the first book in the series, you can offer them insight into a cultural phenomenon.
Accessing Curious George is not necessarily easy, though, and it can help to have some discussion topics to get you started. The topics in this lesson will help your ESL students consider the text.
Topics About Characters
This section offers topics dealing with the specific characters in the text.
- What are some of the words you would use to describe Curious George himself? What are some of the traits that make him unique?
- Who in your life does Curious George remind you of, and why? What does this connection help you understand about his character and the story overall?
- What do you dislike about Curious George? Why do these aspects of him bother you?
- How would you describe the man with the yellow hat? What are some of his most memorable characteristics?
- Name three things you like about the man with the yellow hat, and three things you dislike about him, using examples from the book to support what you are saying.
- How can you describe the relationship that develops between Curious George and the man with the yellow hat? How does this relationship come to be?
- How does Curious George change from the beginning of the story to the end of it, and why?
- How does the man with the yellow hat change from the beginning of the story to the end of it, and why?
- Describe three or four of the minor characters in this story. Think about the other people and animals George interacts with. What do you think about these characters; what can you learn from them?
Topics About Plot
Here, you will find topics that will move students toward comprehension of the plot of Curious George.
- How would you describe the beginning of the story? What are some of the things the author does to set the stage for the plot?
- What are three different ways that George's curiosity gets him into trouble over the course of the plot? Explain exactly what happens and how he gets out of trouble in each case.
- What do we learn about why the man with the yellow hat wanted to bring George to America? What is your own opinion about him doing this?
- How does the story end? How do you think the characters are feeling at the end, and what questions do you still have about the ending of the story?
- Which part of Curious George did you find funniest or most surprising, and why?
- What happens when George has a run-in with police officers in his new city? What are some of the feelings and questions that come up for you during this part of the plot?
- What is something that happens in Curious George that seems really old-fashioned or confusing to you, and why?
Topics About Themes
Finally, these topics will help ESL students talk about the complicated themes in Curious George.
- What do you think is the most important theme in Curious George, and why?
- Some people have said that it is unfair for the man with the yellow hat to take George out of the jungle and move him to a different country. What do you think about this idea? What does this remind you of, and what feelings do you think someone might have in this situation?
- What does curiosity mean to you? What do you think the author of Curious George believes about curiosity? How is this like and unlike your own perspective on curiosity?
- What does this book suggest about what it is like to come to a foreign land for the first time? What is your opinion about this theme?
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