Matilda Classroom Activities

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

If you are reading Roald Dahl's 'Matilda' with your class, you may be looking for ways to bring the book to life. This lesson offers you some classroom activities that help you make the most of the reading experience.

Why Matilda Classroom Activities?

Are you about to embark on reading Roald Dahl's Matilda with your students? If so, you probably know what an exciting book it is for many young readers. Matilda deals with many interesting themes, like what it means to be exceptional, what kind of power children have in relation to adults, and how problems from the past can haunt people in the present. The characters in the novel are compelling and interesting, and Roald Dahl's unique combination of humor and gravitas keeps readers engaged.

To make the most out of reading this book with your students, though, you will want to help them be active learners and thinkers. One way to do this is by incorporating activities into your instruction. The activities in this lesson are designed to appeal to students with a variety of learning styles and strengths. These activities will help maximize students' critical thinking and allow them to get as much as they can out of the reading experience.

Pre-Reading Activities

These can be great activities to do in the classroom before you start reading Matilda.

Being Different

One of the struggles the character Matilda faces is how different she feels from the rest of her family. Ask your students to talk about a time that they felt different from people around them, and have them reflect on how this felt and what they did to handle the feelings. Then, ask them to write in their journals about the experience. Students who are comfortable can share their writing with the class.

Vocabulary Preview

Though the vocabulary in Matilda will be largely familiar to students, there are certainly some new words. Select about twenty words from the novel that might be new to your students. Examples might include headmaster, platinum, scorching, bunion, adoration, and ignorant. Have your students create illustrations that help them remember the meaning of these words. They can work in small groups for this activity, and each group will come up with an illustrated glossary that they can add to as they read the book.

During Reading Activities

These activities will enhance students' comprehension and keep them engaged as they read.

Character Map

There are many different characters in Matilda, and they all have different relationships to Matilda herself. In small groups, have your students create character maps or webs with Matilda at the center. They should draw lines out from Matilda's name and write the names of each new character they encounter. Have students write a few traits of each character and describe their connections to Matilda.

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