Number the Stars Comprehension Questions

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Lois Lowry's powerful boo' is wonderful book choice for students. Use this lesson to guide you in checking comprehension of plot, characters and setting with questions for all levels.

Number the Stars

The novel Number the Stars tackles a tough concept and examines friendship, loyalty and discovery of self, a perfect fit for middle and high school students. Check students' understanding along the way, or use these questions as comprehension for testing.

Comprehension Questions for Characters

  • The Johansen family consists of Annemarie, Papa, Mama and Kristi. Another character, Lize, passed away before the novel begins. What role does Lize play in the story? How does Lowry use this character to help the plot move forward and develop?
  • Annemarie is considered the story's heroine. Why is this? What does she do to earn this title? Use evidence from the text to support your answer.
  • What does Annemarie learn in the story? How does she grow and change as a person? What events contributed to this change? Compare to events in your life that led to change.
  • Describe Ellen and Annemarie's friendship. What do they do that makes them close? Do you have relationships like this? Describe them and compare to Ellen and Annemarie's.
  • Peter Nielson and Uncle Henrik are sub-characters in the novel but play important roles in the lives of many. Think of some adjectives to describe the actions of Peter and Uncle Henrik and write about these characters. Why was what they did important? What character traits helped them to complete these acts? Use evidence from the text to support.

Comprehension Questions for Setting

  • Find a scene in the novel that describes the setting. How does Lowry use literary techniques, such as imagery, to create a vivid image of the setting? What do you imagine as you read the words?
  • When Ellen and Annemarie visit Uncle Henrik, they are impressed with the natural beauty. Re-read this scene and describe how Lowry uses this as a foreshadowing tool. What do the girls do that day in nature?
  • Compare the natural light and beauty of Denmark to the dark happenings. Why do you think Lowry includes this contrast? How did it impact you as a reader?

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