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Raymie Nightingale Discussion Questions

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

'Raymie Nightingale' is a children's novel about a pre-teen girl who is desperate to get her father's attention after he leaves her family. This resource offers discussion questions about this novel.

Raymie Nightingale

Kate Dicamillo's Raymie Nightingale explores family, friendship, and loss as students connect with Raymie Clark, a 10-year-old girl in the mid-1970s, who is devastated after her father leaves home for a younger woman. Raymie decides that if she enters and wins the Little Miss Central Florida Tire pageant, she can get her father's attention and persuade him to come home. The following questions may be used with upper elementary and middle school students to discuss this novel.

Raymie and the Pageant

  • Describe Raymie and her family. How does Raymie's father's decisions impact the rest of the family? Why does Raymie think she can fix her family? Do you agree? Explain your reasons.
  • What is the Little Miss Central Florida Tire Pageant? What are some positive and negative aspects of these types of pageants? Would you want your daughter to compete in a pageant like this? Why?
  • Why does Raymie decide on baton twirling for the talent competition? What would you choose as your talent in a contest like this? Why?
  • Why do Beverly Tapinski and Lousiana Elfante take baton twirling lessons with Raymie? What motivates each of these girls? What are some things they have in common? Which of these contestants do you think has the most compelling reason to win? Explain your answer.
  • In addition to the change in her family, what are some other losses Raymie faces? Think about some of the losses you have experienced. How have you coped with these losses? What advice would you offer Raymie?
  • Why does Raymie select Ida Nee as her baton teacher? Do you think this is a good choice? Why? What are the characteristics of good teachers?

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