Sharon has an Masters of Science in Mathematics and a Masters in Education
Reading Shoeshine Girl
The novel Shoeshine Girl is a favorite among young students and is widely read as a coming-of-age piece. The main character and protagonist, Sarah Ida, is spunky and easy for students to relate to as she struggles with topics like friends, family and right vs. wrong.
How can you ensure your students fully understand the nuances of this novel? The best way is to get students asking and answering questions about key literary elements like plot, characters and setting.
Comprehension Questions for The Shoeshine Girl - Characters
Getting in touch with characters in this book is easy for most students, but you want them to dig a little deeper and think about characters and their development over the course of the text. Use these questions to help students get up close and personal with characters.
- How does Sarah Ida feel about her life at the beginning of the story? At the middle? At the end? Describe how Sarah Ida's feelings about her life change throughout the story, giving examples from the text to support your thinking.
- Who is Rossi?
- Aunt Claudia agrees to take Sarah Ida in, but she causes Sarah Ida conflict. Why is this?
- Why does Al agree to give Sarah Ida a job? What does this tell you about his character?
- How do Al and Aunt Claudia know one another?
- How does Sarah Ida feel about her parents? Use text evidence to support your answer.
Comprehension Questions for The Shoeshine Girl - Setting
Students typically think of setting as 'place,' but in this novel 'time' is an essential element as well. Use these questions to prompt students to consider where and when in The Shoeshine Girl.
- Where does the story take place? Why is Sarah Ida there?
- When does the story take place?
- How does the author's use of vivid vocabulary allow you to create mental images of the story? Choose one passage from the story and re-read, then draw a mental image. Record the passage under your drawing and underline the words that helped you create your mental image.
- What is the shoeshine stand like? Where is it, what does it look like, and what does it contain?
Comprehension Questions for The Shoeshine Girl - Plot
The plot for this book is engaging, and students are naturally drawn in from the get-go. Help them slow the pace and search for meaning beyond the words with these questions about plot.
- Why do Sarah Ida's parents send her to live with her aunt? Why does Sarah Ida think she is visiting her aunt? Are these answers the same? Explain.
- How does Sarah Ida feel about going to live with her aunt?
- What things does Sarah Ida do to let her aunt know how she feels?
- How does Sarah Ida's aunt respond to her?
- Why does Aunt Claudia think Sarah Ida took advantage of Rossi?
- What happens that makes Sarah Ida storm out of Aunt Claudia's house?
- Why does Sarah Ida look for a job?
- Where does Sarah Ida apply for a job?
- How does Sarah Ida react when Al shows her his medal? Why?
- What happens to Al? How does Sarah Ida react?
- Why does Sarah Ida choose to keep the shoeshine stand open?
- How does Sarah Ida manage to keep the shoeshine stand open?
- What does Sarah Ida do with the money from the shoeshine stand? Why?
- What lesson does Sarah Ida learn in this story?
- What does Al do to show Sarah Ida his appreciation? How does Sarah Ida react?
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