The Outsiders Unit Plan

Instructor: Matthew Hamel

Matt has degrees in Journalism and Business and has taught a variety of courses at high schools and universities around the world.

S.E. Hinton's classic novel, The Outsiders, is still taught in schools for a variety of reasons. This lesson provides teachers with an outline for teaching The Outsiders in a classroom setting.

The Outsiders - Reading Schedule

At 192 pages, The Outsiders is an ideal book to cover over the course of one or two weeks. The first step is to develop a reading plan for your students. Depending on the age and reading ability of your learners, reading one chapter every day will allow you to get through the book in approximately 2 weeks. Of course, feel free to increase or decrease the speed depending on your needs.

  • Days 1-2 (Monday, Tuesday)
    • Chapters 1-2
  • Days 3-4 (Wednesday, Thursday)
    • Chapters 3-4
  • Days 5-7 (Friday, Saturday, Sunday)
    • Chapters 5-7
  • Days 8-9 (Monday, Tuesday)
    • Chapters 8-9
  • Days 10-12 (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday)
    • Chapters 10-12

The Outsiders - Comprehension and Review Activities

After each set of chapters, it's important to test student understanding and overall comprehension of the material. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways.


  • Quizzes are helpful for assessing comprehension, but should be used to supplement the reading rather than to define the purpose for reading. Basically, students should be reading the book in an attempt to understand why The Outsiders is considered a classic of youth fiction rather than to simply pass a quiz. Quizzes for each chapter can include multiple choice, fill-in-the-blank, and short answer question formats. The following sample quiz for chapters one and two will give you a template to follow for the remaining chapters.
  • The Outsiders chapters one and two quiz
  1. What is the name of the narrator? A. Bonyboy Martin B. Ponyboy Martin C. Ponyboy Curtis D. Curtis Ponyboy
  2. Socials, or Socs, are from what area? A. East Side B. West Side C. North Side D. South Side
  3. True of False - Greasers are clean cut and always follow the rules.
  4. What nickname is given to Ponyboy's older brother? A. Darry B. Barry C. Carry D. Larry
  5. What book does Ponyboy read at home?
  6. What are the two main rules greasers follow?


  1. C. Ponyboy Curtis
  2. B. West Side
  3. False - Greasers generally prefer long hair, unconventional clothing, and often get into gang fights.
  4. A. Darry - Darry is the nickname of Ponyboy's older brother, Darrel.
  5. Great Expectations
  6. Always stick together and never get caught.


In addition to quizzes, class or small group discussions are also a great way to engage students and provide them with an opportunity to express opinions and exchange ideas. The sample discussion questions below cover chapters one and two. If you have a large class, divide students into smaller teams and assign each team a discussion question. After a few minutes, ask for one representative from each group to share the key points or ideas that were raised during the group discussion.

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