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Ch 1: Teaching Middle Grade Books

About This Chapter

This chapter is specifically constructed for teachers preparing to review middle grade books with their students. It contains resources for lesson planning as well as activities and study questions for a variety of middle grade books.

Teaching Middle Grade Books - Chapter Summary

This chapter is designed to arm you with numerous tools you can employ in your teaching of common middle grade books. The lessons cover several books, with suggestions for activities and questions to help students engage with them in the classroom. By the time you're done with the chapter, you'll have gone over:

  • An overview of Frindle and recommendations for related activities and questions
  • Questions for Walk Two Moons and Hoot
  • Comprehension questions on Diary of a Wimpy Kid
  • The plot and characters of Granny Torrelli Makes Soup
  • Potential activities and questions for Granny Torrelli Makes Soup

How It Helps

  • Covers several books: This chapter encompasses books common to middle grade classrooms so you can be prepared for any and all of them.
  • Fosters student engagement: This chapter includes a number of ideas to help students interact with the books and discuss key points from their content.
  • Creates framework This chapter can help you organize your lesson plan for teaching Frindle while supplementing your strategies for teaching other middle grade books.

Skills Covered

When you finish this chapter, you'll feel better prepared to:

  • Stimulate student thought and conversation on the books discussed
  • Go into the teaching of middle grade books with an organized lesson plan
  • Introduce the middle grade books included in the chapter from a knowledgeable standpoint

67 Lessons in Chapter 1: Teaching Middle Grade Books
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
The View from Saturday Lesson Plan

1. The View from Saturday Lesson Plan

Use this lesson plan to help students summarize and analyze 'The View from Saturday' by E. L. Konigsburg. With it, students will read a text lesson that helps them to outline key plot points, analyze characters, and discuss style before they apply their knowledge to a culminating activity.

The View from Saturday: Summary & Characters

2. The View from Saturday: Summary & Characters

In The View from Saturday by E. L. Konigsburg, a group of sixth-graders compete against smart, bigger, and nastier eight-graders in the competition of the year. In this lesson, you will get in-depth coverage on the plot and characters of this book.

Smile by Raina Telgemeier Discussion Questions

3. Smile by Raina Telgemeier Discussion Questions

'Smile' is an autobiographical graphic novel by Raina Telgemeier about the author's experiences as a middle school student. This resource provides student discussion questions about this novel.

The Best School Year Ever Lesson Plan

4. The Best School Year Ever Lesson Plan

Reading 'The Best School Year Ever' with your students? Use this lesson plan to increase understanding. Students will read a text lesson summarizing the story and characters, then discuss and analyze key components before applying learning to a culminating activity. Check comprehension with a quiz.

The Best School Year Ever: Summary & Characters

5. The Best School Year Ever: Summary & Characters

In this lesson, you 'l meet the six terrible Herdman children. Learn how Beth survives the Herdman family and completes the toughest school assignment ever as she learns to see the best in people - even the Herdman family.

The Best School Year Ever Activities

6. The Best School Year Ever Activities

~'The Best School Ever~' by Barbara Robinson is an exciting read for students. These activities prompt students to complete a comparison and character analyses while learning about the importance of fire safety.

The Westing Game Discussion Questions

7. The Westing Game Discussion Questions

'The Westing Game' is a Newbery Medal-winning murder mystery by Ellen Raskin ideal for upper-elementary and middle-school students. This lesson will guide classroom discussions about this novel.

Harriet the Spy Discussion Questions

8. Harriet the Spy Discussion Questions

'Harriet the Spy' is a children's book by Louise Fitzhugh about an 11-year-old girl who writes down all of her thoughts and observations. This asset provides discussion questions for elementary classrooms about this book.

Frindle Lesson Plan

9. Frindle Lesson Plan

Did your students grasp the main idea of 'Frindle.' A text lesson ensures comprehension and an activity reinforces key vocabulary words. Related lessons and additional activities are also included.

Frindle Comprehension Questions

10. Frindle Comprehension Questions

Increase your students' understanding of the Andrew Clements novel Frindle with these comprehension questions. Questions challenge students on different levels and cover literary elements such as characters, setting, and plot.

Frindle Discussion Questions

11. Frindle Discussion Questions

Teachers, this lesson about Frindle by Andrew Clements will activate your student's higher order thinking skills by prompting them to do more than just recall facts about the book. Students will participate in lively discussions with their classmates and learn to respect others' opinion.

Frindle Activities

12. Frindle Activities

Heighten and apply understanding of the novel 'Frindle' by having students participate in activities related to the story. Ideas can be used before, during or after reading using materials you have in your classroom.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Comprehension Questions

13. Diary of a Wimpy Kid Comprehension Questions

Teachers, utilize this lesson to confirm your students' comprehension. Assign What Do You Think About All of This questions to further enhance their analytical skills. This lesson may be used in a traditional classroom or online environment.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Project Ideas

14. Diary of a Wimpy Kid Project Ideas

'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' is a children's novel by Jeff Kinney about a boy who is struggling to find acceptance in middle school. This asset contains hands-on projects to evaluate learning at the end of a novel study about this book.

The Egypt Game Lesson Plan

15. The Egypt Game Lesson Plan

Are your students reading 'The Egypt Game' by Zilpha Keatley Snyder? Use this lesson plan to review the plot of the book and to help students analyze its characters, then have students apply concepts with a fun activity.

The Egypt Game: Summary & Characters

16. The Egypt Game: Summary & Characters

''The Egypt Game'' by Zilpha Keatley Snyder is about six kids who invent an elaborate on-going imaginative game based around their interest of ancient Egypt. In this lesson, we will look at the plot summary and the main characters of this award winning novel.

The Egypt Game Activities

17. The Egypt Game Activities

'The Egypt Game' is a chapter book by Zilpha Keatley Snyder about a group of neighborhood kids who create their own secret game. The activities in this asset will help bring meaning and draw interest to this story.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler Lesson Plan

18. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler Lesson Plan

Use this lesson plan after your students have finished reading 'From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler' by E.L. Konigsburg. Students will read a text lesson and work on summarizing skills, then apply concepts to an extension activity that showcases understanding.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler Summary

19. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler Summary

What would it be like to live in a museum and take baths in a fountain or sleep in an old-fashioned bed at night? For Claudia and Jamie, they get to experience museum life when they run away from home in 'From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler' by E.L. Konigsburg. Let's see how the story unfolds!

Granny Torrelli Makes Soup: Summary & Characters

20. Granny Torrelli Makes Soup: Summary & Characters

This lesson provides a summary of Granny Torrelli Makes Soup. Here we will learn about what happens in the story, who the main characters are, and what roles they play.

Granny Torrelli Makes Soup Activities

21. Granny Torrelli Makes Soup Activities

''Granny Torrelli Makes Soup'' tackles the challenges of the blind, while encouraging respect, imparting wisdom, while showing how food plays an integral role in some culture's interaction. These activities will allow us to explore those central themes.

Granny Torrelli Makes Soup Questions

22. Granny Torrelli Makes Soup Questions

Granny Torrelli Makes Soup is a fun read. In this lesson, students will be able to respond to specific events in the book, complete character analyses, probe content from a literary viewpoint, and formulate their own opinions.

The Boys Start the War Lesson Plan

23. The Boys Start the War Lesson Plan

Use this lesson plan to increase student understanding of the novel 'The Boys Start the War.' A text lesson helps students summarize and analyze characters before, during and after reading. Application activities, questions and a quiz allow students to show what they know.

The Boys Start the War: Summary & Characters

24. The Boys Start the War: Summary & Characters

In this lesson, we'll learn about Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's novel 'The Boys Start the War.' After a plot synopsis, we'll get to know the Hatford boys and the Malloy girls. Then, we'll explore their to the real-world Hatfields and McCoys.

The Hundred Penny Box Lesson Plan

25. The Hundred Penny Box Lesson Plan

If your students have just finished reading 'The Hundred Penny Box', you may be wondering how to reinforce the main ideas and story line. In this lesson, we will take an in-depth look at a lesson plan to help encourage students to recall the details of 'The Hundred Penny Box'.

The Hundred Penny Box: Summary & Characters

26. The Hundred Penny Box: Summary & Characters

In this lesson, we will explore the characters, themes, and story of Sharon Bell Mathis' picture book ''The Hundred Penny Box.'' We will learn about the significance of Aunt Dew's stories, the Jefferson family's situation, and the importance of cultural and ethnic heritage.

Bird by Angela Johnson Lesson Plan

27. Bird by Angela Johnson Lesson Plan

'Bird', by Angela Johnson provides insight on dealing with the loss of a parent through abandonment, the death of a family member, and the challenges of an organ transplant patient.

The Jumping Tree Lesson Plan

28. The Jumping Tree Lesson Plan

Work on context clues, and analysis of author's word choice on meaning with this lesson based on 'The Jumping Tree' by Rene Saldana Jr. Students will work in cooperative groups to determine the meanings of Spanish words and phrases.

Radio Fifth Grade by Gordon Korman Lesson Plan

29. Radio Fifth Grade by Gordon Korman Lesson Plan

This lesson plan is a tool for helping students learn about the book 'Radio Fifth Grade' by Gordon Korman. Students will explore the elements of the story and analyze a character.

Radio Fifth Grade: Summary & Characters

30. Radio Fifth Grade: Summary & Characters

This lesson provides a summary of Gordon Korman's novel ''Radio Fifth Grade.'' We learn about the story, characters, conflicts, jokes, and hijinks that make this novel a fun ride.

Crossing the Wire Lesson Plan

31. Crossing the Wire Lesson Plan

'Crossing the Wire' by Will Hobbs explores the plight of immigrants. After students have read the book, assign this lesson. They will read a summary, complete an activity and take a quiz.

Crossing the Wire: Book Summary & Characters

32. Crossing the Wire: Book Summary & Characters

This lesson explore the story and characters in Will Hobbs' 2006 novel 'Crossing the Wire.' We will learn about the conflicts, struggles, and outcomes of our two main characters, Victor and Rico, as they attempt to cross the border from Mexico into the U.S.

The Revealers Novel Lesson Plan

33. The Revealers Novel Lesson Plan

Use this lesson plan when reading 'The Revealers' by Doug Wilhelm. Students will use our text lesson to aide in making predictions, analyzing characters and summarizing the novel, then wrap things up with a culminating activity and quiz.

The Revealers: Book Summary, Characters & Quotes

34. The Revealers: Book Summary, Characters & Quotes

This lesson introduces 'The Revealers,' Doug Wilhelm's novel about middle school bullying. We will get to know the bullies who torture the students at Parkland Middle School and the efforts of those who fight back. We'll meet the characters and explore important quotes from the novel.

Sing Down the Moon Activities

35. Sing Down the Moon Activities

'Sing Down the Moon' is a novel by Scott O'Dell about two young Navajo girls who are kidnapped by Spaniards. Use the activities in this asset to help young readers make connections and draw conclusions about this story.

Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate Discussion Questions

36. Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate Discussion Questions

'Home of the Brave' is a novel by Katherine Applegate about a young Sudanese boy who emigrates to the United States. These questions can help your students work through their thoughts and feelings about this book.

Freaky Friday Book Discussion Questions

37. Freaky Friday Book Discussion Questions

These discussion questions are about the 1972 book ''Freaky Friday'', not the film or stage adaptations. These questions can help your students work through their thoughts about this novel, its characters, and its themes.

Schooled by Gordon Korman Activities

38. Schooled by Gordon Korman Activities

After reading 'Schooled,' students will enjoy the following activities as they recall specific scenes, themes and learn more about Tai Chi in an engaging activity. These activities are for intermediate grades and up.

Schooled by Gordan Korman Discussion Questions

39. Schooled by Gordan Korman Discussion Questions

''Schooled'' is a children's novel about a boy from a commune who goes to a regular middle school. It's an outsider's perspective on real middle school experiences, which can help your students talk about what these experiences mean to them.

Ungifted by Gordon Korman Discussion Questions

40. Ungifted by Gordon Korman Discussion Questions

''Ungifted'' is a popular and relatively straightforward read for middle-school students, and it's a great book to get students engaged in discussions. These questions can help guide that discussion.

Best Christmas Pageant Ever Discussion Questions

41. Best Christmas Pageant Ever Discussion Questions

Teachers can use these discussion questions from the 'Best Christmas Pageant Ever' by Barbara Robinson after students have read the book. The questions are written at various levels of Bloom's Taxonomy to promote higher order thinking.

Chasing Vermeer Discussion Questions

42. Chasing Vermeer Discussion Questions

'Chasing Vermeer' by Blue Balliett takes readers on a mystery solving journey to retrieve a valuable piece of stolen artwork. Use these discussion questions with your middle school students to explore the characters, plot, and themes of the novel.

The Rock and the River Discussion Questions

43. The Rock and the River Discussion Questions

These discussion questions will help you guide middle school students through the characters, plot, and themes of 'The Rock and the River,' author Kekla Magoon's debut novel. This book is centered around the Civil Rights Movement.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Discussion Questions

44. Diary of a Wimpy Kid Discussion Questions

Students will engage in thought-provoking discussion based on Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid. These discussion questions are designed for middle school students and cover general reflection, quotes, and character analysis.

Slacker by Gordon Korman Discussion Questions

45. Slacker by Gordon Korman Discussion Questions

'Slacker' is an excellent novel for a middle school audience with its realistic characters and thought-provoking message. Use these discussion questions to help your students look more closely at 'Slacker' and its implications.

Scat Discussion Questions

46. Scat Discussion Questions

Engaging your upper elementary or middle school students in a discussion about Hiaasen's environmental thriller 'Scat' can be a fascinating endeavor. Use these questions to guide your students through the character, plot, and theme of the book.

The Scorch Trials Discussion Questions

47. The Scorch Trials Discussion Questions

Reading 'The Scorch Trials' with your middle or high school students can be a thrilling adventure. Use these discussion questions to help students analyze the characters, plot, and themes of this novel.

The Adoration of Jenna Fox Discussion Questions

48. The Adoration of Jenna Fox Discussion Questions

'The Adoration of Jenna Fox' offers plentiful food for thought in the form of a first-person story of self-discovery. Guide your students through this novel using these questions covering pre-reading, story, literary elements and personal responses.

Bend It Like Beckham Discussion Questions

49. Bend It Like Beckham Discussion Questions

These questions can be used with either the film or novel 'Bend It Like Beckham', and will help your students to engage more deeply with the characters, plot, and themes.

The Revealers Discussion Questions

50. The Revealers Discussion Questions

Reading 'The Revealers' with your middle school students can be an interesting adventure. An expose on bullying with a technology twist, this book is sure to inspire meaningful discussion. Use these discussion questions to guide the conversation.

The Tiger Rising Discussion Questions

51. The Tiger Rising Discussion Questions

'The Tiger Rising' by Kate DiCamillo is a fiction novel about an adolescent boy who finds a tiger in a cage in the woods near his home. This resource provides discussion questions for middle school classrooms about this novel.

The First Rule of Punk Discussion Questions

52. The First Rule of Punk Discussion Questions

'The First Rule of Punk' is a children's novel by Celia C. Perez about a 12-year-old Hispanic girl who survives a move to a new school. The questions in this resource may be used for classroom discussions about this novel.

The Running Dream Discussion Questions

53. The Running Dream Discussion Questions

These questions can help you guide your students through a class discussion about the characters, plot, and themes of ''The Running Dream'', a novel about personal trauma and recovery.

Soar by Joan Bauer Discussion Questions

54. Soar by Joan Bauer Discussion Questions

''Soar'' is a novel for your sports lovers, with added elements of robots, medicine and friendship to appeal to your whole class. After your students read ''Soar'', discuss the story, literary elements and personal responses using these questions to get you started.

All Rise For The Honorable Perry T. Cook Discussion Questions

55. All Rise For The Honorable Perry T. Cook Discussion Questions

The novel 'All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook' is the story of a young boy's unconventional upbringing. Use these discussion questions to help your upper elementary or middle school aged students understand setting, characters, and theme.

The Poet's Dog Discussion Questions

56. The Poet's Dog Discussion Questions

'The Poet's Dog,' is narrated by a dog named Teddy. Poets and children can understand when Teddy speaks. After your students read what Teddy has written in this novel, use these questions to discuss it further.

Bless Me, Ultima Activities

57. Bless Me, Ultima Activities

''Bless Me, Ultima'' is an essential standard of Chicano literature. These activities can help students explore the plot, themes, and characters of this novel in unique and creative ways.

Roll Of Thunder, Hear My Cry Unit Plan

58. Roll Of Thunder, Hear My Cry Unit Plan

'Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry' is a Newbery Medal-winning historical fiction novel by Mildred D. Taylor about racism in the southern part of the United States in the early 1900s. This asset may be used as a framework for creating lesson plans about this novel.

Stargirl Unit Plan

59. Stargirl Unit Plan

'Stargirl' is a young adult novel by Jerry Spinelli about a new girl who gains popularity through her unique behavior, but loses it just as quickly. This unit plan supports teachers as they plan a novel study about this book.

Watsons Go To Birmingham Unit Plan

60. Watsons Go To Birmingham Unit Plan

Engage your upper elementary or middle school students in a novel study of 'The Watsons Go To Birmingham - 1963' by using this unit plan to guide your instruction. The plan includes resources for lessons, discussion, review, projects, and extensions.

Island Of The Blue Dolphins Unit Plan

61. Island Of The Blue Dolphins Unit Plan

'Island of the Blue Dolphins' is a young adult novel by Scott O'Dell that is loosely based on a true story about a girl who lives alone on a Pacific island after hunters destroy her community. This unit plan supplies a framework for instruction about this novel.

Sadako and The Thousand Paper Cranes Unit Plan

62. Sadako and The Thousand Paper Cranes Unit Plan

'Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes' is a children's novel by Eleanor Coerr about a girl who contracts leukemia due to radiation poisoning in Hiroshima. This resource provides teachers a framework for creating lesson plans about this novel.

The Egypt Game Unit Plan

63. The Egypt Game Unit Plan

'The Egypt Game' is a children's novel by Zilpha Keatley Snyder about neighborhood friends who find adventure while creating a pretending game about ancient Egypt. This unit plan provides a framework for lesson planning about this book.

The Lightning Thief Unit Plan

64. The Lightning Thief Unit Plan

'The Lightning Thief' is a young adult fantasy novel by Rick Riordan about Percy Jackson, a teenaged descendant of a Greek god. This asset supports instructional plans for this novel.

Hello, Universe Discussion Questions

65. Hello, Universe Discussion Questions

Would you like to teach your 4th through 8th grade students about 'Hello, Universe' by Erin Entrada Kelly? They will work as individuals to evaluate the deeper meanings that are interwoven through a story of determination.

Walk Two Moons Unit Plan

66. Walk Two Moons Unit Plan

Guide your middle school students through Sal's emotional journey in 'Walk Two Moons' using this unit plan. Resources are provided to help you engage students in analyzing literary elements, reviewing the novel, and creating projects.

First Light by Rebecca Stead Discussion Questions

67. First Light by Rebecca Stead Discussion Questions

'First Light' is a novel that will appeal to a wide variety of middle school readers. These discussion questions on story, literary elements, and personal responses will help you and your students make the most of reading this book.

Chapter Practice Exam
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Other Chapters

Other chapters within the Teaching Resources for Middle Grade & Young Adult Books course

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