This Novel Study Guide was created to promote critical thinking skills with emphasis on learning academic vocabulary. Although originally the guide was designed with the intention to be used by the student independently, it can also be used as part of small group work or book club/group discussion.
The Novel Study Guide is divided according to chapters. Although the reading component of completing the guide is not long, as chapters typically are 20-30 pages, the writing component contains the bulk of the work. Again, it is intended to promote thinking and writing skills, rather than reading comprehension. The questions contained in this guide are the kind of questions that will lead the reader to infer information, as well as make the necessary connections with the details presented in previous chapters. This will promote making connections and deeper critical thinking.
For some questions, where no sample response is provided, I provide a page number where the necessary information may be found, which would help the student independently answer the question, rather than rely on the provided sample. I firmly believe in giving students guidance to perform the task with greater independence rather than the answer! The answer key contains responses that the student should receive after completing their portion. It provides sample responses that would provide a model of expected work quality and help establish high expectations.
The vocabulary learning component consists of three sections. This guide uses www.vocabulary.com, which contains vocabulary lists for each chapter with all the definitions provided for the student. This is intended to make learning more interactive and less tedious. The vocabulary is also used in context by having students create a sentence with the word, as well as completing a crossword puzzle with the pertinent vocabulary. This is intended to increase the number of times that the student is exposed to the vocabulary. As per research, we need to interact with the word over 21 times for it to become part of our lexicon.
This guide is intended to provide structure for the student as they read the novel. However, not all questions must be answered. If your child is beginning to develop these skills, set a goal for a number of questions per chapter that are expected to be answered. Start at the student’s current level, establish a goal together, and shoot for gradual improvement over the course of the guide. Learning is a process and it should be an enjoyable one!
Katya Snitkovskaia, M.S. Special Education, M.S. Speech Language Pathology