A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning | Novel Study, 5th-8th Grades

Rated 4.88 out of 5, based on 196 reviews
196 Ratings
Amy Mezni - Teaching Ideas 4u
Grade Levels
5th - 8th, Homeschool
Formats Included
  • PDF
88 pages
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Amy Mezni - Teaching Ideas 4u


The perfect novel study for the book “A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket”! Great for use in a literature circle or novel study group. Activities contain higher level thinking reading comprehension, vocabulary and extension activities. Complete answer key is included and can be printed for students with IEPs. 

About The Book

The Bad Beginning is an excellent book that can be used to hook students on reading. This is book one in a series of stories about the Baudelaire orphans who have the worst possible luck. Their parents perish in a fire, and they are sent to live with evil Count Olaf. Olaf claims to be a distant relative, but he is really after the Baudelaire fortune. Although they are treated cruelly by Count Olaf, the orphans cannot get anyone to help them. By using their unique talents, the children outwit Count Olaf in the end.

The writing style used in A Series of Unfortunate Events is very engaging, and both engaged and reluctant readers enjoy these stories. The books introduce many vocabulary words, but the author explains the words throughout the story.

Teachers Love It!

  • I used this resource for book clubs in my room. I thought that the activities were very engaging and really made the students think about what they were reading. Great resource!” – Meghan J. 
  • Great resource! Very nice breakdown by chapter. We used this to complete a lapbook type project on the novel. Was no prep for me and fun for my student.” – Heidi S. 

Using the Novel Study

When creating these guides, the activities are written so that they could be used as individual activities or as a packet that could be given to an independent reading group. The activities are a mix of close reading questions and engaging writing activities, such as a poster and a room prediction. Vocabulary is emphasized heavily.

This guide is broken down into chapters plus after the book activities. One chapter is covered in one day, although the classroom teacher could provide more than one class period for the activities to be completed.

If using this book as an independent work packet, copy the activities for each student and place the copies in a binder. During class, students can take the binder and easily see what they need to complete as a checklist is provided for each day. Students could be required to turn in certain activities, or the teacher could grade the activities in the binder.

If using this as a whole class activity, the teacher should simply select which activities to use and copy the desired pages.

Try Chapter 1 For Free!

Try these activities for FREE by downloading chapter one here.


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Total Pages
88 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
1 month
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes.
By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poetry, at the high end of the grades 4–5 text complexity band independently and proficiently.


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