GHETTO COWBOY by G. Neri, a deliquent faces expulsion unless he accepts help

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Kids Wings
Grade Levels
5th - 8th, Homeschool
Resource Type
Formats Included
  • Zip
95 pages
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Kids Wings


Growing up in Detroit has not been easy for 12-year-old Cole. With Mama working two jobs, Cole is often home alone with nothing to do, so he is draw into street gangs. He has been skipping school for weeks now. Recently, the truant officer caught him tagging the back of the cafeteria during school.

In a conference with the principal, Mama is informed that Cole has been expelled for the rest of the school year. Desperate for some help, Mama makes the most difficult decision of her life. In spite of his protests, she will take her rebellious son to his father whom he has never met, in Philadelphia.

To Cole's surprise, his father, Harper, is a black cowboy struggling to meet ends as he runs a ramshackle stable and uses horses to pull street kids awary from the danger of gangbangers. He speaks Cole's language, the language of urban slang and introduces him to a new language ... the language of the first cowboys. Will adding Cole to Harper's problems be the last straw? Is there any way to reshape Cole's defiant attitude? Is it possible that the Cowboy Code may hold the power to break this hard-headed colt? Will the stables survive the City's attempt to bulldoze them and replace them with a mall?

The story is told in authentic urban slang, but cursing is limited to a few inclusions of d--- and h---. The problems of poverty and disdain for modern laws come through plainly and dictate that readers' discussion be part of the mix. The Kids' Wings literature guide invites group discussion, weighing options, creating a chart of foundational values, problem solving, research, writing, skill building, and authentic writing prompts and a culminating interactive Jeopardy-type game. Teachers who want students to understand that education and character create viable choices for young street kids through a compelling story will make this book part of their classroom libraries. The 42-page Kids Wings literature guide and Jeopardy-like interactive game for Ghetto Cowboy provides multiple layers of cross-curriculum activities, group projects, skill building, and problem solving.

The Kids Wings literature guide was created by master teacher Suzy Red and comes to you in both PowerPoint and PDF format. The Activities include:

Pre-reading Discussion Cards

Anticipation Guide;

Vocabulary by Chapters;

2-page Readers’ Theater Introduction;

Where in the USA Are Detroit and Philadelphia?

Dialectical Journal

Researching Black Urban Cowboys

Developing Background Through Research: The Chisholm Trail

Making Connections: Chapter Questions, Prereading Predictions and Confirmation

Character Traits

Coltrane's Report Card

Dialect (Urban Slang) to Standard English

Getting Started Crossword Puzzle

Chapters 4-7, Multiple Choice Comprehension

Chapters 8-9: Visualizing the Text

Chapters 10-15, Struggling to Fit In, Multiple Choice

From Another Point of View

Chapters 16-17: Comic Book Summary

Chapters 18-21: Multiple Choice Comprehension

Rules by Which Cowboys Live, Fallen Letter Puzzle

The Law and the Cowboys

Today's American Values

Chapter 23: Visualizing the Text

Putting the Cowboy Way to the Text: Multiple Choice and Short Answer Comprehension

Chapters 27-30: Can We Save the Horses, Visualizing the Text

Chapters 31-32: Here Comes the Cavalry, Cloze Activity

Chapters 33-35: City vs. Cowboys Discussion

Chapters 36-Epilogue: Second Chances, Multiple Choice Comprehension

A Tense Situation

What Did They Value? What Is It Worth to Them?

Writing Prompts

Answer Pages

Plus, a BONUS Interactive Jeopardy-type Game in PowerPoint Format

Check out the Kids Wings Internet Extensions at


PLEASE NOTE: Kids Wings materials are written by highly experienced master teachers. We hire professional proof readers who are also master educators. We do our best to be sure each of our literature guides is top quality and error free, and classroom tested, but if you think we can do better, we welcome your input. If you find an error in our materials, please email us at so we can make corrections. After it is revised, we will invite you to download a newly polished copy and will probably attach a surprise to our reply as a thank-you!

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Total Pages
95 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
2 months
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