In “The Silver Balloon,” Gregory, a shy fourth grader who lives in the city, initiates a pen-pal friendship when he sends off a message attached to a balloon. Mr. Mayfield, a farmer, finds the balloon and responds with a letter and an unidentified gift. Gregory figures out what it is and writes a letter back, including a gift of his own - a bus token. As the correspondence continues, Gregory learns to overcome his fears and frustrations about communicating. He discovers that he has the ability to write, to talk on the phone, and even to take a trip across the city to ask a university professor about the final gift he receives, a canine from a saber-toothed cat. Readers are drawn into the story as they wonder about each mysterious item.
The book is written at a 4.2 grade level, and is a good read for reluctant readers.
This novel study includes chapter-by chapter comprehension and inference questions, as well as opportunities for students to create their own higher level questions to bring to book group discussions. A scoring rubric is included to help students reflect on their responses.
At the end of the comprehension questions, over 50 related activities are included. They can be used with your whole class, small groups, and individual students. They are especially helpful in differentiating for diverse learners.
Related Common Core Standards for reading (literature) and writing are listed.