The summer of 2014, I read Wonder by R.J. Palacio and fell in love. I immediately knew I wanted this to be my first read aloud of the year. Not only are the messages and themes in this book fabulous for children today, but the book literally allows you to teach all the Common Core Literature Standards with this book! Seriously….Read on to find out how.
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Inferences can be made throughout this book. This is a great book for really digging in deep to a character’s feelings, thoughts, and motivations.
This book is full of themes. The best part about this book, in my opinion, is that the life lessons truly resonate with the students. They don’t have to think about the future or situations not typical to their lives. They are able to connect with the themes in this book, which makes it that much more
powerful. Here are some example themes:
- Believe in yourself.
- You are stronger than you think.
- Family is important.
- Don’t judge a book by its cover.
- How does Via’s reaction to people looking at August differ from August’s reaction?
- Compare and contrast Julian’s family with August’s family.
- Compare and contrast Jack Will and August’s friendship before and after Halloween.
One of the unique things about this book is the song lyrics, quotes, and poems that come before a character point of view change. This allows the reader to compare how the overall book is written (prose) versus some of the other excerpts included. Also, Via performs in a play in one of the major scenes of this book. This can seamlessly allow you to transition to the differences between prose and drama.
The graphic on the cover of the book can invite a lively discussion to practice this standard. The students could also be invited to redesign a cover graphic and explain how their graphic matches and adds to the meaning of the text. There are also graphics on the page introducing a character point of view change. August’s graphic changes from section to section. The students could analyze these graphics and their changes.
Another thing I love about this book is that there is a “sequel” short story titled “Julian’s Chapter.” Julian is the resident “bad guy” and his point of view is never pursued in Wonder. However this short story provides valuable insight into his motivations, thoughts, and feelings. With similar themes and topics, this works perfectly for a lesson comparing and contrasting two books in the same genre.
Written a level U, this is a good example of a 5th grade beginning of the year complex text.
Have I convinced you to read the book yet? 😀 Click below to check it out!
What are your go to books for teaching literature standards? Let me know in the comments!
Want more recommended read alouds for 4th and 5th grade? Click on the links below to check out my other read aloud posts.