How to Teach Wonder by R.J. Palacio using Hands-On, Interactive Activities


Novel Studies that Promote Higher-Order Thinking

We all know how important novels are when helping students develop authentic literacy skills. However…we also know that traditional novel studies don’t allow students to implement all of the literacy skills necessary to become a well-rounded reader.

Traditional novel studies usually include a set of comprehension or discussion questions that correlate with each chapter. There also may be a vocabulary element included. These are important components of a novel study, but aren’t a holistic approach to reading.

Today, I am going to talk about a more hands-on approach to studying novels! Read on to find out how to use an interactive workbook to teach the novel, Wonder!

Teaching Wonder

If you have read the novel, Wonder, by RJ Palacio…

Then, I can only assume that you fell in love with it like I did.

Wonder is the perfect novel to study in your intermediate classroom! This book covers themes of kindness, courage, family, identity and so much more. These thought-provoking ideas are present throughout this entire novel study.

As you read the novel, students will meet a young boy name August (Auggie) Pullman. Auggie just wants to be “normal,” but Auggie isn’t normal. He is extraordinary. Although, not everyone sees it this way.

From the very first page of Wonder, you and your students will be facing topics that are incredibly important to discuss. The Wonder Workbook is the perfect match for this.

A simple way to incorporate these topics is with a daily bell ringer. Each daily prompt has students think and respond about ideals that are woven through the text. This section of the workbook is one of my favorites to use as a class discussion guide, as it will encourage students to look at their stance or position on certain topics.


Digging Deep with the Wonder Workbook

As I previously mentioned, this workbook includes SO MUCH MORE than comprehension questions and vocabulary. But, it does include that, too! The workbook has been designed to meet each level of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Students will be able to really dig deep into understanding the novel with activities under each of the following sections: Remember, Understand, Apply, Analyze, Evaluate and Create. Below are *some* of the ideas to incorporate from each section of the Wonder Workbook!

Remember: This is where you will find comprehension questions for each chapter! Students can work through these independently, as partners or groups, or they can be used as a guide for discussion.

Understand: Have students dive into the plot! Use the Extended Plot Structure activity to activate students’ literacy skills!

Apply: Study the characters’ physical, mental and emotional characteristics. Break down Auggie, Via, Jack Will, Summer, Miranda and Julian with the Characterization Flipbook!

Analyze: Use the complexity wheel to drive discussion of the novel. Or have students use their own creativity to complete task cards tied to the story! They could create illustrations, music, comics, poetry, tweets, etc!

Evaluate: Think like a novelist! Pull back the layers of the story with the literary elements focus lesson or the identifying themes activity.

Create: Start a Kindness Campaign with the extension activity! Or one of my personal favorites: have students create their own Wonder Self-Portraits so that they can practice self-love and reflection!

The activities and lessons that come with this novel study will provide students with an interactive, hands-on approach to reading. They will be reading, writing, illustrating, creating, speaking, researching, discussing and so, so much more!

If you think your students are ready to really study a novel, give Wonder a try! If you’d like to see more from my Wonder Workbook, click here!


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Welcome! My name is Brittany Jeltema, also known as The SuperHERO Teacher, and I am a curriculum designer and classroom flipper. I have a strong passion for helping teachers reach as many students as possible through creativity, engagement, and empowerment!

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