I read this book years ago with my class. We did it again as an end of year novel study. Once again, it did not disappoint. This is a fantastic story. Brian Selznick seems to have a keen interest in theatre. Both this book and The Invention of Hugo Cabret involve cinema. Apparently his third book, The Marvels, does as well.
Reading it with my class this year was a really great experience. I got 9 copies of the book from the public library (thank you Calgary Public Library!) and we shared. I was so impressed with all the details we got this time around thanks to very observant students. Brian Selznick says that everything in his pictures is purposeful. I believe it!
Traditionally, when we do novel studies, it is paired with a workbook full of all sorts of comprehension questions, crossword puzzles, games and activities. I really simplified for this novel, and instead of a big booklet like that I usually use, we had a page where we wrote down cool vocabulary, some pages where we wrote summaries for each part of the book (it is divided into three parts) and then a page with finger spelling. At first, we'd stop when we came across cool words and write them down, but there was a lot of moaning and groaning. Eventually, I decided that isn't what real readers do. Instead, I gave them some sticky notes and had them put a sticky when they came across a word they thought was cool or didn't understand. The next day we'd start off our reading time by writing down 4 or 5 of these cool words and their definitions. Usually, we could get the meaning from the context. I encouraged kids, when they're reading other books, to use stickies to mark spots they want to remember to tell someone about or write about or have questions about.
- Pair this book with Matchbox Diary and make our own boxes of wonder
- Make a diorama about something we have been studying (pair with life cycle unit?)