Before We Begin … by Jon Scieszka
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The author's introduction lets the reader know what to expect from this collection of short stories. The stories are obviously about sports, but more importantly, they are about relatable life experiences and lessons.
How I Won the World Series by Dan Gutman
What does the illustration tell the reader about "How I Won the World Series"?
"Bambino" is an Italian word for "baby," and refers to Babe's nickname. Babe Ruth's given name was George Herman Ruth Jr.
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Notice how the author builds suspense. He gives details about the events of the game but makes the reader wait to find out how he affects the World Series.
Why is it important that the narrator is the person who holds the grapefruit?
The author uses the simile "as if it were a precious gemstone" to show how important he believes the grapefruit to be. Watch this video to review simile and metaphor. (This annotation contains a video)
Which of the following quotes does not demonstrate how the
narrator feels about the events of the game?
"How I Won the World Series" is an example of an anecdote, a short story about a real incident that happened to a person.
Briefly describe the events of the story you just read in your own words.
Find Your Fire by Tim Green
An idiom is a phrase which means something other than what it literally states. The narrator uses the idiom "knock him into next year," to describe how hard Jake could hit Bobby.
Which of the following is not true about Bobby and Jake?
Certain themes are already appearing in the story. The subject of money seems to be important. Watch this video to review what a theme of a story is. (This annotation contains a video)
"Like a shaggy dog's" is an example of
As the story develops, the author's tone shifts from being optimistic and positive to being more solemn.
Why does Coach think Jake wants to play left tackle?
Notice how the narrator uses a lot of action words, such as "growled," "thrashed," and "wrenching," to make the scene of the tackle really intense.
How has Jake changed over the course of the story?
A motif is an idea or image that repeats throughout a story. The idea of Jake having a "fire" inside, urging him to play, is a recurring motif. Notice that it even appears in the title of the story.
Jake is a character that shows perseverance. Even though he is not given the scholarship, his passion does not burn out. As you keep reading, notice how Jake adjusts his goals since losing the scholarship.
Which of the following conflicts does not appear in the story?
Max Swings for the Fences by Anne Ursu
The Ebola virus is a deadly disease transferred between animals and humans. It appears mostly in Africa. The image shows what the virus looks like under a microscope. (This annotation contains an image)
What does the author mean when she says that Max's dread "kicked Max's seat the whole way to school"?
Watch this video about static and dynamic characters. Then, as you read the story, decide if Max is a dynamic character who changes after going to the new school, or if he remains the same. (This annotation contains a video)
What do the other characters think about the fact that Max plays tennis?
The author uses the metaphor of ice cubes against bare skin to describe the shock that Max feels when he realizes that Molly pitches.
How is Beau's attitude different on the second day of school than it was on the first day?
Molly was unable to keep Max's secret to herself and told Jenny. What do you predict will happen to Max's secret next?
Which of the following is a major theme in the story?
The narrator uses hyperbole, or exaggeration, here. Although Max may be upset, the reader knows that he wouldn't hide under his bed until college.
Which of the following quotations contains a simile?
"Inert" refers to something that is still and unchanging. Whatever Molly is thinking about in this important moment remains unknown because her face stays expressionless.
Which of the following descriptions best matches the tone of the scene in which Max and Beaux meet?
Against All Odds by Dustin Brown
Dustin Brown is the author of this story, which is a true story. (This annotation contains an image)
How does the author make friends as a kid?
The term "billet" originally referred to the family's home to which a soldier was assigned to stay. The term later came to apply to amateur sports.
Which of the following best describes the point of view of the story?
How do Dustin's early years, described at the beginning of the story, affect him later in life?
Dustin shows the qualities of a static character more so than the qualities of a dynamic character because he remains the same throughout the story. He is always a hard worker with goals in mind and a good attitude.
The Distance by Jacqueline Woodson
Which of the following is an example of a metaphor?
A theme of perseverance is developing. The main character is pushed by himself as well as his coach to perform despite pain.
What does the narrator mean when he says "any one of them could be two of me"?
The expression "born with a silver spoon in his mouth" means that a person is born wealthy. It refers literally to silver spoons, which indicated high social class at one point in history. (This annotation contains an image)
Summarize what happens during the relay in your own words.
The narrator decides to change the way he runs and become a more serious athlete. Consider who or what might be behind his motivation.
The Meat Grinder by Chris Crutcher
What does the term "finite" mean in this sentence?
Even when talking about somber subjects, such as being mistreated by his parents and not being a good athlete, the narrator uses a surprisingly positive tone. Watch this video to review tone and mood in a text. (This annotation contains a video)
The narrator's sarcastic tone implies that he believes what about bullying at Sherman High?
The narrator describes feeling powerless on the football field. The reader knows that he has the same feeling both at home and within the walls of Sherman High.
What is the narrator mean when he makes the joke that the guy at the tattoo parlor "said he'd throw the other arm in for free"?
The narrator doesn't rely on faith while experiencing life's difficulties, but he does seem to use his humor to keep himself going.
Compare the narrator to another underdog you have read about before. Do they respond to challenges the same way or differently?
What kind of figurative language does the author use when Rich describes how the narrator should tackle him?
The Choice by James Brown
The Catholic Youth Organization offers opportunities for both boys and girls to play a number of sports. (This annotation contains an image)
Using context clues, determine which of the following is the best definition of "axiom".
St. Bonaventure is a private Catholic university in New York state. (This annotation contains an image)
How does the narrator portray himself as a student?
Clyde Frazier, known for his flamboyant attire, was a New York Knicks player in the 1960s and 1970s. (This annotation contains an image)
Something that is "sardonic" is mocking or sarcastic. The narrator is wrestling with himself internally as he tries to calm down before the match.
Which of the following does not accurately describe the narrator?
Watch the video for some quick background information on the MMA style of fighting. (This annotation contains a video)
Which of the following is an example of a metaphor?
Notice how the diction changes when Jao speaks. It gives the reader a better feel for the scene and makes the character seem more realistic.
Give an example of how the narrator describes Tipper using negative language. How do the words chosen to describe Tipper show how the narrator feels about this character?
What does the narrator feel that he has won?
The Trophy by Gordon Korman
As you read this story, pay attention to how it is paced. (This annotation contains a video)
Which of the following best describes the pacing of the first scene, in which the players are on the court?
Watch this video to review the term foreshadowing. Then, as you read, decide whether the author leaves any clues which foreshadow what the solution to the trophy mystery will be. (This annotation contains a video)
Which of the following reasons most accurately explains why the main characters want to locate the Interboro Cup?
A "whopper" is a slang term which refers to an obvious lie.
In a different context, it can refer to something that is very large. For example, "That fish he caught was a real whopper!"
Compare the pacing of the scene on the basketball court at the beginning of the story with the pacing of the scene in which the rabbit is lost in the subway station. Does the pacing remain the same or change?
Could this be an example of foreshadowing?
How does the mood change when seven other boys appear "almost out of nowhere"?
There is some foreshadowing here. What do you think the Hammers are going to have to do to prove that they deserve the trophy?
How do the Hammers feel towards the Raiders by the end of the game?
I Will Destroy You, Derek Jeter by Chris Rylander
The narrator's first person point of view contains a lot of opinions and greatly affects how people and events are described.
What can you infer about the narrator's visit to the witch doctor?
If the witch doctor is using a fictional language during his "spell," does that make him seem more or less trustworthy to the audience?
Which of the following best describes how the first several paragraphs relate to this moment in the story?
Consider the video you watched about pacing earlier. Does the pacing of the story speed up or slow down while the narrator is at the ball game?
Which of the following most closely matches the narrator's tone when he describes his meeting with Derek Jeter?
Given the outcome of his attempt in the past, do you think that whatever plan the narrator is working on will be successful in getting revenge on Derek Jeter?
Briefly summarize why the narrator is out to get revenge on Derek Jeter.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is a group which campaigns for the rights of animals, including pets, wildlife, and livestock. (This annotation contains an image)
Watch this video about internal and external conflict. Then think about whether the primary conflict in this story is internal or external. (This annotation contains a video)
Is the narrator's conflict with Derek Jeter an internal conflict or an external conflict? How do you know?
Which of the following does Derek Jeter try to teach the narrator?