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AUGIE BORETSKI KNOWS how to get by. If you're a scrawny loser in the destitute city of Camden, New Jersey, you keep your head down, avoid the drug dealers and thugs, and try your best to be invisible. Augie used to be good at that, but suddenly his life is changing. . . . First, Augie accidentally steals a strange book of fairy tales. Then his mom makes him join the Big Brothers programandthe chorus. And two bullies try to beat him up every day because of it. Just when it seems like things can't get any worse, an ice storm wrecks Augie's school. The city plans to close the school, abandoning one more building to the drug addicts. But Augie has a plan. For the first time in his life, Augie Boretski is not going down without a fight. From the Hardcover edition.
Curriculet Details
58 Questions
57 Annotations
3 Quizzes

In this curriculet geared toward middle school students, annotations include links to descriptions of topics such as gangs in urban settings and bullying issues in schools. This curriculet also includes explanations of how authors structure stories, point of view in fiction, the use of multiple meaning words, and how to identify theme in a story. Interactive videos support engagement and cover subjects such as social work, the rough streets of Camden, and the youth organization Big Brothers, Big Sisters. The Common Core aligned questions and answers address text structure, figurative language, and characterization. Our free online unit will increase student engagement with rich media annotations while supporting reading comprehension with questions and quizzes that are imbedded directly into the book.

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Crossing the River

Authors often use the beginning of a story to introduce the characters and setting. This is called the exposition. As you read the first few pages, notice the setting and which characters are introduced. 
What have you learned about the setting of the story so far? 

Donkey Gold

The story in this chapter is an excerpt from the book Augie is reading in the bookstore. It is not a part of the main narrative.  
Considering the context, the word "dismissed" most likely means 


Did you know that you can look up any word in the book or in the questions and answer choices? Just click (or press on mobile devices) the word you want to define and hold until the blue text selector pops up. When you release, a define option will appear. Use this feature to look up the word "jolting." 
Why does Augie decide to keep the book even though he didn't pay for it? 

Donkey Skin

This book has a unique text structure. Watch this video to learn about organizing a text then respond to the following question. (This annotation contains a video)
How does the author structure the chapters in this text? 

Walter Jones

Augie's Mom is referring to Big Brothers Big Sisters which is a mentoring program for kids who are at risk of doing drugs or dropping out of school. Watch this promo video to learn more about the organization. 
Augie's reaction to Mom's suggestion about The Big Brother program shows that he is 
A social worker is a professional who works to help children and families solve complex social problems in order to improve society. Social workers often work in schools or for programs like Big Brothers, Big Sisters. (This annotation contains an image)


What does the action in the highlighted text reveal about Sergio and Fox Tooth? 
Based on the descriptions in this paragraph about Sergio and Fox Tooth, how is Augie feeling? 
Use the define feature to learn what "ambush" means. 

The Ring

Good readers notice the point of view from which a story is told. Watch this video about point of view then respond to the following question. (This annotation contains a video)
Consider what the narrator knows about the events and the characters. Which point of view is this story being told from? 


The author uses figurative language to show character feelings and to paint an image in your head. Watch this video about multiple meaning words.  (This annotation contains a video)
In this context, "lead weight" most likely means 
The fact that Mom makes Augie return the book to the bookstore shows that she is a good mother because she wants to teach her son the importance of responsibility and the difference between right and wrong. 
Why did the woman at the bookstore want Augie to finish the book? 

A Visit to the Park

What does Mom make Augie do in preparation for Walter's visit? 
By describing his environment, Augie is telling the reader that he lives in a crime-ridden neighborhood. 
Walter decides to take Augie out on a rowboat so that they can get to know each other. This is a good way to build relationships with people. (This annotation contains an image)
What does this sentence reveal about Augie and Mom's financial situation? 

"Rich Boy"

Simile and metaphor are both examples of figurative language. This sentence is a simile, and it reveals something new about Dwaine's feelings and actions. Watch this video then figure out what this simile means. (This annotation contains a video)
Which line from the text shows that Augie is being bullied by Dwaine, Sergio and Fox Tooth? 
Why did the author decide to title this chapter "Rich Boy?" 
Being bullied in school can be very damaging to a child. It happens in schools across the country every day. Watch this short film about bullying, and think about how it is similar to Augie's experience. (This annotation contains a video)

From Bad to Worse

Consider the point of view from which the story is being told. How has the structure changed? 
The word "pecked" is mostly used to describe a bird that strikes or bites something with its beak. In this context, the word "pecked" means kissed. As you read, notice other words in the text that have multiple meanings.  
What do these actions reveal about Walter? 

To the Rescue

Based on this title, what do you predict this chapter will be about? 
Mrs. Lorentushki is a character that appears in numerous chapters. In 2-3 sentences, describe how you visualize her. Use details from the text to imagine her looks, actions and personality. 

To Build a Wooden Box

Based on the title of this chapter, what do you think this chapter will be about? Read to find out if your prediction is correct.  
Quiz 1 

Stomachaches and Other Truths

Since a recliner is an upholstered chair, what does the phrase "large frame" mean? 
Why do you think Augie didn't want Walter to "feel comfortable with his mom?" What is he afraid of? 
What new fact do we learn about Walter? 


An audition is a demonstration of a performer's skill in singing, dancing, acting or other performance art categories. Watch this video of a young boy's audition to see the process Augie is about to experience. (This annotation contains a video)
Augie seems very irritable. In 2-3 sentences, explain why he is letting go of his friendship with Walter. Use evidence from the text to support your response. 
Augie is growing and changing as the story progresses. Watch this video about characterization and think about the ways Augie has transformed or stayed the same.  (This annotation contains a video)
What device does the author use in these paragraphs to show what Augie is thinking? 


What does this interaction with Mr. Franklin reveal about Augie? 
This line reveals that a theme is beginning to emerge in the story. Augie is beginning to learn some valuable life lessons. Watch this video to learn about how themes develop in a text. (This annotation contains a video)

At Louisa's

Which line from the text reveals that Augie is skeptical? 
Use the define feature to learn what "savored" means. 
Based on Augie's reaction to his mother, what is happening in their relationship? 
The characters in Augie's book are starting to come alive. Is this really happening, or is he imagining it? 

When Fairies Fall in Love

Quiz 2 

The Junior Chorus

The author is introducing another staff member at the school. A custodian is part of the janitorial staff, and his or her job is to clean up the school.  (This annotation contains an image)
Why is this part in the chorus a good experience for Augie? 


The author most likely chose to include a description of Ms. Cofrancesco's clothing to 
These are the long strings Augie is referring to. (This annotation contains an image)
Considering the context, the phrase "dribs and drabs" most likely means 
Which character is being discussed in this paragraph? 

Trapped Inside

How do you think Augie feels about Walter at this point in the story? 
Augie seems to open and read his book whenever he is feeling 

Louisette de Bourgaille

Study this image then respond to the following question. (This annotation contains an image)
How is the previous image a representation of the fairytale Augie is reading in this novel? Use evidence from the text to support your response. 


In 2-3 sentences, explain why Mr. Franklin and the kids have to discontinue their music practice at school? 
Every story has a conflict because problems allow the reader to understand new things about the characters and themes. Watch this video to learn about conflict in literature. (This annotation contains a video)

Louisa's Box

Philadelphia is a large city which is located directly across the Delaware River from Camden, New Jersey where Augie is from. (This annotation contains an image)
What does this action reveal about the children and Mr. Franklin? 
This thought shows that Louisa cares for Augie and wants the best of him. You can learn a lot about characters based on how they think about and respond to other characters. 
What does the phrase "bone-chilling" reveal about the setting? 


Good readers ask themselves questions as they read. This chapter title might make you ask, "Who is Jesse?" 
What do these lines reveal about Walter? 
Many dog owners take their dogs jogging. In fact, exercise is very healthy for dogs.  (This annotation contains an image)
What does this descriptive language reveal about the setting? 

The Square

"Phrasing" in music refers to the moments that the singer or musician decides to take pauses in between words or notes.  
What does Augie fear he will be a "target" of? 
Augie is describing the environment he lives in and how dangerous it can be. How do you think it effects him? (This annotation contains an image)
Which central idea is developing as a result of Augie's performance in the choir? 

The Horse Farm

Walter's Mom lives on a horse farm which is a completely different setting from the streets of Camden. Watch this video to get a feel for what it is like to be on a horse farm. This video will also help you understand what goes on there. (This annotation contains a video)
Considering the context of the sentence and the setting, what does the term "riding" mean? 
This situation and conversation between Augie and Walter indicates that 
Augie is demonstrating his curiosity for this new setting. He is not used to the woods and wants to explore.  
Are things starting to go south again between Walter and Augie? 
Why does Walter cradle the cup? 

Marie-Louise de Bourgaille Nordritch

How has the structure changed in the larger narrative? 
An armoire is a piece of furniture that is meant for a bedroom and often holds clothing. (This annotation contains an image)
By referring to the Union Army, we can tell that this story takes place during the Civil War. The Union Army consisted of the Northern soldiers who fought against the South in favor or preserving the union. (This annotation contains an image)
Why did Marie-Louise begin to cry? 

School's Closed

Why is Mom boiling a pot of water? 
"Clanging pipes" indicate that the heat is back on. Do you have pipes in your house that make noise when the heat goes on? Put yourself in Augie's shoes, and imagine how he feels when he hears this noise.  
Why is this chapter titled "School's Closed?" 
What does this action reveal about Augie? 
The fact that Augie is beginning to think about his future and adulthood shows that 
Carpenters build various types of structures for a living. Watch this video to see what they do. Think about what you know about Augie. Do you think this is a good profession for him? Why or why not? (This annotation contains a video)

A Look Inside

Use the define feature to learn what "thawed" means. 
Which word best describes the state of the school? 

Supplies and Labor

Which line from the text shows that Augie likes to deal with his emotional issues privately? 
We have learned that the school is closing as a result of the snow storm that hit the city. 
Good readers notice the structure of a text. You have already noticed many structural aspects of this text. Peruse this website about free verse poems then respond to the following question. (This annotation contains a link)
How is the structure of a free verse poem different from the structure of this novel? 
Which conflict are the characters facing now? 
Schools in poor, urban areas often close for a number of different reasons. Watch this video to learn more about this real life issue and consider how it may affect the characters.  (This annotation contains a video)

The Last of the Fairy Godmothers

Do you think this line is included in this story to show that Augie wants to meet his father? 
What is the connection between this story and the broader narrative about Augie's life? 
This line reveals that Augie has developed a 
People use the term "volume" to refer to a book. 

Shedding the Donkey Skin

This dialogue shows that Augie and Mom have a _____________ relationship. 
The author is most likely making reference to the beginning of the book because the story is coming to an end. This gives the reader a sense of closure and a hint that the story is ending. 

The Chorus Gets to Work

The author has revealed the title of the book in this line. In 2-3 sentences, explain what this sentence means. Use evidence from the text to support your answer. 
Augie's actions show that he loves his school and wants it to remain open. These acts prove that he is blossoming into a strong, responsible young man. 
The reaction from the kids validates that Augie is a  
What is Sergio's role in saving the school? 

Sergio, Down

In fiction, the bullies or antagonists usually learn a harsh lesson toward the end of the story. Read to find out what happens to these boys. 
Based on context clues, "reinforcements" most likely means 

At the Board of Education

The fact that the characters are entering a courtroom to discuss the closing of their school shows what a big issue this is. What do you think will happen? (This annotation contains an image)
What is the principal going to do in order to persuade the judge? 
How is this story similar to other stories you have read or watched where the characters use music to persuade others?  
These lyrics are used to show that the kids do not want to be placed in a different school.  

Not Taking "No" for an Answer

Do you think Augie will persevere and not give up? Will he find another way to keep his school open? 
Which word best describes Ms. Confrancesco's actions in these lines? 
This phrase solidifies Augie's love of reading. He has grown so much throughout this novel, and his love of reading is an example of his transformation. What are some other ways he has changed? 
Why do you think the author made Sergio's parents characters from a story Augie read? 
Quiz 3