Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Maniac Magee

First in my series of Children's  novels...
Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli was a wonderful book. It had me laughing, crying and at the edge of my seat. Maniac is a boy that everyone will want to be, a boy who who is capable of incredible feats and truly is a legend. It is a coming of age/finding yourself story that is a must read! (I would suggest this novel for students in 3rd-6th grade.)

Teachers: Some Maniac resources & ideas to help you help your students!

Web Resources:
10 Important Vocabulary Words: orphan, legend, pandemonium, allergy, dumbfounded, repertoire, mourner, replicas, feats, ecstatic (some are from the Vocabulary List above)

During Reading: At the very beginning of the novel the narrator calls Maniac Magee a "legend." Ask students to write down reasons given in the book that Maniac is a legend. This list will help the students to better understand the vocabulary word "legend" as well as better the students' comprehension of the story as many of Maniac's feats are central to the sequence of the story.

After Reading/Writing Activity: Ask students to take their lists and further internalize their comprehension by writing a sentence or two for each reason Maniac is a legend that explains why this trait, feat, etc makes Maniac a legend. Another way to ask the students to do this would be to ask them what is extraordinary or special about each trait, feat, etc. that he or she wrote down.

Even if this novel cannot be included in your curriculum, add it to your classroom library and encourage students to read it during silent sustained reading.

Spinelli, J. (1999). Maniac Magee. New York: Little, Brown Young Readers.
1991 Newbery Award Winner

Happy Reading (&Running) =)

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