Thursday, October 7, 2010

Ramona Quimby, Age 8

"Being a member of the Quimby family in the third grade is harder than Ramona had expected." An age 8 classic...

The same Ramona you will fall in love with (or maybe you already have) through Ramona the Pest, Ramona and her Father and other Beverly Cleary books is here to once again make us laugh and relate to all the embarrassing incidents we have been through. Ramona Quimby, Age 8 focuses on the beginning of a new year of school, 3rd grade. Ramona helps us to realize that not all families are perfect, and not everything will always go the way you may have planned. As a third grader, everything seems to depend on Ramona this year, yet she still is determined to enjoy third grade despite the responsibilities she now has. But between having to get along with Willa Jean Kemp after school, being made fun of by Danny the Yard Ape, fighting with her parents at home and the infamous throw-up incident in school, Ramona feels like everything is her fault and third grade is not going to be anything like she had hoped. However, Ramona eventually finds a bright side to all the little hiccups along the way in third grade. 

Teachers: As always, here are some resources & ideas to help you out... 

Web Resources:
  • Ramona Lessons: This website offers 10 different "lessons" to go with Ramona Quimby, Age 8. Most of the "lessons" are really a bunch of different activities, so I would suggest pulling out bits and pieces of various "lessons" to add to your teaching. A lot of the activities will help to extend your students' comprehension and vocabulary for this story. Some of these activities even connect across content areas (i.e. hard boiled egg lesson for Science). I would look through all the lessons and pick and choose as to which you think would be most beneficial to your students and which activities would align with your objectives for your students in reading this book. Note: Some of the links in the lesson pages are dead links, but the dead links are not necessary for a successful lesson or activity.
  • Beverly Cleary: This is Beverly Cleary's website. It contains mostly fun extension activities as well as information about Beverly Cleary. The site has a section about each of the characters in Beverly Cleary's books as well as some games and quizzes about the characters. This would be a great site to put on the favorites of any classroom computers and if students earn the privilege of computer time, they can visit this site to learn more about Beverly Cleary and her children's novel characters. 
  Key Vocabulary Words: A list of vocabulary words for each chapter can be found in the first web resource listed. Depending on the need of your students some of these words may need to be pre-taught, while other students may be encouraged to look up the words they don't know in a dictionary while they are reading.

Before Reading: Tell the students that in Ramona Quimby, Age 8, there will be a focus on Ramona's first day of the 3rd grade. Ask students to write a journal entry about their most recent first day of school, putting in as many details as they can remember. This journal can be referred to after they read about Ramona's first day of 3rd grade and the students can then compare and contrast their day to Ramona's.

During Reading: Have students take note of events in Ramona Quimby, Age 8 that they can relate to. They may choose an event such as having the flu, or embarrassing themselves in class, or being picked on. This list that they will have at the end of reading can be used as a post reading activity where the students will write a journal entry comparing their memory to the event Ramona went through.

After Reading/Extension: Beverly Cleary has written many other books about Ramona which include: Beezus and Ramona, Ramona and her Father, Ramona and her Mother, Ramona Forever, Ramona the Brave, Ramona the Pest, and Ramona's World. As an extension activity, especially for any students who really enjoyed Ramona Quimby, Age 8: encourage students to read another one of the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary and then write a journal entry or create a compare/contrast chart to discuss the similarities and differences between the books, focusing on a character that appears in both books. Ramona would be a good choice as she is the main character, but it may also be interesting to compare Beezus or one of Ramona's parents. Students should take note on the ages of the characters in each book and keep in mind that the differences may be due to the character's age. In a text-to-self connection, students may also choose to address how they are different now than they were when they were younger.

Cleary, B. (1992). Ramona Quimby, Age 8 (Avon Camelot Books). New York: HarperTrophy. (Original work published 1982)
1982 Newbery Honor Award

Happy Reading (& Running) =)

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