Hokey Pokey

FREE Literature Unit Teacher Resource PageSo mIMG_0579any books, so little time. I’ll be posting recommendations for picture books as a part of Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Fridays (resuming in September), but also want to share some great middle grade books as well.

Because I loved my years with those irresistible middle schoolers, let’s start off with a special middle grade novel – Jerry Spinelli’s Hokey Pokey. It might stretch the joys of summer break juuuust a little bit longer. Spinelli creates a world that is pure fun, populated with a cast of characters that will touch the heart.

For writers, it’s a great example of “world building” and full of lessons on craft.

In the classroom, the rich language offers opportunities to explore literary skills, and multiple themes invite critical thinking. Readers will easily connect the text to themselves and the world. With its high interest level, struggling readers and English Language Learners (ELLs) who may need a more accessible reading level will find it enjoyable and relevant.

And…. As a thank you for coming along with me as I start this online reading and writing journey, I’d like to offer a FREE Literature Unit for this novel on my Teacher/Parent Resource page. Please share this with anyone who might be interested.

Common Core Standards are addressed throughout the novel study that includes teacher instructions, student pages, and activities covering:

  • Vocabulary and Context Clues
  • Before, During, and After Reading Activities
  • Discussion questions
  • Story elements
  • Figurative language
  • Literary devices
  • Writing opportunities
  • Writer’s Craft lessons
  • Connections to Life Skills/Personal Growth, Art and Social Studies/Science

Title: Hokey Pokey
Author: Jerry Spinelli
Random House 2013
Lexile: HL600 (High-Low)
Grades 5-7

Summary: (from barnesandnoble.com) Welcome to Hokey Pokey. A place and a time, when childhood is at its best: games to play, bikes to ride, experiences to be had. There are no adults in Hokey Pokey, just kids, and the laws governing Hokey Pokey are simple and finite. But when one of the biggest kids, Jack, has his beloved bike stolen—and by a girl, no less—his entire world, and the world of Hokey Pokey, turns to chaos. Without his bike, Jack feels like everything has started to go wrong. He feels different, not like himself, and he knows something is about to change. And even more troubling he alone hears a faint train whistle. But that’s impossible: every kid knows there are no trains in Hokey Pokey, only tracks.


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