"The Hunger Games" Novel Study

By Jeremy Rinkel on October 10, 2011
  • Grades: 6–8, 9–12

I am very excited to see my students' excitement as we read The Hunger Games. Even my students who are not usually interested in reading are asking to read the second book of the Hunger Games Trilogy, Catching Fire. Other students purchased Catching Fire on their own and read it outside of class. And of course, we are very anxious for the release of The Hunger Games movie in March. 

As I planned a Hunger Games unit, I created prereading, during reading, and postreading activities. Continue reading to see the activities I created for this unit, as well as other online resources for The Hunger Games


Prereading Activities

Before reading The Hunger Games, I wanted my students to understand the power of government and the concept of total governmental control. Most of my students had read Lois Lowry’s The Giver, so I used that novel to discuss utopian and dystopian societies. I also read excerpts of George Orwell’s Animal Farm and showed the movie. We also read and watched parts of Orwell’s 1984. These novels and movies provide an understanding of totalitarianism, a constant theme throughout The Hunger Games. 


During Reading Activities


Guided Reading Packet

As students read, they had to complete a Hunger Games guided reading packet, which included five to six questions about each chapter along with space for a one-paragraph summary. I found that my students did not enjoy writing the summaries because they wanted to continue reading the book. Some waited until the last minute to complete the packet, by which time they had forgotten what happened in the earlier chapters. When I teach this unit again, I will give periodic due dates and conduct packet checks to be sure students are completing their reading packet.  


The Hunger Games Wall of Art

Some students are really excited to use their art talent in English class. I had students select a symbol or object from part I or part II of The Hunger Games and create a pencil sketch or painting of it. In addition to creating the artwork, students were required to  name their artwork and write a brief description of it. Enjoy a couple examples of my students’ art below.   




Postreading Activities


Tribute Posters

I had students play the role of Haymitch and create tribute propaganda posters to gain sponsors. Students selected the tribute photos from The Official Hunger Games Facebook Page. In addition to collecting the tribute photos, students needed to create a slogan for their tribute and discuss their tribute's strengths.




 District Posters

Students also created posters for each of the districts. Students needed to note each district's geographic location, tell what resource they provide the nation of Panem, and include photos that symbolize each of the districts. 





Class Bulletin Board

After students completed the novel, they had to complete a final project. Some students chose to work on a class bulletin board. The class bulletin board included tribute and district posters. 




Scholastic's Hunger Games Resources

As the Hunger Games publisher, Scholastic has created many interactive resources to help your students further engage with the reading. Take a look at the sites below before planning your unit.


The people that are bashing the idea of teaching it to junior high students do not understand the concepts that surround this book. It leaves many avenues open for discussion about war and poverty. It also opens up many discussions about being forced to participate in war and just how hard it can be. If we believe that they do not see this stuff on a regular basis on TV and in video games we are delusional. The kids are desensitized to this stuff on a daily basis and then they do not understand the impact that war can have on a family and on a community. Teaching this book at a junior high level is completely okay and in my opinion helpful. When do we expect them to learn about these things? War is happening in the world around us but we are to ignore it? and not teach about the consequences of our actions? about how we can change the world?

Thanks so much for this!

Although this book is definitely for an older audience, I love the idea of using it as a "literature study". Many students could care less about "studying" a book, much less "read" it. A fellow teacher used this book and unit with her H.S. continuation students (many of which are gang members) they loved it AND the academic knowledge they learned as well.
We need to meet our students where they are sometimes, and this book does that.

I hope you got their parents' permission before plunging them into this sick and disturbing world. Not everyone is ready for this. Most of the people I know who've read it (and I'm one of them) had nightmares for days. Just because the media has hyped it up, doesn't mean everyone should read it.

All I can say is...WOW...are you kidding me??

You had nightmares for days? How old are you? My 10 year old read the book and I am currently teaching it to my Grade 7 class. If you get beyond the obvious idea of the book, there are so many subtleties within the novel that it almost BEGS to be taught. There are so many other books that offer sick and disturbing worlds-Animal Farm, Lord of the Flies, The Giver...I think you need to grow up a bit!

We are also having the students read the short story, "The Lottery," to accompany The Hunger Games.

Thank you for posting this packet. I have been trying find something to accompany the book as we read in class. This packet is perfect for my lesson plans.

I think the packet is just pointless busywork for the students. It would ruin the book for me if I kept having to stop and answer questions. Ask the kids questions that make them actually have to think about the overall concept of the book. It is assignments like this that make kids hate school.

On the other hand I did like the idea of having them read 1984, Animal Farm, and The Giver. Also, having a discussion over different types of governments.

I was crossing my fingers someone had information to share....... From a retired/ part time teacher, I am pleased to find this resource and say thanks. It is the kind of activity that can be adapted for different age groups and modify for different learning styles.

It is much easier to adapt the activities for varying abilities, than to invent the "comprehension wheel" on my own. Again, thanks for posting this and putting the time in to share.

This is an absolutely glorious lesson. Thank you for sharing, especially the guided reading packet. My kids can't wait!

Thank you so much for this awesome packet! Our kids are so excited about reading this book and the movie coming out this spring...this is great!

This is fantastic!I am a learning support teacher at the high school level and think my students would love reading these books!

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