Help students develop new reading strategies and practice their comprehension skills with the activities below. Refer to or distribute the accompanying reproducibles where appropriate.
1. Character Studies
Much of the humor and action in each Geronimo Stilton book is driven by different characters who play off each other's personalities. Ask students to select a pair of characters, point out how their personality traits are similar and different, and explain how these qualities shape their relationship. They may use the Character Comparison Sheet (PDF) to put their responses in writing. Then have students select one character they can compare and contrast themselves with. What personality traits do they have, or not have, in common with this character? Why might they get along, or not get along, if the character were a real-life person? Students may discuss these questions in class or write their answers on the other side of the Character Comparison reproducible.
2. Analyzing Words and Pictures
Words, type treatment, and illustrations together have a powerful impact on the way a story is interpreted. Have students briefly skim through a Geronimo Stilton book and point out how these elements may differ from those in other books they have read. Then ask them to take turns reading aloud passages from a Geronimo Stilton book. Encourage them to modulate their voices in response to the variety of images and text treatments. Discuss how the shapes, colors, and arrangements of the words and pictures influenced how they read the story.
3. Plot Diagram
Every good story has an introduction, climax, and resolution. Point out that an introduction introduces a story's characters and setting, a climax is the story's most exciting part or "cliffhanger," and a resolution ties up the story's loose ends and reveals the ultimate fate of its characters. Invite readers to identify these elements in a Geronimo Stilton book by having them complete a Plot Diagram (PDF). Ask them to write short summaries of the events that make up each of these elements, along with the events that lead up to and away from the climax.
4. Make Predictions
What will Geronimo do after his car breaks down near a creepy old castle on Halloween night? Will he reveal the secrets of the monstrous, mythical Yeti after confronting them in the Himalayan mountains? Build suspense and help students draw conclusions by completing the Follow the Clues worksheet (PDF). As they read each Geronimo Stilton book, they can write down clues from the story and their own life experiences in order to predict what characters will do next and how problems will be solved.
5. Name That Character
Ask students to think about one of the main characters in the Geronimo Stilton series without revealing his or her identity. What personal qualities and physical traits make that character so distinctive? Ask volunteers to pretend they are one of the characters and deliver a monologue using props such as clothing, toys, and books. Encourage them to explore what's in the head and heart of that character by relating his or her actions with their own life experiences. Then challenge other students to identify the character and explain their answers. Afterward, you may wish to extend this activity by asking the volunteers to reenact a scene from a Geronimo Stilton book based on their character interpretations.
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