In R.L. Stine’s Classic Goosebumps: Welcome to the Dead House, students experience how language can be used to build suspense and draw unsuspecting readers deeper into a story. For many students, this book is the perfect introduction to suspenseful storytelling and may even motivate them to write their own Goosebumps-inspired stories.
The story centers on Amanda and Josh, two kids who move with their parents, and family dog Petey, into a spooky old mansion in the town of Dark Falls. Like any good thriller, a series of creepy and unexpected encounters inside and outside their home keep the children, and readers, on their toes. It’s a thrilling book filled with sensory and figurative language that encourages readers to visualize and comprehend unusual details — a perfect read that forces students to explain the unexplainable.
Once students complete Welcome to the Dead House, encourage them to reflect on what they’ve just read. Many students may be itching to jump into the next book in the Goosebumps series, but first, it’s important to discuss the key elements that make the book so good. Here are 5 prompts to help jumpstart a conversation with your students:
1. Identify Point of View
Who is telling the story? How can you tell?
What does Amanda notice about the town of Dark Falls?
3. Key Details
What is strange about Petey’s behavior since the family moved to Dark Falls? How does the dog begin to look different?
4. Problem Solving
How do the children manage to escape and save their parents?
5. Thinking Critically
Why is Amanda and Josh's new house called the "Dead House?”
After reading, students may be inspired to try their hand at writing their own thrilling tale. To help get them started, here are some questions you can pose to them:
What is the title of your scary story?
Where does it take place?
Who are the main characters of your scary story?
What makes your story scary?
Encourage them to think about important story elements, such as character and setting, before they begin writing. And once they’re done, they can share their scary story to spook their classmates!