In Wonder, R.J. Palacio perfectly captures the voice of young learners as they navigate their relationships with a classmate with a severe disability. For this reason, it’s become a staple in classrooms and is widely read among students and teachers. The heartwarming story of Auggie helps students learn about bullying, acceptance, peer pressure, and courage, and is a testament to how literature can change the world.
After your students finish Wonder, you’ll definitely want to build on the momentum of their reading and encourage them to talk and write about what they just read in a way that furthers their understanding of the book’s themes. But what questions should you ask to encourage reflection? Here are five prompts to get your students talking and writing:
1. Compare and Contrast
How would you describe Auggie as a person in the first few chapters of the book? What about the final few chapters?
2. Draw Conclusions
Mr. Brown's first precept was: When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind. Was there a difference between the way Summer was kind and the way Jack was kind to Auggie? Explain.
3. Make an Inference
Why do you think Via did not tell her parents about the play?
4. Learn About Character Development
Each of the characters in the story matures in certain ways. How do Auggie's problems help this happen?
5. Promote Critical Thinking
Is a person's identity based on how they look or is it based on how they live? Explain your choice.
During the course of discussion and student writing, remind students to support their responses with specific details and evidence from the story. Additionally, to engage students before writing, consider having students role-play characters or create precept posters on perseverance, courage, and strength of character.