Written By: Rob Buyea
For parents of independent readers, we provide a set of questions that should give you insight into what your child is reading and help you engage him/her in meaningful conversations about literature. We recommend using the questions provided here as a springboard for deeper conversation about Because of Mr. Terupt and what your child takes away from the book. Enjoy!
When Peter enters his new fifth-grade classroom and sees that they had a new teacher, Mr. Terupt, he thinks that the year will be a piece of cake. He sees having a new teacher as a way for him and his friends to get away with things right under Mr. Terupt’s nose. No one is more surprised than Peter when Mr. Terupt turns out to be a cool teacher who isn’t afraid to call students out and does so in a forgiving manner. Peter’s classmates, Jessica, Anna, Danielle, Alexia, Luke, and Jeffrey, also find Mr. Terupt to be a highly influential presence in their lives. One day these students get a rude awakening when a rogue snowball hits Mr. Terupt and causes him to slip into a coma. Now they are left contemplating the possibility of losing him forever. His students are devastated but through this experience, they are able to learn a lot about each other and Mr. Terupt. Fortunately, Mr. Terupt comes out of the coma and is able to stay with his students for another year as they move on to the sixth grade. Told from the point of view of these seven students, Because of Mr. Terupt tells the moving story of an influential teacher who changes the lives of seven young students.
- Describe Mr. Terupt’s character. Do you have a teacher like him? If not, what do you think the advantages of having him as a teacher would be? What about the disadvantages?
- In the beginning of the story, Mr. Terupt gives the class the task of finding dollar words. What is a dollar word? Can you come up with one or two on your own?
- In the story, we discover that Mr. Terupt lost both of his parents as a teenager. How do you think this experience has impacted his feelings regarding family and relationships?
- Do you think that the accident was anybody’s fault? If so, who do you think is to blame?
- Jeffrey has a family secret that he is reluctant to share with people. What happened to his family that affected him greatly. How does this impact the way that he interacts with the students in the Collaborative Classroom?
- What do the characters learn from their experiences visiting the Collaborative Classroom? Does a classroom like this exist at your school? If so, what do you know about it and its students?
- Which character is your favorite? Which is your least favorite? Why? Do you relate to any one character in particular or are there particular qualities from several characters that you relate to?
- What do you think would have happened if there was an alternative ending where Mr. Terupt didn’t come out of his coma? How do you think the students would have reacted?
- The author of this story, Rob Buyea, has written and published a sequel to this book entitled Mr. Terupt Falls Again. How do you think Mr. Terupt falls and what do you predict happens in the rest of the story?
Above all, be sure to engage your child in a discussion about the plot line and his/her thoughts and feelings about the book. Ask what s/he likes, encourage exploration related to the book, and every now and again, offer to read parts of the book aloud, just for fun!
Take Turns Reading Aloud
Some believe that once a child is able to read on there own, it is time to stop reading aloud but taking turns reading aloud with your child can have some significant benefits. You can spend quality time reading with your child, but you can also determine your child’s level of comprehension. Simply sit down with your child, read a chapter to him/her, discuss what happened and then switch roles for the following chapter. (Greatschools.org)
Introduce Series Books
Once you’ve established what kinds of stories your child is interested in reading, find series books that incorporate these interests. Not only can they entice a less confident or skilled reader as they become familiar with their predictable themes and familiar characters, but they also encourage further reading as children will want to know what happens to their favorite characters. (Greatschools.org)