Gooney Bird Greene

Written by: Lois Lowry

Illustrated by: Middy Thomas

Before Reading

Explore Illustrations

Gooney Bird Greene is a girl that marches to the beat of her own drum, walking into the first day of class in pajamas and cowboy boots and demanding to sit in the center of the class so that she can be in the middle of everything. Before your child dives into the story, ask questions like:

From what you see on the cover, what do you know about Gooney Bird Greene?

What do you know about the story from the description and what you might have heard?

What do you want to know about the story? (ie. Why is her name Gooney Bird Greene? Why does she dress that way? What is she like?)

What do you think this story will be about?

As You Read

Take Turns Reading

Alternate reading chapters with your child and take time to discuss the story as you go along. Each time you come back to the story to read the next chapter or portion, be sure to do a quick review of the part you stopped at so that there isn't a disconnect between what you've read and what you are about to read. 

Vocabulary Building

When your child comes across a word that s/he is unfamiliar with, let him/her use the context given in the rest of the paragraph to help him/her figure out its meaning. For example, if your child doesn't know what SENTIMENTAL means, talk about the scene and ask, "How Gooney Bird's mother feels about the rug? Do you think that is what SENTIMENTAL means?" Help your child use clues to figure out what each word means so that s/he isn't simply looking up each word before truly thinking about what they might mean. 

Making Connections

Gooney Bird Green is a very confident girl and takes her class by storm on her first day of school, but many kids go into their first day feeling nervous or shy. Talk to your child about his/her own experiences by asking, "Can you remember your first day of school? How did you feel? How is that different from how you think Gooney Bird Green felt on her first day?" 


After Reading

Summarize and Interpret

Use these questions to facilitate a discussion with your child about the story you've just read:

How did Gooney Bird get her name?

Describe Gooney Bird Greene. What would your first impression of her have been if she had walked into your class? 

 What are some things that all stories need?

What makes Gooney Bird Greene a great storyteller?

Which of Gooney Bird 's stories is your favorite? Why is that one your favorite?

Activity: Write Your Own Gooney Bird Greene Story

Supplies: paper, pencils and markers


Grab paper and a pencil and write your own Gooney Bird Greene story! Talk to your child about what a story needs to be complete and consider these questions before you begin writing!

Where is your story set?

Is it a true story or an imaginary story? (ie. could it happen in real life or not?)

What is the beginning, middle and end of the story?

You can illustrate your story as well with a picture of Gooney Bird Greene and the adventure that she is on in your story.


STEM Extensions

Gooney Bird Greene got her name from a bird that her parents remember seeing on their bird-watching trip. Check out these cool birds and see where they are from and why they are each special. You can make your own chart with information on where each bird lives, what foods they eat, and a fun fact about it! You can even think about ways that your child could be similar to that bird, like having big feet or having a small beak/nose. Who knows, maybe you'll find a bird that kind of looks like your child and s/he will have a new nickname!