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 the story and what your child takes away from the book. Enjoy!
Create a K-W-L Chart and have your child fill in the first two columns with information that s/he knows and wants to find out about the story. S/he can fill in the last column, "What I Learned", once s/he has finished the story.
What I Know
After reading the description on the back cover, discuss what your child already knows about the subject matter. Answer questions like "Who is the main character? Where does the story take place? What is the general premise?" Encourage him/her to describe what s/he sees on the cover that will tell him/her more about the story.
What I Want to Know
This section can be filled with questions that your child would like to have answered while reading the story.
- Seeing as this is the first story in this series, the author is introducing us to Humphrey's character. What do we learn about Humphrey in this story? What is his character like?
- If Humphrey lived in your classroom, what would he think of it? How does Humphrey view the world differently from the other characters in the story?
- Do you have a pet? If so, what are some ways that you have to take care of your pet? If you could have any pet at all, what would it be? Why?
- How does Humphrey help the students in Room 26? Give two examples of how Humphrey is helpful. Do you like helping your friends? How so?
- What does Ms. Mac mean when she says "you can learn a lot about yourself by taking care of another species?"
- If you could write an alternative ending to this story, what would it be? Write a summary of the next book based on your alternate ending.
Extending the Story
Art: Design an addition to Humphrey's cage the way you think he'd like it, and draw it out with labels for each design aspect like the lock-that-doesn't-lock.
Music: Create your own bongo drum by taking a large coffee can, stretching a sturdy cloth over the opening and fastening it using a rubber band. Now you've got your own bongo drum that you can play just like Ms. Mac!
Source: Betty Birney