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Louis Sachar 's Holes Comprehension Companion
Holes Comprehension Companion
Enjoying literature is one of the joys of reading. The goal of the "Holes Comprehension Companion" is to help teach reading comprehension in an enjoyable context, and to directly teach the skills instead of providing "practice" for a skill a student may not yet have.
These exercises also require students to think about what they've read; unfortunately, all a student must do when asked to write a summary of a novel is to ask a search engine and copy.
Holes by Louis Sachar is a Newbery-winning novel that has a straightforward plot (with flashbacks), clearly defined characters, and an intertwining of past and present personalities with neo-Shakespearean twists, as many seemingly insignificant details tie together.
Holes lends itself to explicitly teaching comprehension skills such as understanding themes, inferences, and character and quote analysis.
Here are some comprehension activities related to Holes. NOTE: There are more exercises than any single student should do. Choose the exercises for students to do. Reading should be fun -- don't let the comprehension exercises keep students from enjoying the story. It may be appropriate to simply have a student complete a "learning log" every few chapters, or discuss questions and events instead of writing them down.
The Holes learning log can be completed before or after other activities, and some students will find it much easier to do it one way or the other. (Do it the easy way -- the objective here is to learn to understand literature, not to make everything as difficult as possible. Structured, but free-spirited!)
Holes 1: Chapter One
Draw it! and Inferences
Holes 2: Chapters 2 and 3
Holes 3: Chapters 4 and 5
Quote Analysis and Tall Tales
Holes 4: Chapters 6 and 7
Flashback, Settings, and Perseverance
Holes 5: Chapters 8, 9 and 10
Draw it!, Vocabulary, Inferences and Conflict
Holes 6: Chapter 11
Holes 7: Chapter 12
Draw it! (Or Quote Analysis)
Holes 8: Chapter 13
Holes 9: Chapter 14
Vocabulary, Inferences, Character Analysis
Holes 10: Chapters 15-16
Perseverance, Answers and Questions
Holes 11: Chapters 17-18
Conflict, Figurative Language
Holes 12: Chapters 19-20
Conflict: Draw it!
Holes 13: Chapters 21-22
Holes 14: Chapter 23
Setting, Quote Analysis
Holes 15: Chapters 24-25
Vocabulary, Character Analysis
Holes 16: Chapters 26-28
Conflict, Inference, Drawing
Holes 17: Chapters 29-30
Character Analysis, Draw it!
Holes 18: Chapters 31-34
Holes 19: Chapters 35-58
Symbols, vocabulary, perseverance
Holes 20: Chapters 39-44
Conflict, vocabulary, character development, Quote Analysis
Holes 21: The Final Chapters
Inferences, character analysis
Other Nifty _Holes_ Links:
Study Guide: Full-color PDF with many ideas and links.
Holes online comprehension questions: online multiple choice for each chapter. Cool :-) -- but I haven't checked it for the mistakes so common in this kind of site.
TrackStar (web-linked activities): http://trackstar.hprtec.org/main/display.php3?track_id=150289
This links to information about Tall Tales, people like Annie Oakley, Jim Crow laws, and westward expansion.
Holes: Class Pics Students in Germany made this graphically charming summaries of characters including photographs and cartoons! (Note: One picture's caption has an asterisked curse word in it.)
Holes Teaching Strategies -- lots of ideas and activities to use while reading _Holes._
SparkNotes Very thorough plot summaries and analyses and many lesson ideas.
Literature Study -- these questions take _Holes_ to a much deeper level (no pun intended, ouch...),such as :
6. "Doc Hawthorn was almost completely bald, and in the morning his head often smelled like onions" (109). Now look closely at this sentence: "A lot of people don't believe in yellow-spotted lizards either, but if one bites you, it doesn't make a difference whether you believe in it or not" (41). Examine the ways in which the ideas behind these two sentences are connected. This should also lead you to consider how myth and folk tales are woven into the fabric of this story."
Think Quest another winner in the creative graphic arts department :) Click on places on the map of _Holes_ to find related information.
Webquest: These activities from this Australian site are posted by "the Warden."
Lesson Plans - chapter-by-chapter comprehension questions (and answers).
"LitPlans" -- links to anything and everything about _Holes_ and other books by Louis Sachar.