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Home > Reading Comprehension > Freak the Mighty > Chapter 1

Literature-based Skill Building:
Freak the Mighty, Chapter One

The Unvanquished Truth

Explicitly teaching comprehension skills such as vocabulary, inferences, and character and quote analysis can be closely tied to literature.

Here are some comprehension activities related to the novel by Rodman Philbrick. NOTE: 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 the "learning log" for each chapter, or discuss questions and events instead of writing them down.
The 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.)

1. Word Part: Un

(You want to know what "unvanquished" means, don't you?)

Complete the "First Day's" exercises, or complete all the exercises for four words on the "Word part: UN" worksheet. This is a PDF file -- click here for ready-to-print pages. They are in Adobe PDF (portable document file) format, which can be read by any computer with the Adobe Acrobat Reader, available free at the Adobe site.

2. Signal Word: But

When you read "but" in a sentence, you know that you're about to read something that is different from what came just before it, maybe something you wouldn't expect. You would read "He lost the game but he was happy," because you wouldn't expect losing a game to make someone happy.

Complete these sentences so that they make sense. There are lots of different ways to finish them.

1. Max kicked some people in day care, but he
2. Gram and Grim liked to hug Max, but Max
3. Freak was little, but
4. Gram and Grim knew Max's father's name, but
5. Most kids went to day care every day, but Freak

To infer something is to figure it out from hints. The more hints, the more likely you are to be right.
If a boy walks in from outside with a dripping umbrella, you might infer that it's raining.
You make inferences without even trying to -- but you get smarter when you learn to make them on purpose. When you read and ask yourself 'why?" and think of possible answers, you're making inferences. Asking "why" at the right places while you read can help you understand what you're reading.

Freak the Mighty gives us a lot of information to ask about in the first chapter. You'll know Max and his friend a lot better from the start if you ask yourself "why" along the way, and think of possible answers.

Here are some good "why" questions to try to answer. Take a guess if you don't know for sure -- and look/listen for the answer as you read the book.

Grim means serious, not happy. Why would Max call his grandfather "grim?"
Max said that Gram and Grim "took me over." This means they started taking care of him. What are two reasons this could happen?
What does Max mean when he says he "had a way of saying things with my fists and my feet"?
Why might Max say that "hug stuff" was "a lie?"

Why might Gram and Grim talk about Max's father "like his name is too scary to say"? WHy might Max's father be scary?

Why might Freak be called Freak?


A. Give this chapter a new title. Consider what has happened and the feelings in the chapter.

B. Setting: Identify the main setting of the chapter.
A. Time ______________________________
B. Place_________________________________

C. In one or two sentences, summarize what happens in this chapter.

Questions: What are two questions you could ask about the characters you've been introduced to? _




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