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Pay It Forward: Young Readers Edition

Last updated Friday, December 4, 2015

Author: Catherine Ryan Hyde
Date of Publication: 2014
ISBN: 1481409417
Grade Level: 5th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Dec. 2015

Synopsis: Pay It Forward is a moving, uplifting novel about Trevor McKinney, a twelve-year-old boy in a small California town who accepts his teacher’s challenge to earn extra credit by coming up with a plan to change the world. Trevor’s idea is simple: do a good deed for three people, and instead of asking them to return the favor, ask them to “pay it forward” to three others who need help. He envisions a vast movement of kindness and goodwill spreading across the world, and in this “quiet, steady masterpiece with an incandescent ending” (Kirkus Reviews), Trevor’s actions change his community forever. This middle grade edition of Pay It Forward is extensively revised, making it an appropriate and invaluable complement to lesson plans and an ideal pick for book clubs, classroom use, and summer reading. Includes an author'snote and curriculum guide.

Note to readers:
•  You can start reading at Chapter 1 (pg. 7), but it may be good for you to review the note (pg. vii) and prologue (pg. 1).

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Have you ever heard the phrase "pay it forward"?
•  Has someone ever helped you out in a way that then inspired you to help someone else out?


•  Ingrained: of a habit, belief, or attitude; difficult to change
•  Fray: of a person's nerves or temper, to show the effects of strain or tension
•  Sauntered: walk in a slow, relaxed manner, without hurry or effort
•  Recognition: identification of something's existence
•  Euphemistic: the use of a word or phrase to ​avoid saying another word or phrase that may be ​unpleasant or ​offensive, or the word or phrase used

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What made Mr. St. Clair stand out?
•  What assignment did he give the class?
•  Who is the first person that Trevor helps? How?
•  How does Trevor's mom feel about Jerry?

Craft ideas:
•  Have children make a holiday card for police officers, fire fighters, military or senior citizens. If you choose to do this, please collect the cards, making sure that there are no last names. Cards should be given to the Site Coordinators.
•  Check out our December craft ideas on Pinterest! https://www.pinterest.com/readingtokids/december-2015-crafts

Special activities:
•  Brainstorm ideas of how you can help a friend or family member out.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!