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Spy Camp (Spy School)

Last updated Monday, July 9, 2018

Author: Stuart Gibbs
Date of Publication: 2014
ISBN: 1442457538
Grade Level: 5th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Jul. 2018

Synopsis: Ben Ripley is a middle-schooler whose school is not exactly average—he’s spent the last year training to be a top-level spy and dodging all sorts of associated danger. So now that summer’s finally here, Ben would like to have some fun and relax. But that’s not going to happen during required spy survival training at a rustic wilderness camp, where SPYDER, an enemy spy organization, has infiltrated the spies’ ranks. Can Ben root out the enemy before it takes him out—for good?

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What does it mean to spy or be a spy?
•  Have you ever spied on anyone?
•  Do you think it would be fun to be a spy?


•  Espionage - things that are done to find out secrets from enemies or competitors
•  Nefarious - evil or immoral
•  Infiltrated - to secretly enter or join something in order to get information or do harm
•  Penchant - a strong liking for something
•  Proffered - to offer or give something to someone
•  Groused - to complain about something

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Do you know how to tell time using the 24 hour clock (aka military time)?
•  What does 'CIA' stand for and do you know what they do? (Central Intelligence Agency)
•  What location would you want to be assigned to if you were going to be a spy?
•  Would you want to go to spy school?

Craft ideas:
•  Use a paper plate, or cut a circle from construction paper, and make a 24 hour clock. See example on Pinterest for how to layout the numbers.
•  Make a message decoder key. Cut out one large circle from construction paper. Write the alphabet, in alphabetical order, around the edge. Draw in a circle within the larger circle, and write in the alphabet, in random order, along the edge of the second circle. See example on Pinterest. Kids can then write a secret message.

*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!