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When You Reach Me

Last updated Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Author: Rebecca Stead
Date of Publication:
ISBN: 0385737424
Grade Level: 5th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Jul. 2013

Synopsis: By sixth grade, Miranda and her best friend, Sal, know how to navigate their New York City neighborhood. They know where it's safe to go, and they know who to avoid. Like the crazy guy on the corner. But things start to unravel. Sal gets punched by a kid on the street for what seems like no reason, and he shuts Miranda out of his life. The apartment key that Miranda's mom keeps hidden for emergencies is stolen. And then a mysterious note arrives, scrawled on a tiny slip of paper. The notes keep coming, and Miranda slowly realizes that whoever is leaving them knows things no one should know. Each message brings her closer to believing that only she can prevent a tragic death. Until the final note makes her think she's too late. (Amazon.com)

Note to readers:
•  You may want to read the inside cover (synopsis) to the kids first.
•  The chapter titles are clues.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Where do you think this story takes place?
•  What are the symbols on the cover?
•  Are the symbols on the cover clues?

•  $20,000 Pyramid - tv game show similar to "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?"
•  swiped
•  obstruct
•  Miranda Warnings
•  shorthand
•  oak-tag

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Who is writing the notes/letters to Miranda?
•  Who punched Sal? How did Sal react? (page 21)
•  What's on the wish list? (page 29)
•  Do you think Miranda's mom will win the game show?
•  What did Miranda give Richard for his birthday?
•  Did you notice anything interesting about the chapter titles? (clues)

Craft ideas:
•  Write a list of what you would do if you won money on a game show.
•  Tie knots with rope or string.
1. Wrap the free end of a string around a small dowel (stick).
2. Crossover itself and around the post again.
3. Slip working end under last wrap.
4. Pull tight.

Special activities:
•  Play a version of $20,000 Pyramid (see page 12). Write one word or a simple phrase on each index card. Have one person look at one card and give clues to the others without saying the word(s) on the card. Whoever guesses correctly keeps the card to keep track of the score.

*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!