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Bridge to Terabithia

Last updated Monday, April 13, 2020

Author: Katherine Paterson
Date of Publication: 1977
ISBN: 0690013590
Grade Level: 5th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: May 2016

Synopsis: Jess Aarons has been practicing all summer so he can be the fastest runner in the fifth grade. And he almost is, until the new girl in school, Leslie Burke, outpaces him. The two become fast friends and spend most days in the woods behind Leslie's house, where they invent an enchanted land called Terabithia. One morning, Leslie goes to Terabithia without Jess and a tragedy occurs. It will take the love of his family and the strength that Leslie has given him for Jess to be able to deal with his grief.

Note to readers:
•  This is a touching book which will make you cry at the end. Unfortunately, you will not be able to finish the book. Encourage them to read it in their school library, as the books we read are given to the school. You can start at Chapter 1 but I believe it may be more interesting to begin at Chapter 2 and try to read to page 51.(where they begin to create Terabithia)
•  Hear and see Chapter One read aloud on YouTube, click here for Chapter 2.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What do you think this story might be about just by hearing the title? by the cover illustration?
•  Do you think Terabithia is a real or imaginary place? (imaginary)
•  What do you think Terabithia looks like? Does it have castles or skyscrapers, is it old or modern, forests or oceans?
•  If you had your own country, what would you name it?


•  endure - to hold out against, sustain without impairment or yielding
•  conspicuous - easily seen or noticed
•  betrayed - be disloyal
•  muddled--in a state of confusion or disorder; screech--a loud, harsh, piercing, cry; endure--suffer patiently; backwash--backwards; huffily--in an irritated or annoyed manner;
•  pandemonium--chaos and disorder

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Why does Jess have to be the fastest runner? (ch 1-2)
•  How does May Belle feel about Jess? (ch 1-2)
•  When you move to a new place, how do you make friends?
•  Why would Jess and Leslie want to create their own secret country?
•  Jess and Leslie created their own world. What other people do you know created their own world? (Walt Disney, JK Rowling/Harry Potter, George Lucas/Star Wars; Stan Lee/Marvel Comics; Dr Suess and Whoville)
•  What would your imaginary country look like and have?

Craft ideas:
•  Draw a picture of your imaginary place or country and what it would have. Use your imagination--will hippopotamus fly? fish talk? Give your place a name.
•  Make a colorful card for your friend or loved one so they know how important they are to you.
•  Check out our May craft ideas on Pinterest! https://www.pinterest.com/readingtokids/may-2016-fairytale-crafts/

Special activities:
•  Complete the provided word search.
•  The author uses literary technique (similes) to stimulate a strong picture in the reader's mind when making a comparison of one thing to another. Working with a partner, complete the similes below in an imaginative way.
•  Partner #1: I'm as happy as...
•  Partner #2: a kid on a new bike!
•  Other examples: mad as... happy as... quiet as... smart as ...

*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!