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A Listening Library Study Guide


A. Have the class define and discuss these terms:

monopoly, reputation, syllable, circular, orchestra, cursive, sidetracked, grenade, maximum, fluorescent, linoleum, adjusted, launched, historical, maroon, furious, detention, conference, disruption, Latin, quills, linebacker, encouraging, forbidding, rebellion, authority, overreaction, vandalism, defender, standards, twilight, occasional, burglary, pursed, champion, masterminded, academic, superintendent, preliminary, trademark, controversial, marketing, ruckus, celebrity, limousine, consumers, arbitrary, coinage

without consulting with Nick's father? How has the incident changed Nick? What does Mrs. Granger say in her letter to Nick? What do the gifts they exchange represent?


by Andrew Clements

When it comes to livening things up at school, Nick Allen has plenty of ideas. But the year he takes on his fifth grade teacher and dictionary specialist, Mrs. Lorelei Granger, he has his work cut out for him.

B. For Discussion:

1. What is the most important thing Mrs. Granger teaches? Why does she feel students should learn to use the dictionary and respect words? Do you feel she is too strict about what words the students can use? Why or why not? Does she win or lose the "word war"? Why had she fought so hard against the word "frindle"? 2. Trace the ways the media--the local newspaper and television--get involved. What happens because of their involvement? Is it good to have the media cover stories? How would things be different if stories weren't covered by the media? 3. When he becomes famous, Nick starts censoring his own ideas before he acts on them. Find examples of this and discuss why it happens. How do ideas get born? What keeps them from being carried out? 4. How do you think the word "frindle" got into the dictionary? 5. Mrs. Granger writes to Nick "Every good story needs a bad guy, don't you think?" Do you agree with this statement? Does every good story have a villain? Can you think of any that don't?

B. Before beginning the story, discuss the following questions with the class:

1. Have you ever had a teacher you didn't get along with? What did you do? Did you look back later and decided she was a good teacher? Why or why not? 2. Where do words come from? Who decides what words should be put in the dictionary? 3. Have you ever invented anything? Would you like to invent something and become famous? What would you invent?


problem-solving, teaching and learning, friendship, responsibility, leadership, democracy


A. Understanding the Story:

1. Begin with Chapters 1 - 5: In what ways does Nick Allen show his creativity in his classes? Why does Nick like to ask the teacher a question three minutes before the bell? What does he ask Mrs. Granger the first day? How does she answer his question? What is Nick's plan for getting back at Mrs. Granger for assigning him the report? How does his plan work out? 2. Advance to Chapters 6 - 12: Why does Nick call the pen he finds a "frindle"? What oath do the six secret agents swear to? How does Mrs. Granger react to the introduction of the world "frindle"? Why do you think it's so important to her? How do the kids react when they are told they can't use the word "frindle"? What does Nick's mother tell Mrs. Chatham? In what ways does Judy Morgan's newspaper story make matters worse? How do Nick's parents feel about what he has done? 3. Complete the story with Chapters 13 - 15: Why can't Bud Lawrence sell things with "frindle" on them


Give students the opportunity to work with partners, groups, the whole class, or alone.


A. Language Arts:

1. Have students put together a character list featuring the different traits of the main characters. Why is Nick difficult to teach? How does he demonstrate his creativity in class? What is Mrs. Granger like? 2. Mrs. Granger teaches vocabulary through having her students look up words in the dictionary. Have students come up with other ways they might learn new words. Working in groups, have them put together a lesson plan to teach vocabulary words. 3. Have students listen to the metaphors and similes Nick uses, such as seeing Mrs. Chatham as a linebacker,

Young Listener Unabridged Audio

saying he could feel a homework assignment coming "like a farmer hears a storm," or comparing Mrs. Granger's eyes to lights. Have them write metaphors or similes of their own, either poetic or humorous. What do these add to a description? 4. Hold a debate about free speech vs. standards of grammar, spelling, and vocabulary. Should we be allowed to use any word we want, or should there be standards about proper words? 5. Have students think up five completely new words and write definitions for them. Have them choose one to use at school until it catches on. Then have them write in their journals about the experience. 6. "Frindle" is a new synonym for a pencil. Many words, such as pretty or friend, already have several popular synonyms. Form groups of students and have them make a list of words with multiple synonyms. The group that comes up with the largest number of synonyms for one single word wins?

3. Have students list the names of recent inventions, like microwave ovens, camcorders, email, or Xerox copiers. Are these in the classroom or library dictionaries? Why or why not? How do inventors come up with names for their inventions? How do these names get into a dictionary? 4. Have students research the history of the English language and give reports. Another group might use a dictionary or even The Oxford English Dictionary to learn the history of particular words. They might create a Jeopardy-type quiz. Other books they might look in include those by David Feldman, such as Who Put the Butter in Butterfly and Why Do Clocks Run Clockwise; Thereby Hangs a Tale by Charles Earle Funk; or Spoonerisms, Sycophants, and Sops by Donald Chain Black.

Theme Related Reading and Listening:

Listening Library offers additional titles that explore similar themes and content areas. Use the information below to purchase book and tape kits from our extensive list of awardwinning and popular titles to enhance the learning experience for students in every classroom or library. Other titles by Andrrew Clements:

· The Janitor's Boy · The School Story

Other titles students may enjoy:

· · · · · · Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key by Jack Gantos There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom by Louis Sachar The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo Willawaw! by Tom Bodett

D. Science and Math:

1. Have students listen to the numbers in the story, such as how many kids are in the class, or how many words are in the dictionary. Have them discuss the significance of these numbers. 2. Have students find out how many words are in the dictionary. Are there more words now than in earlier editions? Why or why not? 3. Have students learn about inventors and discoverers, like Thomas Edison, Leonardo DaVinci, Marie Curie, or Galileo. How did they come up with their ideas? Did they try to implement them? What happened?

B. Art and Music:

1. Assign a group to select records, tapes, or CDs from the library that serve as appropriate background music to some of the scenes. Leroy Anderson's tunes, like "Fiddle Faddle" or "The Syncopated Clock" might catch the fun of the story, or they could use songs from My Fair Lady, such as "The Rain in Spain." 2. Have students make a bulletin board about the story. They could photocopy a page from the dictionary and add "frindle" to the page, using a word processor. Have them include pens, books, newspapers, and pictures of kids and teachers. 3. Have students create an illustrated dictionary for beginning readers. What's involved drawing pictures of words? How do pictures help the child learn the word?


When it comes to teaching today's students, sometimes books are just not enough. In an increasingly technological and information-savvy world, the ability to read will be critical to every child's success. The value of audiobooks as a learning tool in the education of children is widely recognized by experts. Audiobooks bring written text to life, adding an interactive quality that can ignite a child's imagination. They encourage reading by broadening vocabularies, stretching attention spans, and fostering critical-thinking skills. Listening to audiobooks in the classroom can effectively enrich the reading experience and aid your students in understanding and appreciating literature, history, theatre arts, and more!

For a FREE school and library catalog of Listening Library's unabridged productions: · · · · · Call TOLL FREE 1-800-733-3000 FAX us at 1-800-940-7046 email us at [email protected] visit our website at or write: Books on Tape 1745 Broadway New York, NY 10019

© 2007 Listening Library

C. Social Studies:

1. Have students study how the media, especially television, cover world events. They might collect news stories from various sources or look at a tape of a news broadcast. Discuss: Does the media always tell "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth"? Why or why not? 2. Share with students the story of the making of the Oxford English Dictionary using the book, The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester. Why was it such a huge project? What is involved in making a dictionary from "scratch"?


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