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In "Ramona Quimby Age 8," Ramona is in third grade and has to take a bus to Cedarhurst Primary School. She is very concerned about her father and the fact that he hates his job. She is happy when he returns to college to train to be an art teacher.She tries to help out the family by being kind and understanding to Willa Jean who is at her babysitter's after school each day. There are conflicts over money and her sister wanting to go to a sleep over.
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When teaching, you can focus on a variety of themes. Introduce your students to Ramona by reading a chapter a day to them. After each reading, discuss the main event of the chapter and ask the students what they think will happen next.
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From each chapter, choose a word and provide an activity to go with it so that your students develop their vocabulary skills. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Page 1. "quivery." Invite students to write a sentence. " My stomach felt ________ with excitement." Fill in the blank with as many words as they can think of that mean the same as quivery (e.g., shaky, trembly, jiggy, quaky)
Page 35. "crocheting." Ask students to write a description of what they think this is. Is it an English word? (French word from croche meaning hook)
Page 62. "cursive." Ask students to choose four letters of the alphabet and print the capital letters and then write them in cursive.
Page 70 "dagger." Ask students to draw a picture of a fork using a pencil. Then using a black marker change the fork into a dagger.
Page 81 "complimented." Ask students to write a compliment for their best friend, a compliment for their mother, a compliment for the principal (At this time you may like to point out the spelling of "principal" as explained on Page 54)
Page 100 "scant." Ask students to look up the meaning of this word and then print what would be the opposite meaning.
Page 123. "arthritic." Ask students to describe how they think they would feel if they had an arthritic pain somewhere on their body. What would be their limitations?
Page 145. "blurted." Invite volunteers to demonstrate how to blurt out an excuse, e.g., "My homework isn't done!"
Page 159 "cognitive." Ask students to tell how Ramona's father explained the word. Use the word in a sentence. Can they give another explanation?
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"Ramona Quimby Age 8" lessons are appealing to primary students because of the "realness" of Ramona. A character study of this little girl will show how students can relate to the way she feels and acts.
Discuss with students the words and phrases that could be used to describe Ramona. What does she look like? Is she a kind person? What is her personality? Would they like to have her as a friend? Why or why not? Does Ramona's character change over the course of the story? Does she become more or less understanding?
Provide students with a character web, such as this sample.
Ask students to choose three words that describe Ramona. Print a sentence for each word.
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Invite students to read Page 138 again. Discuss with them their favorite commercials. Then, as Ramona did, ask them to make a book report about "Ramona Quimby Age 8" as a commercial.
For students who would find a commercial too difficult, ask them to make a poster advertizing the book "Ramona Quimby Age 8." Remind them to include the title, author, setting, characters and their favorite part.
Page 168. Ramona is reading the menu. Ask students to write out a menu for a fast food restaurant. Encourage them to make up a catchy name for the location. Suggest that they include lots of illustrations of their food ideas — after all there may be students who are not as good at reading as they are!
- Cleary, Beverly. Ramona Quimby, Age 8. Harper Collins Publishers, 1992
- Author's own classroom experiences