The word freak is a derogatory term when used about another person. In "Freak the Mighty" students will learn how Max and Kevin overcome incredible odds to form a friendship and become mighty. Vocabulary is important in this book. We explore the meaning and usage of some words
- Incorporate some of the new vocabulary into their discussions and presentations.
- Identify the effects of the dialogue between Kevin and Max.
- Identify the different figures of speech e.g. metaphor, simile, personification, hyperbole.
- Increase their written and spoken vocabulary.
In order for students to derive the most benefit from the book they need to explore the vocabulary and dialogue.
Freak's personal dictionary provides a wealth of material for word study.
Ask your students to look through the complete version on pages 161 to 168. Ask: are these definitions the ones that you would find in the dictionary? After establishing that they are not the conventional meanings invite students to choose one word for each letter of the alphabet and find the conventional definition for that word e.g. D - " dictionary: noun. Book dealing, usually in alphabetical order, with the words of a language or some special subject."
Ask students to take each letter in their name and choose a word that begins the same. Make up a meaning for it in the same style as Freak's dictionary. This could then become a personal acrostic poem.
Ask students to choose twelve of their favorite words from Freak's dictionary and make an illustration to go with each one. Then take the same twelve words and illustrate them as a conventional meaning.
Using New Vocabulary
Ask students to pair up and invite them to role play the characters of Kevin and Max. Present a scenario and ask them to make up a script using appropriate voacabulary from the book (students will revel in the fact that they are able to use the word "butthead" without teacher frowning!). For example - There is a parade coming down the main street of town and Kevin wants to be included in the marching band. What directions will Kevin give to Max? What reasons will Max give that they should not take part? How does Kevin persuade Max? Does he use a story to fire Max' imagination? For those students who do not feel comfortable role playing in front of their peers ask them to write out the script.
Write a word from the book on a chart and ask for volunteers to put it into a sentence.
A sobriquet is another word for nickname. Ask your students to find examples of sobriquets throughout the book (Freak,Kicker, Grim). Are these nicknames meant in a cruel manner? How did Max and Kevin turn their nicknames into a positive thing?
Effects of Dialogue
Ask students to find examples of dialogue that make Max laugh.
Ask students to find examples of dialogue that makes the reader feel sympathy for Max.
Ask students to find examples of dialogue that makes the reader feel sympathy for Kevin.
Ask students to find examples of dialogue that show that Grim is fond of Max.
Display a chart with headings of four types of figurative language: metaphor, simile, personification , hyperbole.
Read the first chapter co-operatively and add to the chart under the correct heading any examples e.g. hyperbole: "I never had a brain until Freak came along." Ask the students to continue until they have examples under each heading.
Kevin suffers from Morquio Syndrome. Ask students to find out through the Internet or books more about this affliction. Max suffers from a learning disorder. Ask students to find out more about dyslexia and how students with this disorder can be helped.
Dictionary definition: The Concise Oxford Dictionary: Clarendon Press, Fourth Edition. Revised by E.McIntosh