> The Things You Can Read: Teaching The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street

The Things You Can Read welcomes you and thanks you for your readership. We, here at The Things You Can Read, ask your help, if you visit our site regularly, please follow us either via email or Google Friend Connect.  Launched on June 7, 2012, our site has already attracted a great deal of attention.  One of the goals of the site is to feature reviews of Children's Picture Books, Young Adult novels and Adult Literary Fiction/Nonfiction.  A second goal for the blog is to be a resource for teachers of English and writing--with examples of student created writing, writing tips, resource links, and the opportunity to pick the brain of a seasoned English teacher.  To spice things up...every now and then, we'll also include random quotes and thoughts on education and life in general, but our ultimate goal is to reach out into the blogosphere and be a "Book Whisperer" and "Writing Whisperer" to children and adults of all ages.   Thank you for your readership.  Here is to a lifetime filled with reading and writing.

Teaching The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street



After a mysterious roar and a flash of light, all the homes on a suburban street lose power. What’s more, the batteries in cars and radios go dead. People come into the street and discuss the situation. A boy says that in a similar situation head read about, monsters from outer space were responsible. When one neighbor’s car starts, people accuse him of being responsible for the blackout or in league with those who are. They begin pointing the finger of blame at one another, and the accusations lead to physical violence. 

Pre-Reading Questions:  Click Here

Websites to assist with Pre-Reading Questions:

Theme Song from The Twilight Zone:  Click Here

Listen to theme song and discuss what mood it sets for the episode(s) to come

FDR Speech:  Click Here

Common Fears:  Click Here

ISM Word List:  Click Here

Definition of Scapegoat:  Click Here

Definition of Kangaroo Court:  Click Here

Definition of Ideosycroshies:  Click Here

Ask the students to write down the words that clue you in to the genre of the script;
The narrator keys you into the genre (science fiction or fantasy) through words and phrases like “fifth dimension”, “space between science and superstition”, “imagination”, “twilight zone

The narrator pairs together words such as, “pit” and “fears”, “summit” and “knowledge”, “light” and “science.” With “science”, and “shadow” with “superstition”. While pit and shadow both have negative connotations, light and summit have positive connotations. By pairing the positive connotation words with knowledge and science, and pairing the negative connotation words with fears (emotions) and superstition, the reader picks up on the author’s attitude that science and knowledge are to be favored over fear and superstition. This will set the scene for the events that will later unfold.
The phrase “last calm and reflective moments” shows that there will be chaos later on, and the phrase “before the monsters came” is foreshadowing later events. It creates a feeling of dread and anticipation. The ellipses also reinforces that there is a moment of reflection and/or buildup (suspense).
Vocabulary Activity CLICK HERE 
Lesson Plan:  Click Here
Lesson Plan 2:  Click Here

Plot Diagram for "The Monsters are Due on Maple Street": Click Here

ReadWriteThink Film Lesson:  Click Here

Themes for "The Monsters are Due on Maple Street":  Click Here
Writing a 5 Paragraph Essay:  Click Here

Slide Show:  Click Here

Random Thoughts...

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.” 
Awhile back there was a major discussion on one of the Goodreads groups I belong to about reviews.  Questions such as-Do you write reviews for the books you read?  What do you think should be covered in a review?  Why bother writing a review-were all bantered back and forth.  The consensus at the end of the discussion was that the reading community at large needed help.  

What kind of help?  I guess after thinking long and hard my answer to that question is...not everyone is versed in how to talk or write about literature.  The discussion made me stop and think about what I personally like to see in a review.  Well, I didn't just think about it; I stopped and jotted down some key points that I consider before I start tapping out a review.  I refer to what I created as my personal set of guided questions.  Questions that I can ask myself each time I sit down to write a critique.  Questions that I ask myself even if I don't write a review.  These questions allow me to take the book to a whole new level.  For me this process is instinctual, something that I have developed over a life time of reading, but that is not so for everyone.  For immature readers this process has to be taught.  In fact, I teach engagement with the written word to my students, so I know, first hand, not everyone knows how to be an active reader.  
The teacher in me wants everyone to become active readers, and the word active implies you must do something.  A good reader is always doing something with the information they have read, whether it is making predictions, making inferences, drawing conclusions, comparing and contrasting, or making evaluations/decisions about the material that has been read.  Again I say-good readers do something with what they have read.

As I began my entry into the blogosphere, I realized that maybe this idea of doing something is what the reading and writing community needs.  So, I offer up my  personal reflective questions and challenge everyone out there to become ACTIVE.  You don't have to write a review...simply mull over what you have read and reflect-that's one way to be active.  Hey, if you get really motivated, write a review...if you want to get super motivated take it a step further, and publish it on a blog or on Goodreads.  Anyway, I am hopeful that  by sharing these reflective questions I am in some way helping the reading and writing community at large.  

Dr. Seuss said it best:

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.”  Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

Start going places with your reading by becoming more ACTIVE, and without further adieu, here they are, a few guided questions...talking points-if you will-to consider as you engage your brain and become more ACTIVE readers. 


Is the book memorable? Ask yourself: Do you remember a great deal about the book or is the book just a fading memory?

Is the book socially relevant? Does the book give you a better understanding of diverse social groups?

Is the book informative? Are you more informed after reading the book?

Is the book original? Does the book feel different from the majority of books you read in this genre? 

Is the book thought provoking?

Is the book well written? Does it express the story, ideas, and delivery in a clear and engaging manner?

Is the book entertaining? Did you have a desire to return to the novel as soon as you could? 

Is the book a visual treat? Did the writing allow you to visualize images, such as scenery in your mind? Did you see characters in your mind's eye?

Is the book emotionally charged? Did the book spark emotion: laughter, sadness, anger, or excitement?

Is the book life changing? Did you change in some way after having read the book? 


All I can say is thank goodness for Goodreads.  I have found so many wonderful books with the assistance of my Goodreads friends-all of whom, I have never met face-to-face.  My TBR-To Be Read-list is up to the ridiculously humongous 1,875.  Actually, this really does not bother me.  I often use my TBR shelf on Goodreads as a way to catalog books.  I recently added a number of books by an Argentinean author, Alberto Manguel, and I have to give credit to my discovery of each of these treasures to one of my book groups on the Goodreads site, The Book Addicts.  The group recently decided on their nonfiction selection for the fall, and one of the choices was by an author I was not familiar with, Alberto Manguel, entitled A History of Reading, so I immediately looked him up on Goodreads and fell head-over-heels in love with the descriptions of his books.  

Alas, The Book Addicts did not end up picking his book for their fall read, but that didn't stop me.  In fact, the book I chose to read first by this respected Argentinean writer is not A History of Reading However, it is one of the two that I immediately went out and purchased, and I just this weekend, started reading my first Alberto Manguel selection.  I have to say I'm in love with this book, and decided to share my reading journey of Manguel's A Reader on Reading on The Things You Can Read.  John Gross stated in his review of this book in the New York Review of Books, "Essays of this quality are worth reading, or rereading, wherever they are encountered."  Mr. Gross is oh so right.  Ian Sonsom, a book reviewer for The Guardian, stated the following about Alberto Manguel in his review: 
It is very rare indeed for someone to have devoted their lifetime to making these complex and delightful reconstructions, to sharing and reporting on their experiences as a reader; much rarer, say, than the many who devote themselves simply to criticism, to judgment or to commentary. It's so rare, in fact, that it's difficult to know what to call it. 
Please come join me on my reading journey of A Reader on Reading by Alberto Manguel.  I will be posting over the next few weeks my thoughts and insights on this book.

Excerpt from Goodreads:

Alberto Manguel

About this author

Alberto Manguel (born 1948 in Buenos Aires) is an Argentine-born writer, translator, and editor. He is the author of numerous non-fiction books such as The Dictionary of Imaginary Places (co-written with Gianni Guadalupi in 1980) and A History of Reading (1996) The Library at Night (2007) and Homer's Iliad and Odyssey: A Biography (2008), and novels such as News From a Foreign Country Came (1991).

Manguel believes in the central importance of the book in societies of the written word where, in recent times, the intellectual act has lost most of its prestige. Libraries (the reservoirs of collective memory) should be our essential symbol, not banks. Humans can be defined as reading animals, come into the world to decipher it and themselves.

Listen to an interview of Alberto Manguel where he talks about A Reader on Reading.

Conversation: Alberto Manguel and view his lecture at Yale University's Whitney Humanities Center entitled Alberto Manguel - Borges and the Impossibility of Writing

Happy Reading & Writing
The Things You Can Read!
Believe In Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love, and the Power of Books & Writing!

Don't Forget To Be Awesome!
I am an educator with over 25 years of teaching experience; I currently teach English in the public school system of Virginia. In my spare time I am an avid reader. writer, reviewer, blogger, writing/art journaler, beekeeper, grad student, and MOTHER. - See more: Here


Food For Thought: Teaching Life Lessons

We had an inspirational speaker come to our middle school on Friday.  If you are a teacher, we can hear the groans...and we also can feel your pain, because an assembly in the middle of the day can often wreck havoc on the normalcy needed to have a successful school day, but that was not the case on Friday.  

Our speaker was not teaching "state testing material", but rather "life lesson material", and our only wish was that more people could have heard him.  We know that what he said will stick with those that heard him for days, weeks, months, and possibly, years to come.  He made us go UMMM a number of times during his talk.  How do we know he connected with the students?  Well, here is how, we had several children ask us the question the speaker zeroed in on after the assembly was over, which was "Who are you?"  We have never had this kind of response before from a speaker, and we were proud to have an answer that sprang to our lips that we were pleased to share with them, and we were doubly pleased to be able to ask them the same question back...it was a very "teachable moment."   

Our students may not remember what we coverd in English on Friday, February 15, 2013, but they will remember our speaker.  We are definitely going to share the two key points that were made during the assembly: LOVE is a VERB, and "Know who you are so you can kill who you are NOT"  with our own children.  So, instead of saying, "I LOVE YOU!" next time try saying, "I VERB YOU!" 

Additional Thoughts:
Love is a verb! It’s an action requiring your involvement your active participation. You cannot sit back and expect the world will serve it to you. Nor do you have to like every action of someone who you love or loves you. You cannot expect that your relationship will continue to provide love while you’re not putting in any effort. Love has to be earned and must be continually fought for.  Here is to treating LOVE as a VERB!
Have a restful weekend and let us know...Who are you?  We are a MOTHER, WIFE, and TEACHER!

Happy Reading & Writing
The Things You Can Read!
Believe In Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love, and the Power of Books & Writing!

Don't Forget To Be Awesome!
I am an educator with over 25 years of teaching experience; I currently teach English in the public school system of Virginia. In my spare time I am an avid reader. writer, reviewer, blogger, writing/art journaler, beekeeper, grad student, and MOTHER. - See more: Here

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