Activities to Use with the Book Rules by Cynthia Lord

Teaching Ideas for the Book Rules by Cynthia Lord

In the book Rules by Cynthia Lord, twelve-year-old Catherine must spend the summer without her best friend who goes to California for the summer. A new girl moves in next door. Catherine hopes her autistic brother does not keep her from making friends.

Ideas for the Book Rules by Cynthia Lord

 Using a Communication Board

I created this communication board to use with the novel Out of My Mind; however, it is a great activity to use with the book Rules as well. Jason uses an album of cards to communicate. In the story, Catherine is frustrated by this limited means of communication, so she makes Jason additional words. 

Free Communication Board Activity - Have students try to communicate using a communication board only to see how Jason feels in the book Rules by Cynthia Lord.


  1. One student will randomly draw a request slip from the stack.
  2. The student will read the strip without showing his/her partner
  3. The student will then try to make the request using only the “Communication Board” with no verbal instructions.


  • Which questions were the most difficult?
  • How did you feel when you couldn’t make your partner understand your request?
  • What words do you think should be added?
  • How would you draw words like gross, beautiful, or frustrated?

Download the “Communication Board” and request strips here.

Teaching Ideas on the Web

Children’s Books with Characters who have Special Needs

  • Wonder by R.J. Palacio
  • Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper
  • Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick
  • Al Capone Does my Shirts by Gennifer Chodenko
  • The Cay by Theodore Taylor
  • Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr
  • Thank you, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco
  • El Deafo by Cece Bell
  • Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin
  • Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
  • The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker

Rules Book Unit

Free Samples from Rules by Cynthia Lord Book Unit

If you would like to try out the Rules Book Unit before you buy it, this download contains free samples including:

  • Vocabulary Practice for Chapters 1-2
  • Comprehension Questions for Chapters 1-2
  • Constructed Response Question – Character Traits – Catherine
  • Photos to Show What the Rest of the Unit Looks Like

Teaching Ideas to use withe the Book Rules by Cynthia Lord

Rules Book Unit contains graphic organizers for an interactive notebook and game activities covering vocabulary, comprehension, constructed response writing, and skill practice.

Gay Miller

Permanent link to this article: