Are you looking for a great reading activity to do this Halloween season with your students? The Wolves in the Walls is the perfect scary book/movie combination. The book by Neil Gaiman, author of Coraline, has been made into a 360° VR film. This means students will really enjoy making comparisons between the two.
Begin by locating different versions of the story. If your library doesn’t have a copy of the book, my Google search came up with both printable and YouTube readings. I have included these in the handout.
The handout contains all printables plus a link to the Google Slides version of the book study.
The Wolves in the Walls
The Accelerated Reading Level for The Wolves in the Walls is 3.9 with a Lexile: 500L. Due to the scary content of the book, I recommend using the book with 4th-6th graders. The book is ideal for struggling older readers as its interest level is higher than its reading level.
The Wolves in the Walls is a fantasy picture book. A number of pages in the book are structured like graphic novels making the book appeal to an older audience.
This book is excellent for making predictions. At several points in the book, ask students to look at the illustrations and tell what they predict will happen.
The book can be used to teach perspective as well. Have students tell the story from Lucy’s perspective and then again from the wolves’ perspective.
Vocabulary for The Wolves in the Walls
I selected 7 words from the story that students may not know. In the handout, you will find a vocabulary list with these words including sample sentences from the text, definitions, synonyms, and parts of speech.
I selected the two verbs for additional practice. I feel students will remember vocabulary words much better if you limit their number and provide two or three practice exercises with each instead of more words and less practice for each word.
Here is a sample vocabulary question from the handout:
Read the definitions of brandish. Write a or b to show which definition is used in each sentence.
a)to wave or shake a weapon-like object in a threatening way
b)to display in an aggressive manner
_______ The protesters brandished their signs in a threatening manner.
_______ Sam walked into the room brandishing the new shirt he bought.
_______ She answered all the questions correctly brandishing her intellect.
_______ During the bank robbery, the thief brandished his pistol at the crowd.
The handout also includes both comprehension questions and writing prompts.
Here are two example comprehension questions:
Write S for simile, M for metaphor, A for alliteration, and R for a rhyme in front of each phrase from the story.
_______ hustling noises and bustling noises
_______ creeping, crumpling noises
_______ a howling and a yowling
_______ quieter than any mouse
_______ quick as the flick of the wing of a bat
Using inference skills, tell which type of jam is Mom most likely making?
Explain why you selected this answer.
The handout includes four writing prompts with organizers for students to plan their answers before writing them in paragraph form. The questions include:
List the ten most important events that happened in the story.
To complete a T-chart naming both scary and humorous portions of the film. Explain why the author most likely included humor.
Explain the idiom “Keep the wolf from knocking at the door.” Then explain how this idiom connects with the story.
Students complete a Venn diagram to explain the differences between the book and the animated film.
The Wolves in the Wall Book Study contains both printable and Google Slides. The printable questions and a link to get the Google Slides can be found in the handout.
Discussion Questions for The Wolves in the Walls
Using a pig plays off the story The Three Little Pigs. Wolves are considered enemies of pigs.
Approximately how old are Lucy and her brother? Give proof of your answer.
Lucy is about 8 years old. (Her age is told in the game version of the story.) She still sleeps with a stuffed animal. Her brother is a little older. He goes to school when Lucy stays home. Especially in the animated version of the story, you can see the height differences.
Lucy’s brother wants to live in outer space with foozles and squossucks. What are foozles and squossucks?
These are made-up space creatures. Lucy asks her brother what foozles and squossucks are. Her brother’s reply is they are outer space things.
Define low fantasy or intrusion fantasy. Explain how The Wolves in the Walls belongs to this subgenre of fantasy fiction.
A low fantasy takes place in a normal world with a realistic environment. The story turns into fantasy through events such as when animals or toys take on human-like characteristics.
The story takes place in a real location (the house of a family) not a magical setting.
How is the text used to enhance the story?
- •Speech is a different font.
- •The text is written at different angles and in different sizes. Text is used to “illustrate” the sounds coming from the walls. The text also conveys movements such as traveling up and down stairs and speech.
- •The font becomes bold to emphasize words.
- •The font also changes colors. This may be for easier reading.
- •On page 25, the text is broken up (enjambment)…
Quick as the
of the wing
of a bat,
Lucy slipped into the wall.
If you missed the link above, here it is again.