The Wonder of Wonder by R.J. Palacio!

I just finished up creating a new unit for the novel, Wonder by R. J. Palacio. Of all the curriculum materials I create novel units are my favorite, but creating Wonder By R.J. Palacio Novel Unit Study~ Common Core Standards Aligned! by far has been my all time favorite! It has been a long time since a novel has prompted me think so deeply on so many levels.


Summary of Wonder:
(From the Book Jacket)

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances?



Auggie's struggles are written on his face. You go into the book knowing you are going to read about a kid who's going to have a tough struggle. The surprising thing with this book is that you end up realizing that the other "normal" characters who seem to have it all on the outside, they are beautiful, rich, smart, etc, all have some type of struggle as well. This book really makes you look beyond the cover and delve deeper underneath. It is a wonderful resource to strengthen empathy and learn to not be so quick to judge a "book by its cover" so to speak. This led me to a great after the book writing activity that corresponds with Plato's quote: “Be Kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”



One thing I really love about the unit I was able to create was how the text lent itself to higher order thinking questions. There are very few knowledge level (recall) or even comprehension level questions in the comprehension packet section of the unit. The vast majority are analysis and evaluation level questions because that is just where the text leads you. The book is just so thought provoking!

If you've purchased any of my other novel units you will find this unit set up a little bit differently. This book is written in eight parts so I have expanded the vocabulary activities to cover the eight parts. The comprehension assessments come after Part 1, Part 2, Part 5, and the end of the book instead of waiting until the very end as I do in my other units.

As with my other units this unit is aligned to the Common Core Standards for grades 4-6 and contains the alignment checklists for all of the activities.

I loved how R.J. Palacio subtly adds the character of Daisy the dog as the only soul who does not "see" Auggie's facial abnormalities. Through Daisy's interactions Ms. Palacio shows the unconditional love of animals. This prompted me to add a Reading Informational activity to the unit involving therapy dogs and animal assisted therapy. I know teachers are looking for Common Core aligned resources to help with Reading Informational Text skills so I added this small activity into the unit. I also have offered it as a stand alone free activity, that can be downloaded here:




As you can tell I loved this book. It is one of the best books I have read in a long time and I think it would serve well in any 4-6th grade classroom. However, I do have one minor complaint. In the book Auggie also deals with a hearing loss and there is a chapter that describes his experience in getting fitted for a hearing aid for the first time. I am also hearing impaired and have worn hearing aids for several years. In some ways Ms. Palacio was spot on describing Auggie's feelings about wearing hearing aids around his friends and how he may be perceived. However, Ms. Palacio was very off the mark when she described the experience of getting hearing aids and how they work. This is very understandable as I am sure most people do think that wearing hearing aids is very much like wearing glasses, which is how Ms.Palacio describes the experience. In reality it is nothing like that. After reading this chapter in the book I felt so strongly that I felt the need to add my own supplement to the unit explaining what it is really like to wear hearing aids and have a hearing loss in our modern world. I hope this supplement is helpful to your students. It is also aligned to the CCSS for Reading Informational Text and is offered as a stand alone free item here:


As I mentioned I loved this book! :) It hits on so many issues in the modern classroom and appeals to such a wide audience. It really is a must read!

Please go to my TpT store and download the free preview to see sample pages of all parts of this unit as well as the complete CCSS alignment checklist for grades 4-6 in its entirety. Please email with any questions you may have!

Product Description:
This unit is designed to be used with some student/instructor interaction. It can also be revised to be used as an independent study for the student. It is written for the 4-6th grade reading level.

This unit works great in a one-on-one setting for homeschool or for a teacher to use as a resource in the classroom for a small group or entire class. The unit is designed so that you can start teaching immediately with little to no preparation on your part. Great time saver!
This unit contains:


• Teacher Packet containing:

  • Detailed daily lesson plans
  • Answer keys
• Student Packet containing:
  • Vocabulary activities for 126 words.
  • Comprehension questions for every chapter.
  • In-depth character studies and writing activities for each section of the novel.
  • Two different non-fiction reading articles and accompanying activity guides that compliment the novel.
  • Four In-depth writing and analysis activities to complete after reading the book.
• An Assessment Packet that contains:
  • Vocabulary quiz with both matching and multiple choice questions.
  • Four Comprehension quizzes that include short answer, multiple choice, and essay writing for use after Parts 1, 2, 5, and the end of the book.
• Common Core Standard Alignment Checklists for grades 4-6.

• An After the Book Activity Packet that can be used with any book.

This unit is aligned with the following Common Core Standards:
RL 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5, 4.6, 4.7, 4.10, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 5.5, 5.6, 5.7, 5.10, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 6.5, 6.6, 6.7, 6.10
RI 4.1, 4.2, 4.4, 4.10, 5.1, 5.4, 5.10 6.1, 6.4, 6.10
RF 4.3, 4.4, 5.3, 5.4
W 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5, 4.9, 4.10, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 5.5, 5., 5.10, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 6.5, 6.9, 6.10
SL 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.6, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 5.6, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 6.6,
L 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5, 4.6, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 5.5, 5.6, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 6.5, 6.6


ETA on 8/3/2014: Check out this product and many other wonderful products at the Back to School Linky Bonanza over at Mrs. Beattie's Classroom Blog!

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