Analyzing the Underachiever

Henderson Wently, the main character in my middle grade novel AWESOME SAUCE, is an impulsive, disorganized, underachiever and could care less about being this way. I have come across many like him in my teaching and mentoring experiences. They have a way of popping up in classrooms and families where it seems they are the only ones presenting such challenges.

Keeping with the theme of instant help for reading comprehension, I have attached an organizer for ANALYZING A BOOK for a group of 2-4 students working together. If Hender was given this blank set of questions on this page and asked to complete it by Friday, there would be a celebration and parade if he could even still find it by then.

The key here is choice in learning and putting Hender in with a group of achievers. Give Hender the opportunity to choose which area he will work with (Plot, Characters, Setting, or Writing Style). Each group member is like a piece of a puzzle and success depends on each member doing their part. I would also have attached Hender to another student who is known as his achievement coach.

It is a slow go with the Hender’s of the world, but each tiny success will eventually lead to a bigger whole: Being successful because they themselves want to be.

Good luck and enjoy.

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...writing middle grade novels.
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