Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Schooled

Korman, Gordon (Author)
Scholastic Canada 2008. 238 pages
First published: 2007
ISBN: 9780545993210 (paperback)
9781443124690 (e-book)
Original language: English
Book type: Novel
Book genre: Realistic

Text Elements:

characterization, conflict, dialogue, point of view, setting

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

From the moment he arrives at Claverage Middle School (dubbed ‘C average’ by the students), Capricorn Anderson, an innocent, tie-dyed t-shirt-wearing throwback to the peace-loving ‘60s, is the perfect target. Zach, the school’s popular guy and manipulative bully sets Cap up as eighth grade president, a prime role for emotional torture.

With Cap as the main focus, the narrative voice switches from one character to another in each chapter. The omniscient narrator thus reveals each character’s true nature and makes dry, witty observations about Cap and others. As his social worker says, “Cap is like a space traveler who just landed on Earth and left his guidebook on the homeworld!”

The pace is propelled by crazed action (Cap driving a speeding bus through traffic) balanced with quiet, tender moments (Cap gently burying a dead bird and practising Tai-Chi and meditation). His delightfully quizzical reaction to the everyday, “Because he had never seen TV before, he was a total addict who barked out warnings and advice to the characters on the screen” prompts readers to question what they accept as normal.

Through quick dialogue that rings true to each character, concise, spot-on description (“I must have looked like the Incredible Hulk – sickly green and bursting out of my shirt”) and delightful humour, the book delivers the hopeful message that the undaunted spirit of the ‘60s can exist in today’s cynical world.

  •  

    The opening chapter introduces Cap, a boy who lives on an alternative farm commune. Imagine what his life is like. Predict challenges and surprises he might face when he has to live in a more typical environment. Discuss situations in which you have had to adjust to an unfamiliar setting.

  •  In small reading groups, discuss the various points of view presented by the narrators. Have each person examine a different character, and explain what particular perspective that character offers to readers.
  •  After reading the final chapter, consider other possibilities for Cap’s future life and write an alternate ending.
  •  

    In a small group, discuss how you believe kids who have been homeschooled their entire lives might react when attending a public school for the first time. How will they adapt to the change?

  •  

    As you read, do a thorough character analysis of Capricorn by noting his behaviour, values and words. Does he change as the story progresses?

  •  

    Add an epilogue describing Cap’s return to Claverage High and Rain’s new outlook on life.

  • To adopt effective work methods
  • To construct his/her identity
  • To cooperate with others
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Personal Development
  • Social Sciences