Free Downloadable Discussion Guide and Activity Inspired by Loser
by Alana Pedalino
While reading Loser, we come to understand Zinkoff’s relationships with other characters through moments of conflict. These moments of conflict happen when:
• Zinkoff laughs, whether it’s confusing his classmates, delighting his parents, or upsetting his teachers
• Zinkoff’s genuine sense of empathy cheats an older bully out of the fun of teasing a young Zinkoff on the playground
• Zinkoff’s athletic performance on Field Day causes his team to miss out on winning medals (this is when his classmates begin calling him a “loser”)
The story of Loser is populated with many rich, unique, flawed, and interesting characters—and we get to experience them all as they relate to Zinkoff. As you read Loser with your class, you can encourage your students to practice reading comprehension and dig into these complicated character dynamics:
• Through character analysis—especially by taking traits into account.
• By exploring perspectives—what kind of relationship does each character have with Zinkoff? Why are some positive and some negative?
• By learning about different types of conflict through classroom discussion.
• By engaging students in social-emotional lessons and activities—especially about empathy!
Download our free discussion guide inspired by fifth grade teacher Angela Reina, who hosted Book Talks this week. It offers critical-thinking questions and ideas on how you can thoughtfully engage students at the end of each chapter of Loser.
Then download this free printable creative writing activity. Also inspired by Angela, it asks students to team up to write email correspondences between Zinkoff and another character from the story.
Encourage students to think through questions such as: What would the characters ask each other? What information would they share? How would the characters address and approach one another?
This activity can also be done in person as well as virtually! If students are virtual, have them correspond through a student-friendly messaging or document platform.
This email correspondence activity is a great way to help students practice:
• Creative writing
• Understanding and writing from different perspectives
• Teamwork and collaboration
When your students complete this activity—and if you’re able—tag us on Facebook and Instagram and use the hashtag #ScholasticBookClubs. We’d love to feature their correspondences in a repost!