Class clown Nick Allen has met his match in Mrs. Granger, his tough fifth grade teacher who worships the dictionary. Nick decides to pull a prank on Mrs. Granger and have his friends start calling pens “frindles.” Nick’s invented word spreads like wildfire across the country, much to Mrs. Granger’s fury. In the end, “frindle” ends up in the dictionary, and Nick learns a powerful lesson about how teachers encourage our creativity and growth.
Below are some reading passages that we have hand picked to supplement this book. Be sure to read the passage summaries and our suggestions for instructional use.
In Shel Silverstein’s poem “Growing Down,” a speaker encourages a grown up in their town to try “growing down.”
Read this poem after chapter 1, “Nick,” to have students think about character motivation. In this chapter, the author introduces the main character by describing the pranks he pulled in third and fourth grade. Have students share what they have learned about Nick Allen so far. Then, have students discuss the theme of the poem “Growing Down.” Ask students to compare Nick’s motivation to what the speaker in the poem is trying to get Grow-Up Brown to understand. Ask, “How are Nick’s actions similar to the suggestions the speaker in the poem has for Grow-Up Brown? What do Nick’s actions and the speaker’s suggestions tell us about the kind of people they are?” Students may describe the importance of being carefree and the joy of just having fun.
In “The Draw-Anything Drawing,” a little girl with a big imagination daydreams about what to draw for a special art display.
Read this short story after chapter 6, “The Big Idea,” to have students think about ideas and creativity. In this chapter, Nick comes up with the word “frindle” and gets his friends to start using it. Have students discuss the line of thinking that led to Nick’s invention. Then, have students discuss how Marigold created her drawing for the library. Ask students to compare and contrast the ways Nick and Marigold generated their ideas. Ask, “How is the process of how Nick invented his word similar to how Marigold decided on what to draw? How is their thinking different?” Students may discuss how ideas can come from anywhere and that it is fun to share your creativity with others.
In Shel Silverstein’s poem “Yesees and Noees,” a speaker describes three different types of people: the “Yesees”, the “Noees”, and the “Thinkforyourselfees”.
Read this poem after chapter 9, “Chess,” to have students think more deeply about character motivation. In this chapter, Mrs. Chatham, the principal, talks to Nick’s parents about the impact “frindle” has had on the school. Have students discuss the similarities and differences among the characters’ various perspectives. Then, have students discuss the theme of the poem “Yesees and Noees.” Ask students to compare the characters in Frindle to the types of people described in the poem. Ask, “Which characters in Frindle would you describe as ‘Nooes?’ Which characters would you describe as ‘Thinkforyourselfees?’ Why?” Students may share examples of different characters’ actions and motivations to explain their thinking.
In Avi’s short story “Teacher Tamer,” a boy decides to get revenge on a teacher that he thinks has been unfair to him.
Read this text after finishing Frindle to have students think about the impact teachers have on their students. Have students discuss the meaning of the letter Nick receives from Mrs. Granger in the last chapter. Then, have students discuss what Gregory overhears Mrs. Wessex say on the phone. Ask students to consider why the teachers in Frindle and “The Teacher Tamer” acted the way they did in public and what their true intentions were. Ask, “Why did Mrs. Granger act like a villain who hated the word ‘frindle?’ How is Mrs. Granger’s reasoning similar to why Mrs. Wessex picks on Gregory in front of the class? What do the teachers’ actions throughout the stories tell us about them?” Students may discuss the various ways teachers support and nurture their students.