Bridge to Terabithia Novel Study: Free Activities, Ideas, & Inexpensive Resources

Planning a Bridge to Terabithia novel study for your learners? If you’re looking for engaging book study resources for Katherine Patterson’s beloved novel you’ve come to the right place. In this post, I’ll share my favorite pre-reading activities, literature study printables, and some great free post-reading activities to help you wrap up your book unit in a way your students will remember for years to come.

In case you’re on the fence, I’ll also share some helpful information about the book to help you ensure it is the right fit for your readers. By the time you’re done, you’ll have everything you need to implement an amazing Bridge to Terabithia novel study unit your students are sure to love!

Bridge to Terabithia Book Study

Bridge to Terabithia Summary

Nestled in the rural countryside, Bridge to Terabithia tells the story of Jess, a creative and sensitive boy navigating the challenges of family dynamics and school life.

Lonely and searching for solace, Jess finds an unexpected friend in Leslie, a spirited girl new to the neighborhood. Together, they create an imaginary kingdom in the woods called Terabithia, where they reign as king and queen, facing adventures and overcoming fears.

As their bond deepens, Jess learns valuable lessons about courage, imagination, and the transformative power of friendship.

Pre-Reading & Post-Reading Ideas for your Bridge to Terabithia Novel Study

Finding engaging activities before and after your novel study can make a huge difference in student buy-in and their connection to the story. These activities don’t need to be time or material-intensive, but finding ways to give students hands-on opportunities related to the topics of the text can be a great way to get them excited and ready to learn.

Pre-Reading Activities for Bridge to Terabithia

The pre-reading phase of your novel unit is an opportunity to ignite curiosity, spark imaginations, and build anticipation for what lies ahead. It is also a great opportunity to introduce key themes or big ideas that you want students to connect to. Therefore, choosing an engaging pre-reading activity is an important part of getting readers into the book.

Here are 3 engaging activities that promise to captivate your learner’s attention and get students in the right frame of mind for your Bridge to Terabithia novel study.

  1. Imagination Illustration: (5-15 minutes)
    • Briefly introduce the concept of the book: a lonely boy who finds solace in an imaginary world.
    • Ask students to close their eyes and imagine their own secret, magical place.
    • Have them draw their imaginary world for 5 minutes, focusing on details that make it special.
    • Briefly share drawings (optional) and discuss what makes a good imaginary world.
  2. Bridge Building Challenge: (20-30 minutes)
    • Explain that bridges are important symbols and elements in “Bridge to Terabithia.
    • Provide students with materials such as straws, popsicle sticks, tape, and scissors.
    • Challenge them to design and build a bridge that can span a gap (e.g., between two desks or tables) using the provided materials.
    • Emphasize creativity, stability, and the ability of the bridge to support weight (such as a small toy or book).
    • After building their bridges, students can test them to see if they meet the design criteria and discuss their designs with classmates, highlighting their strategies and improvements.
  3. First Impressions (10-15 minutes)
    • Introduce the main characters of “Bridge to Terabithia,” Jess and Leslie, without revealing details about their roles in the story.
    • Provide students with a chart or graphic organizer divided into sections for each character.
    • Ask students to brainstorm and write down character traits they think Jess and Leslie might possess based on their names or initial impressions.
    • Encourage students to use descriptive words and adjectives to describe the characters’ personalities, interests, and possible challenges they may face.
    • Discuss their ideas as a class, comparing and contrasting different perceptions of the characters and how these initial impressions might change as they read the book.
  4. Secret World Diorama (45 minutes – 1+hours):
    • Introduce the concept of an imaginary world like Terabithia where characters can escape and explore.
    • Provide students with shoeboxes or small containers, art supplies (such as construction paper, markers, and craft materials), and figurines or toy animals.
    • Instruct students to create a diorama of their own secret, magical world inside the shoebox. They should include details that make it special, such as forests, rivers, castles, or creatures.
    • Encourage them to think creatively and decorate both the inside and outside of the box to represent their imaginary world.
    • After completing their dioramas, have students present their creations to the class, explaining the features and inspirations behind their imaginary worlds.

These introductory activities are designed to spark curiosity about the themes of friendship, imagination, and overcoming challenges. Since different learners may find interest in different things, or you might have opportunities to make different cross-curricular connections, I’ve tried to share some fun options that are engaging and hands-on for learners. These are all central to Bridge to Terabithia.

Engaging & Thought Provoking Bridge to Terabithia Post-reading Activities

After your novel study, it can be fun to add an activity or two to wrap up the experience for learners. These post-reading activities are designed to extend Bridge to Terabitha beyond the reading experience, allowing students to immerse themselves in the wizarding world through hands-on projects, interactive challenges, and creative endeavors that make connections.

Here are 9 creative post-reading activities you can add to your lesson plans after you wrap up your novel study:

  1. Terabithia Travel Brochure: Have students create a travel brochure for Terabithia, highlighting its key features, attractions, and landmarks. They can include descriptions, illustrations, and imaginative details that showcase the magical and adventurous aspects of this fictional world.
  2. Alternative Ending Rewrite: Challenge students to rewrite the ending of “Bridge to Terabithia” with a different outcome. They can explore how changing key events or decisions in the story would impact the characters’ development and the overall message of the book. Encourage them to reflect on themes of friendship, loss, and resilience.
  3. Character Instagram Profiles: Have students create Instagram profiles for Jess and Leslie, as if they were contemporary teenagers. They can design posts, stories, and captions that reflect the characters’ interests, personalities, and relationships. This activity encourages students to analyze character traits and motivations in a modern context.
  4. Terabithia Podcast Episode: Divide students into small groups and assign each group a theme or aspect of “Bridge to Terabithia” (e.g., friendship, imagination, grief). Ask them to create a podcast episode where they discuss their assigned theme, analyze key scenes from the book, and share their insights and interpretations with their peers.
  5. Terabithia One-Act Play: Encourage students to select and rehearse a scene from “Bridge to Terabithia” to perform as a theatrical adaptation. They can create costumes, props, and a stage setting that captures the essence of the scene. This activity promotes collaboration, creativity, and deeper engagement with character dialogue and emotions.
  6. Terabithia Time Capsule: Have students create a time capsule that represents the essence of “Bridge to Terabithia” and its impact on them. They can include artifacts, symbols, quotes, and personal reflections about what they learned from the book and how it resonates with their own lives. Discuss the significance of preserving memories and lessons learned from literature.
  7. Jess’ Sketchbook: Have students imagine they are Jess and create a sketchbook filled with drawings inspired by Terabithia. They should produce a series of sketches that depict scenes, creatures, or emotions from Jess’s viewpoint. Capture the sense of wonder and escapism he experiences in his imaginary world. Optionally, include sketches of classmates, family members, or bullies, accompanied by captions that reveal Jess’s inner thoughts
  8. Create a Playlist: Friendship is central to this book. Have students create a playlist that mirrors Jess and Leslie’s bond. They should select songs that evoke various emotions experienced by the characters throughout the story and sequence them in the same order as the story progresses. Then write a brief explanation for each song, linking it to moments in the story. Finally, have them design a cover for their playlist.
  9. Terabithian Trading Card Design: Have students create a series of trading cards featuring characters and creatures from “Bridge to Terabithia,” showcasing their traits and roles. They can illustrate characters like Jess and Leslie on the front of the cards, capturing their defining characteristics and moments from the story. On the back, have them provide detailed descriptions that highlight their development and contributions to the narrative. You can also have students Justify their design choices with references to specific scenes or interactions that illustrate the characters’ growth and impact on the story.

    These activities encourage students to engage deeply with Bridge to Terabithia, fostering creativity, critical thinking, and personal reflection as they express their understanding and appreciation of the book through various mediums.

    Bridge to Terabithia Literature Guide

    If you’re looking for reading response activities to guide reading comprehension, I’ve created resources for that. Each of my over 300 novel units comes with an instructional guide to help you quickly and easily plan your daily lessons. In addition, you’ll find the PDF printables to help you cover the key reading comprehension skills and vocabulary associated with the text in a student-friendly format that won’t overwhelm learners.

    Bridge to Terabithia Comprehension Questions

    The Bridge to Terabithia novel study includes everything you need for a two-week (10-day) novel unit designed to focus on a single comprehension skill and text-based vocabulary word each day to maximize student learning. Here’s a taste of what’s included in this novel unit:

    What’s included in this novel study unit?

    Reading comprehension skills and strategies addressed:

    A single daily response focus helps you plan for meaningful instruction and review. Rather than bouncing between 5 different skills at a surface level, you can focus on a single skill at a deeper level to ensure students truly understand and can apply this to their reading.

    Here are some of the daily comprehension focus skills covered in the Bridge to Terabithia book unit:

    • Text analysis and responding to literature
    • Exploring how character development and change occurs through events of the plot
    • Making inferences and drawing conclusions based on text clues
    • Summarizing and identifying the main idea of large and small passages of text
    • Identifying cause and effect relationships
    • Perspective and its impact on the reader
    • Defining new vocabulary through context clues
    • Interpreting theme
    Bridge to Terabithia PDF
    Bridge to Terabithia Novel Study: Free Activities, Ideas, & Inexpensive Resources 8

    Sample of Text-Based Vocabulary Studied through this Novel Unit:

    The instructional guide outlines both academic vocabulary students need to know to respond to the comprehension/discussion question of the day and the daily text-based vocabulary word students will study each day.

    Bridge to Terabithia Vocabulary
    Bridge to Terabithia Novel Study: Free Activities, Ideas, & Inexpensive Resources 9

    Here are just a few of the text-based vocabulary words students learn through this Bridge to Terabithia novel study unit:

    • melodic
    • distribution
    • foundling
    • complacent
    • dropping
    • snicker

    Purchase the Bridge to Terabithia Novel Study

    When you purchase the Bridge to Terabithia Novel Study PDF from Differentiated Teaching, you’ll receive all the following resources in a downloadable format:

    Bridge to Terabithia Novel Study
    Bridge to Terabithia Novel Study: Free Activities, Ideas, & Inexpensive Resources 10
    • Daily comprehension prompts in 3 formats for differentiation
      • Foldable trifold brochures
      • Cut & paste journal prompts for interactive notebooks
      • Daily Google Slides
    • Weekly word of the day flip books for text-based vocabulary
    • Easy-to-follow directions for printing & prep
    • Instructional planning guide
    • Answer keys
    Purchase Wishtree Novel Study PDF on Differentiated Teaching
    Purchase Wishtree Novel Study PDF on Teachers Pay Teachers

    More About the Book

    What is the reading level of this text?

    Since different schools use different leveling programs, here is the information about the book for the most commonly used programs. This can help you decide if a Bridge to Terabithia novel study is right for your readers, or if the book might be better for a read aloud.

    • Grades: 5-7
    • Guided Reading Level: T
    • DRA Level: 40-50
    • Lexile Level: 810L
    • Accelerated Reader: 4.6

    How many pages is the book? Chapters?

    The paperback version of Bridge to Terabithia is 144 pages long. It has 10 total chapters.

    What genre is the text? Any concerning things to be aware of?

    Bridge to Terabithia is categorized primarily as contemporary realistic fiction with elements of adventure and coming-of-age. Set in a rural community, the novel explores themes of friendship, imagination, and personal growth. It delves into the lives of Jess, a young boy grappling with his place in the world, and Leslie, a spirited girl who becomes his close friend.

    While Bridge to Terabithia is a beloved novel for its exploration of friendship, imagination, and personal growth, there are some themes and elements that teachers should be mindful of:

    1. Loss and Grief: The novel deals with themes of loss and grief in a significant way. It portrays how characters cope with sudden and profound loss, which may evoke strong emotions in readers.
    2. Family Dynamics: Jess, the protagonist, navigates complex relationships within his family, including issues of sibling rivalry and parental expectations. These dynamics are integral to Jess’s character development but may resonate differently with students based on their own family experiences.
    3. Realistic Depiction of Emotions: The emotions experienced by the characters, particularly related to loss and coping mechanisms, are realistically portrayed. Teachers should be prepared to guide discussions around these emotional themes and provide support for students who may find them challenging.
    4. Imagination and Escapism: The novel explores the power of imagination as a coping mechanism for the characters, especially through the creation of the fantasy world of Terabithia. While this is a positive aspect of the story, it’s important to discuss with students the balance between imagination and reality.
    5. Understanding and Empathy: Throughout the book, there are opportunities to discuss themes of understanding others’ perspectives and empathy, particularly how characters interact and grow through their friendships.

    By addressing these themes thoughtfully and providing appropriate context and support, teachers can effectively navigate discussions around Bridge to Terabithia in the classroom, fostering empathy, critical thinking, and emotional intelligence among their students.

    Similar Posts