Getting ready to start a Holes novel study with your students? This no prep Holes Novel Study Unit is the perfect way to engage students with this great story by Louis Sachar without overwhelming them with endless lists of surface-level comprehension questions.
These activities are easy to differentiate for a whole group novel study, but they are also a great fit for literature circles or book clubs.
If you need a copy of the book, you can purchase Holes on Amazon here. (This link is an affililate link. The book won't cost you any more, but I earn a small commission on your purchase, which I use to maintain this site.)
What's included in this Holes Novel Study Unit?
This novel study guide focuses on both comprehension and vocabulary. It includes five weeks worth of lessons and paper-saving printables including:
- Instructional guide with daily comprehension skill, objective, and key Tier 2 & text-based vocabulary
- Comprehension trifolds (provided in color and black & white)
- Reader's Notebook Comprehension Prompts (matching trifolds)
- Word of the Day Text-based Vocabulary flip books
- Trifold answer keys for easy grading
Comprehension skills addressed in this novel study
These trifolds and notebook prompts were carefully selected to align with the text and comprehension skills that commonly require repeated practice opportunities.
The skills addressed in this Holes novel study include:
- Identifying main idea
- Analyzing characters, relationships, and change across time
- Making inferences
- Drawing conclusions
- Identifying key themes
- Visualizing using sensory or descriptive language
- Vocabulary analysis & context clues
- Cause and effect
- Problem and solution
Each day focuses on a single comprehension skill. This was done to allow you to dive deep into the skill and ensure your students truly understand and can apply their knowledge to the text.
The comprehension prompts were written to encourage deep thinking. Students must apply the skill to generate a written response and defend their answers with text evidence.
This literary analysis fosters a deep understanding of the plot of Holes, but it also builds comprehension strategies that are applicable to other texts.
How do students practice the comprehension skills?
The daily comprehension prompts are provided in two paper-saving formats. The benefits of each format are outlined below.
The trifold format was the original design for this Holes novel study. The foldables were designed to cover a week worth of comprehension using one piece of paper. Students are given a single question each day that focuses their reading on the daily comprehension skill.
The benefit of the trifold format is that it is extremely approachable to students. Each day only takes up a third of the page, and this keeps reluctant writers from shutting down.
This also makes it easy to collect and grade. Many students use the trifold as a bookmark, helping prevent missing papers.
Want to know more? Click here to learn more about the trifold novel study format.
The Reader's Notebook prompts are perfect for students who are advanced and need more space to provide an in depth analysis or
Regardless of the format selected, the prompt is the same so you can easily have some students working on the trifolds while others use the notebook prompts.
What academic vocabulary is included with the Holes novel study?
Each day has at least one Tier 2 word associated with the assigned comprehension skill. This means there are over 50 academic vocabulary words included in the instructional guide.
These include general academic vocabulary and skill specific vocabulary. A sample of the included terms is shown below:
Skill specific vocabulary:
- figurative language
- main idea
Why do you include academic vocabulary?
Tier 2 vocabulary, also known as academic language, is one of the biggest barriers to student success in school. The research on the impact of academic vocabulary is clear, and we must explicitly teach these words to our students.
To make it easy, I outline the key Tier 2 words that go with each skill. This makes it easy for you to incorporate these words into your novel study discussions and to explicitly teach students their meaning if you are working with struggling students or English Language Learners (ELLs).
Teaching text-based vocabulary in Holes
In addition to the Tier 2 vocabulary, each day also includes a text-based vocabulary word that can be found in the day's reading. Some of the words included in this novel study include:
These words can be taught using the flip book format. Designed with conserving copies in mind, this is also designed to use one piece of paper per week.
The Word of the Day Flip Book is designed for use in interactive reading journals. Students cut the flip book out, cut apart the tabs, and glue it into their notebook. They leave the tabs unglued so they can write under them.
Depending on your students, you can have them generate a definition of the day's word or generate a list of synonyms and antonyms. You can even have students draw a picture of the meaning.