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Using WOW!
with your class or group

OPTIONS for Group Reading

Why read WOW! in a group? To participate with others in discovering who DeVon and Victor really are—to make friends with them in the same way we make friends with the strangers we meet. To create in readers a sense of belonging to a generation who will be working together to make the future "come out better." The stickers/buttons can become a way to identify other members of this group.

   •Read alternating chapters aloud and talk about the expectations and misunderstandings as they occur. See below for questions and activities.

   •Read DeVon's Story aloud through to their escape from the Black Dots' school and discuss some of the questions below before reading Victor's to the same point. See how perceptions of both boys change. Read to end of DeVon's Story and discuss some of the same questions below before reading Victor's. Whether you plan to have your group write the last chapter as individuals or talk about it as a group, this would be an opportunity to share ideas about what will happen next? (See below for some suggestions about viewpoints and possible scenarios to consider.)

   •Assign DeVon's Story to half of the group, and Victor's to the other half. Read through the fight on Lookout Rock and let each half explain its character's real inner self to the other. Keep track of the misunderstandings, the different viewpoints and ways of seeing things, and the amazing number of things the two boys have in common. Then read through their escape from the Black Dot City. And finally to the end of each story.

Good questions for appropriate moments in both stories (some can be asked again and again as perceptions change)
   1. How would you describe each boy's strengths and weaknesses? In what ways are they alike? In what ways different? (Notice that Victor's narrative is usually longer and more given to considering the why's and what ifs than DeVon's. D is inclined to act first and deal with the consequences later)
   2. What are some things each boy hates about the other? Does this change over time?
   3. How does each boy characterize himself? Does this change over time?
   4. How does each feel about Bruner/Brumleve Park? Center Point? Cassie? Miss Osborn? People in general? About dividing the City between Flatlanders and Hillsiders? About living for the rest of their lives in the hills? About what they will do if the other never comes back? About the future they've discovered? About the future they want?
   5. How does each boy describe the strange landscape they find themselves in, and what is each one's reaction to their predicament?
   6. What nicknames do they use for each other? When do the names begin to change, and what does this tell us? In what ways are names important to DeVon? Does anyone else feel this way? What are some things that only one boy knows the names of? Why is this?
   7. Why is Cassie so necessary to the story? How does she contribute to the outcome of their adventure? What might have happened if she had not been there?
   8. What verbs and adjectives would you use to describe DeVon, Victor, and Cassie?
   9. Activity: draw maps of the world V, D, and C actually live in, and of the world of the future with the circle cities and the fallen Center Point. Draw your own idea of the hairy monsters, remembering that the picture on the book's cover is just one artist's idea. Draw a picture of a future you would not want to live in, and of one you would.


Suggestions for writing about "What Happens Next?"

Written endings could be as short as one page (250 words) or as long as six pages (1500 words). They could be prose or poetry, and written from DeVon’s, Victor’s or Cassie’s point of view, or from an omniscient viewpoint. They could describe the reunion at camp, or what happens when D, V, or C try to tell Miss Osborn or their parents, or what happens when they are in school together in the fall, or even what happens when they grow up. Or perhaps what happens when the writer meets D, V, or C. What kind of world are they living in by then, and what are they doing to “make it better?”

Have fun with this. It could be very interesting....