CRASH, by Jerry Spinelli, introduces several interesting themes that suggest interesting topics for writing prompts. Here are some ideas for questions that students could write reading responses about after reading CRASH. For any of the questions, students might be directed to be sure to use evidence from the story, along with their own background knowledge and ideas, to support their answers.
Why do you think Crash bullies other kids?
Why do you think Crash stops bullying Penn?
How do you think Crash and Penn eventually became friends?
Why do you think some people who don’t seem to have much in common sometimes become good friends?
What are the pros and cons of having sports teams in middle schools?
What qualities make a good athlete?
In CRASH’s middle school, there were popular athletes like Crash and Mike, popular cheerleaders like Jane, “dweeby” kids like Penn, and kids interested in the environment like Abby, Jane, and Penn. Does your school have these same groups of kids? Does it have other groups as well? Describe some of the groups of kids in your school and compare them to the kids in Crash’s school.
Crash and Mike were given a second chance after their misbehavior, possibly because they were popular athletes. Do you think it was a good idea for the vice-principal to let them off so easy? Explain the reasons for your answer.
Do you think protests like the one staged by Abby and her friends against the mall are effective? Why or why not?
Scooter was an important influence in Crash’s life. Write about a grandparent (or another relative or family friend) who has influenced your own life. How is your situation like Crash’s situation with Scooter? How is it different?
If you are interested in other resources for the novel CRASH, you might like my CRASH novel study with activities for before, during,and after reading or this game of I Have . . .Who Has. .? for a quick review after reading the novel.
The novel study includes sixteen pages of chapter questions, a background activity to use before reading, two characterization activities, two context clues activities, and two inferencing activities. All of the questions and activities are written specifically for this novel.
The game consists of 28 question cards, plus 4 blank cards, so that you can write in your own questions if you wish. The cards are arranged 4 to a page, and directions and an answer key are included.
CRASH is a fun story to read, and if your kids aren’t already reading and enjoying it, I hope they will be soon!
Linked with these websites, where you will find lots more great ideas for teaching reading: