Sunday, October 28, 2012

Because of Mr. Terupt

Written by: Rob Buyea
Published by Delacorte Books, 2010
Reading Level: Lexile 980
Independent Read, 6.4
Inspiring, Thoughtful, Awareness, Self-Reliance, Captivating
Because of Mr. Terupt, is one book you will want your student’s to read. The students are the one’s narrating the story and will offer many connections for your students. Mr. Terupt is the new guy in the building, he is now the new fifth grade teacher. But, there is something very special about him. Unlike most teachers the student’s have, Mr. Terupt, takes the time to acknowledge his student’s in a very diverse way. Peter, the trouble maker/class clown, is always up to no good, however, Mr. Terupt doesn’t just yell at him and discipline him. Mr. Terupt talks to Peter in a way where Peter acknowledges himself what he did wrong within seconds of committing the act without Mr. Terupt scolding him. Mr. Terupt is emphasizing personal responsibility among the fifth graders, in particularly seven that are narrating the book. Each chapter is a new month of the school year, within each chapter there is: Jessica-the new girl, Alexia-the mean girl, Luke-the smart one, Danielle-big heart and easily influenced, Anna-the quiet one who tries to be unnoticed, Jeffrey-a quiet boy with secrets of his own, and Peter. Throughout the book, the entire student’s are narrating the book from their own views, giving your students an opportunity to look at situations with different eyes.  However, an accident happens on one snowy winter day and leaves the characters questioning whether or not Mr. Terupt has given the student’s too much responsibility.

Key Vocabulary –

Mr. Terupt introduces to his student’s the Dollar Word Activity. Each letter of the alphabet is worth a certain amount of cents: a=1, b=2, c=3, d=4, etc. Student’s are to think of words and add up what all the letters are worth within the words to produce a dollar word. Luke comes up with the word Buttheads (b=2, u=21, t=20, t=20, h=8, e=5, a=1, d=4, s=19) which is thought of when seeing Alexia and Peter whom are always acting out in class. Use this activity as an extra credit for your students. However, they are not to use any of the dollar words used within the book. In doing this, students will be able to use their verbal/linguistic senses.

Teaching Suggestions –

Before Reading: Because of Mr. Terupt may be difficult for your students to read. An initiation that I saw done for the book at Hebron Elementary School, that I personally loved, was adults of the student’s or within the staff dressed up as the seven characters throughout the book and acted out the chapter of September. In doing this, your students are able to picture exactly who these characters are throughout the book and not confuse one with the other. It certainly helped when I read the book, and will help your students.
During Reading: A written entry in your student’s journals should be done monthly. The first entry can be, ‘Which character do you connect to the most or least and why?’ Encourage your students to use quoted support and explain the connections between themselves and the character.
After Reading: Create a two-column chart in their journal for their final entry for the book with the following headings: ‘Beginning Of School Year’ and ‘End of School Year’ Have your students choose a character from the book, and list examples of the things he/she does, thinks, and says, from the beginning compared to the end of the year.

Electronic Resources –

Learnabout the Author: Rob Buyea, former educator of Connecticut for grades third and fourth, whom now lives in Massachusetts.

“Pay attention to the world around you, stories are everywhere. And if you have a story, you have something to write about.”

Sweeton Books: Site provides what you need to know prior to reading the book, summary, and discussion questions to use with your students.



  1. Amanda,
    After looking through your blog, I found your posts and resources to be very useful! The first thing I noticed is that you included a lot of interdisciplinary connections in your resources. This allows teachers to use your novels and teaching suggestions across the content areas. Also, I found your summaries to be very informative and thorough, which allow readers to quickly and efficiently decide if that novel would work for their class. Lastly, I appreciate that you included page numbers for all of your key vocabulary terms for quick reference! I really enjoy your blog, Amanda!

  2. Amanda,

    I love your blog! You have made it really personal, which makes the activities within it feel more meaningful to me, and therefore more meaningful to students. I liked how you included strategies from your clinical placement to use to support reading. The activity where adults act out the characters within the book is great, and I hope to use it during student teaching next semester. Nice job!