"The Giver"- A Novel Study

Here are some resources and lesson ideas to incorporate into a literature study of the novel "The Giver" by Lois Lowry.

By Dawn Dodson


The Giver Novel Lessons

Lois Lowry’s novel "The Giver" is an enthralling story of a young boy faced with accepting the truth about the utopian society in which he lives. It involves issues such as euthanasia, climate control, genetic engineering, and the exclusion of individual rights and freedoms in order to gain perfection. It’s no surprise that this novel makes for a great read, discussion, and study for middle and high school students. There are numerous activities and project ideas available to complement “The Giver” which focus on a variety of reading and maturity levels.

As I prepare to begin a novel study in my classroom focusing on "The Giver," I always search online for new ideas to include in my instruction. There is an abundance of information about the author, reviews of the book, and other lesson ideas available. An online resource I continue to use is Gay Miller’s Book Unit website. Not only can you find online and printable review questions, but she also has included related online games and activities for most chapters. Additionally, there is a list of related website links to other instructional resources. The online questions provide a quick review of what was read before moving on in the book, and students enjoy the online format of the questions. Units of study for other novels can be found on this website. 

Another online activity students enjoy can be found on the Glogster website. Glogster is an online, animated, interactive poster design site. A poster for "The Giver" is already available for student viewing. Students can click on a picture of the author Lois Lowry, listen to an interview, and can access other terrific information about the book and links related to the novel. There is also an activity which allows students to create a poster depicting their own utopia. I incorporate this activity into my wrap-up lesson when students have finished the novel. Glogster has interactive posters for all content areas and numerous concepts. It’s a great resource to use to motivate students in utilizing skills and concepts learned!

In addition to traditional reading comprehension assessments, I also like students to complete two additional projects synthesizing what they have learned over the course of the novel study. The first project is writing the next chapter of "The Giver." Students answer the question, “What happened to Jonas and Gabriel?” then create Jonas’s next setting and explain what happened to the community and the Giver after Jonas left. The stories are powerful. I ask students to incorporate their thoughts, feelings, and opinions of Jonas’s choice into their story. The second project coincides with students creating their utopian posters. Before I started to use the website Glogster, students would illustrate their individual utopias and then create a constitution, a document detailing the fundamental laws of their utopia. Now that we use Glogster, posters are created online, and a separate essay discusses the constitution portion. Students are also required to complete a presentation in which they highlight their utopia and share their poster.     

In short, there is an abundance of resource and lesson ideas for the novel "The Giver." Being able to share a quality literary experience with students (as well as experiment with some new lessons and activities), can create a valuable experience for both teacher and student alike. Best wishes! Below, you will find some further lesson plan ideas for "The Giver."

"The Giver" Lesson Plans:

The Giver

Students complete six activities that help them to further analyze the characters and plot of the story. Students identify unfamiliar vocabulary words throughout the book as well.

Community Map of “The Giver”

Students create a map of the community depicted in the novel that includes distinguishing features of both physical and human features. The map is also used as a summary of the novel.

"The Giver": A Travel Brochure

Utilizing facts from the novel, students create a travel brochure to persuade people to visit the community.

What’s the Story?

Students work in groups to write stories that explain what happened to Jonas and Gabriel in Elsewhere. Students share their completed stories with the class.   

Language Arts Guide

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Dawn Dodson