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Lesson Plan

A High-Interest Novel Helps Struggling Readers Confront Bullying in Schools

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A High-Interest Novel Helps Struggling Readers Confront Bullying in Schools

Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Unit
Estimated Time Six 90-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Kathleen Benson Quinn

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


International Literacy Association



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From Theory to Practice



In many of today's schools, bullying and violence are prevalent. After completing this lesson, students will have a more in-depth understanding of these problems. Using a realistic, high-interest novel (The Bully by Paul Langan) and interactive reading strategies, students discuss many issues that surround bullying and consider what they themselves can do to prevent bullying. In a multisession lesson, students read The Bully in stages, discuss the story events and issues related to bullying, and complete graphic organizers to help them organize story information. As students read, they write reflective journals and perform Readers Theatre in groups. Students are continuously asked to put themselves in the characters' shoes and explain how they would respond and react in similar situations.

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Literary Elements Map: Students can use this interactive site to complete four different types of graphic organizersóa character map, a conflict map, a resolution map, and a setting mapóbased on their reading of The Bully.

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Quinn, K.B., Barone, B., Kearns, J., Stackhouse, S. A., & Zimmerman, M.E. (2003). Using a novel unit to help understand and prevent bullying in schools. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 46(7), 582-591.

  • Schools need to be proactive and find ways to address the issue of bullying directly in classrooms.

  • Although overt bullying sometimes declines in high school, there is still a need for bullying prevention since bullying can, and has, led to violent incidents in schools.

  • Young adult novels are good starting points for the discussion and understanding of bullying.


Blasingame, J. (2002). Books for Adolescents. The Bully. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 46(1), 81.

A good synopsis and review of the novel The Bully are provided.

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