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by Louis Sachar
Icons key:
For more detailed instructions, see the Getting Started presentation Teachers notes included in the Notes Page Accompanying worksheet
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Flash activity. These activities are not editable. Extension activities

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Web addresses

The cover

What are your first impressions of the novel?

Does the front cover attract you and make you want to read the book or does it put you off? Why?

Without reading any of the novel, or even the blurb, try to guess what the story is, using only the title and book cover to help you.

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Part One

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The setting
Read the first chapter of the novel.

Sachar gives his novel a very harsh setting.

How has he managed to do this?

Make a list of all the words or phrases which make Camp Green Lake sound hostile. The word hostile How does Sachar create a means unfriendly sense of tension? or unwelcoming
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Read Chapters 1 and 2 thoroughly before answering the questions below.
1. Why are openings important in stories? 2. Has Sachar managed to create an engaging opening to Holes?

3. Now that you know a little more about the setting, can you guess what the main themes of this novel will be?
4. What questions are raised in these chapters which you are interested in finding the answers to?
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Stanley Yelnats true or false?

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Camp Green Lake

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Whats in a name?

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Character profiles
What do you think the characters look like?
Draw a picture of two characters from the book and label them to show why you have decided to draw them in the way you have. Here is an example to help you think about it. Stanley

Sunburned due to working in the heat all day Friendly face to show he is kind
tired eyes

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The sub-plot
A sub-plot is the part of a story which is told alongside the main plot, but is different from it in some way. Often the significance of a sub-plot is not revealed until the end of a story. In Holes, there is a sub-plot which runs parallel to the main plot set at Camp Green Lake. What is the sub-plot of Holes? Who are the main characters of this sub-plot and how are they related to the main storyline? Write down your ideas.

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Stanleys pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather!

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Stanleys diary
Read Chapters 79, which describe Stanleys first full day at the camp. Can you explain Stanleys letter to his mother? Why does he lie to her? Imagine that as well as writing home to his mother, Stanley also keeps a diary in which he is completely truthful about his life at the camp. How would it differ to his letters home? Write an honest diary entry for Stanleys first full day at Camp Green Lake.
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Read Chapters 10 and 11 and then complete the questions below, using full sentences and giving reasons for your answers wherever possible.

Chapter 10 1. How can you tell that Stanley is tired? 2. Why does Stanley show the fossil to Mr Pendanski? 3. How can you tell that Mr Pendanski is not interested in the fossil?
Chapter 11 4. Why does Stanley agree to give anything he finds in the future to X-Ray? 5. What prompts Stanley to think of Derrick Dunne? How does he feel about Derrick Dunne?
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Can you guess why this object might be more interesting to the Warden than the fossil which Stanley also found? What do you think the tube is?

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The Warden
In Chapter 14, we meet the Warden. Read the description of the Warden from A tall woman until Her voice was soft.
This description does not say the warden is a bad person. However, how has Sachar hinted at a darker, or more sinister side to her?

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Complete the Wardens identity badge:

Name: Age: Occupation:

______________ ______ ______________ ______________ ______________________________ ______________________________ ______________________________ ______________________________ ______________________________ ______________________________
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Duties and responsibilities:

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Reading and writing

In Chapter 18, Zero asks Stanley to teach him to read but Stanley refuses. Stanley seems to be quite kind, so why doesnt he want to help Zero?

What kinds of things do people who cannot read or write miss out on? Why is it important to learn how to do these things?

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Kissin Kate Barlow

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Sam and Kates relationship

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Kissin Kate Barlow comprehension 1. The love story between Katherine and Sam is important in the novel. Can you guess why?

2. When do Sam and Katherine fall in love and how do they manage to see each other regularly?
3. Why do the people of Green Lake disapprove of the relationship between Sam and Kate? 4. What do they do as a consequence of their hate? 5. Who is the main instigator of the trouble?

6. Can you work out why Camp Green Lake becomes dry and barren?

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Part Two

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Read the first page of Part 2 until a barren wasteland. 1. What atmosphere is created by Sachar at the start of Part 2? 2. How can you tell that something important is about to happen? What do you think it is?

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Zero, Zigzag and X-Ray

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Conflict comprehension
In Chapter 30, Stanley and Zigzag fight. 1. How does the argument start between Stanley and Zigzag? 2. Why does Mr Pendanski encourage the fight? 3. How can you tell that Zero and Stanley have developed a bond? 4. How does the Warden try to humiliate Zero? 5. Why do you think Zero runs away? 6. Why do none of the adults try to stop Zero from escaping?
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Stanleys diary
When Zero runs away, Stanley is left alone and another boy, Twitch, arrives in Zeros place. Finally, Stanley decides to leave too. Imagine that you are Stanley. Write a diary entry in which you are completely truthful about what has happened at camp and why you decided to run away. Think especially about how Stanley would feel about the Wardens attitude to Zeros disappearance. Remember to mention any fears he might have as well.
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A food company has decided to produce bottles of Sploosh! Imagine that you are part of the marketing team.

Your task is to design the label for the bottle of Sploosh to encourage shoppers to buy it. Think carefully about the words and pictures on the label.
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Im an English studentGet me out of here!

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Treasure maps
Draw a detailed treasure map of Camp Green Lake and the surrounding area.

Once you have done this, write down an important thing that happens at each location.
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Test your knowledge

1. What was the curse on Stanleys family?

2. Why were Stanley Yelnatss family cursed in the first place?

3. How was the curse lifted?

4. How did the Warden know there was treasure buried at Camp Green Lake?
5. Why was Stanleys name written on the buried treasure?

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Test your understanding

1. How can you tell that Stanley and Zero are friends?
2. In what ways do the Warden and Mr Sir reveal themselves as villains in Part Two? 3. In what ways do Stanley and Zero undergo a change in their lives once they have left Camp Green Lake?
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Holes evaluation
What kinds of qualities make a character a hero or heroine? Make a list. Which of these qualities does Stanley possess? Write a short article entitled:

You may, if you wish, write it as a newspaper report.

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