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Copyright 2000

Created by Brian Thornton

Click here for more information Capo Creations, Box 1411, Haileybury, Ontario, CANADA. POJ 1KO

Not to be used or copied in any manner without specific written consent of the publisher All Rights Reserved

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Bridge to Terabithia

Katherine Paterson

Student Study Guide


Answer all questions in sentence form

Chapter One--Jesse Oliver Aarons, Jr.

  1. Write a brief biography on the author, Katherine Paterson.
  2. Why is Jess wearing neither shirt nor shoes?
  3. Why has he gotten up early every morning in the summer?
  4. Why does Jess like May Belle?
  5. Who is Miss Bessie?
  6. Why would Jess prefer that May Belle tell their father about how well he runs?
  7. What news does May Belle share with Jess in the bean patch?
Vocabulary: overalls, double bed, worshipped, trot, scrap, soothingly, patch, droopy, grit, shebang, cuds, puny, whined, pricked, primly, deadweight, discarded

Enrichment: Design either a title page for your guide or a book jacket for your novel.


Chapter Two--Leslie Burke

  1. Why is the kitchen like a hellhole?
  2. What does Jess keep under the mattress?
  3. How do we know Jess loves to draw?
  4. How did Jess' father react when his son told him that he wanted to be an artist?
  5. Explain why Jess felt lonely in the house?
  6. What was Jess' first reaction when he met Leslie Burke?
Vocabulary: scalding, nauseatingly, tremble, pudgy, shuddered, muddled, seep, genuine, hippie, endure, suburbs, backwash, pandemonium, allotted, snare, hypocritical, suede, proverbial, huffily

Enrichment: Draw a comic strip showing the conversation between Jess Aarons and Leslie Burke.


Chapter Three--The Fastest Kid in the Fifth Grade

  1. Who is Mr. Turner?
  2. How is Leslie different from the other students?
  3. Why is Mrs. Myers unhappy with her new class?
  4. What did the boys organize outside once they had been dismissed after eating their lunch?
  5. Why were the boys stunned at the results of Jess' heat?
  6. Why is Gary Fulcher reluctant to let Leslie race in the finals?
  7. Why does Jess sit beside May Bell on the bus?
Vocabulary: cutoffs, corduroys, retreated, inheriting, roused, smirked, hoarsely, repulsive, quivered, drought, conspicuous, eliminations, sarcasm, deliberately, conceited, grudgingly

Enrichment: The students were quite concerned with fashion on the first day of school.  Many advocates of school uniforms argue that this problem is eliminated when students wear school uniforms.  Do you agree?  Defend your position.  Have your teacher chose two teams to debate the pros and cons of school uniforms.  Have your class take a vote at the end of the debate.


Chapter Four--Rulers of Terabithia

  1. Why wasn't running fun anymore?
  2. Find proof in the story that Jess really likes Miss Edmunds.
  3. What did Leslie mean by the statement, "Money is not the problem"?
  4. Why was Leslie unable to do the project on Jacques Cousteau?
  5. According to Leslie, what was the only way that someone would be able to get to their magic country?
  6. What did Leslie name their new secret land?
  7. Why did Leslie and Jess avoid one another during school hours?
  8. Have you ever had a secret place where you went with your friends?  Describe it.
Vocabulary: heats, consolation, melodic, consolidated, rumpus, liable, faltered, contempt, ominously, scowl, dittoed, abruptly, intoxicated, enchanted, regally, siege, foes, principle, tyrant, dictator, extinct, shinnying, corset, punctured, strive, sacred

Enrichment: According to Leslie, her parents have moved to the area because they are "reassessing their value structure".  What things in life do you value?  Explain why some of your values may change as you get older.  Can you think of any values you have now that may never change?


Chapter Five--The Giant Killers

  1. Who was the "real" giant in their lives?
  2. What did the council of war discuss at Terabithia that afternoon?
  3. What plan of action to they decide on to pay back Janice Avery?
  4. What was the hardest part of the plan to get Janice Avery?
  5. How does Leslie prevent Mrs. Pierce from discovering Jess in the classroom?
  6. Do you think Leslie and Jess were wise to reveal the truth to May Bell about who wrote the letter to Janice Avery?
Vocabulary: revenge, vigorously, regicide, pacing, parapets, cuss, plunged, crimson

Enrichment: Pretend that you are writing a letter to the author, Katherine Paterson.  What are some of the questions you might like to ask her?  What are some of the things you would like to tell her about the book?


Chapter Six--The Coming of Prince Terrien

  1. What were the girls obsessed with at Jess' house?
  2. What did Jess plan to give Leslie for Christmas initially?
  3. Why did Jess get off the bus before his normal stop?
  4. Why does Jess make sure that he and the puppy enter Terabithia only by the prescribed entrance?
  5. What does Leslie give Jess for Christmas?
  6. Explain the sentence, "That night the glow of the afternoon stayed with him".
  7. Describe the scene at Jess' house on Christmas Day and compare it with the "gift exchange" at Terabithia.
Vocabulary: obsessed, surplus, foundling, grieve, scrawling, stronghold, prescribed, grove, squabbling, splurged, slithering, prancing

Enrichment: Jess is attempting to ignore Brenda while reading a book that Leslie has given him about an assistant pig keeper.  The book that Jess is reading is from the Prydain Chronicles written by Lloyd Alexander.  The series includes: The Book of Three,  The Black Cauldron,  The Castle of Llyr,  Taran Wanderer,  The High King, and The Foundling and other Tales of Prydain.  Locate and read one of the books to see if it reminds you of anything in Bridge to Terabithia.  
Hint:  Who would Taran be in your novel and where might you find Prydain?


Chapter Seven--The Golden Room

  1. What happened when Jess tried to go to Terabithia alone?
  2. Why had Mr. Burke exiled Prince Terrien to the porch?
  3. Compare the relationship between Leslie and her father and Jess and his father.
  4. Why did Jess feel differently when he was at Leslie's house?
  5. Who does Leslie discover crying in the bathroom stall?
  6. Why is she crying?
Vocabulary: reluctant, exiled, dregs, canker, tolerated, mother lode, prospectors, garish, hostile, sire, realm, prey, predator, obliged, alcove, deserting, vile, betrayed, sassy

Enrichment: Pretend that you are a newspaper columnist such as "Dear Abby" or "Ann Landers".  Have a classmate send you a letter describing a problem they are having.  Answer the letter giving them advice on various ways they might resolve their problem.


Chapter Eight--Easter

  1. What was unusual about the weather?
  2. Why did the Aarons family only go to church at Easter?
  3. Why would the girls not be wearing new clothes to church this Easter?
  4. How did Jess' sisters react to the news about their father.
  5. Why does Leslie say she would like to go to church with Jess' family?
  6. According to Jess, what is one of the few books you can be sure to find around his house?
Vocabulary: preacher, complacent, prissy, jumper, flounce, slunk, pew, unison, congregation, sanctuary, vile, sinners, raveled

Enrichment: Write a poem about your story or one of the characters in your story.  Read it to one of your classmates.


Chapter Nine--The Evil Spell

  1. What does Judy mean when she tells Jess and Leslie that she is stuck?
  2. What biblical scene was Jess reminded of when he first caught a glimpse of the flooded creek?
  3. Explain why this chapter is called The Evil Spell?
  4. What does Jess wake up to in the middle of the night?
  5. What is the "flaw" that Jess recognizes in his own character and doesn't like.
  6. According to Jess, what will Leslie still want to do despite the heavy rains?
Vocabulary: earnest, elements, conspiring, mournfully, confine, sodden, dignity, sporadically, vanquished, perceive, discern, plodding, gap

Enrichment: Most people have experienced fear in their lives.  Make a list of ten things that you are afraid of placing the things you fear most at the top of your list.  Compare your fears with those of your classmates.  Discuss the potential of fear to both help you and hinder you.


Chapter Ten--The Perfect Day

  1. What do the initials PT stand for in this chapter?
  2. What does Jess want Leslie to teach him how to do in the summer?
  3. Who telephoned Jess and what did the caller want?
  4. Why did Jess not tell his mother where he was going?
  5. What didn't occur to Jess until the car was past Millsburg.
  6. When does Jess first realize that something is wrong?
  7. Describe the scene in the kitchen upon Jess' return.
Vocabulary: scrawny, idly, udder, anxiety, flank, absorbed, vaulted, liberated, disguised, kinship

Enrichment: Plan a trip to Washington, D.C.  Make sure to include the Smithsonian and National Gallery on your trip.  Find other places of interest that you think your classmates would like to visit.


Chapter Eleven--No!

  1. How did Jess react when he was given the news?
  2. Describe how Jess feels when he wakes up in the middle of the night.
  3. Why does Brenda Aarons express surprise at her brother's behaviour?
  4. Why does Jess' father suggest that they should pay a visit to the neighbours?
  5. Why did May Belle say that she wanted to visit the neighbours with them?
Vocabulary: relentlessly, dread, lopsided, hurtling, dredging, rumpled, accusation, doused, cider, fitting

Enrichment: Pretend that you are going to interview one of the characters from your book.  Make up a list of questions that you would like to ask them.


Chapter Twelve--Stranded!

  1. Describe the scene in the Perkins place when the Aarons arrive.
  2. Why does Jess think that Leslie has failed him?
  3. What is the significance of the phrase, I am now the fastest runner in the fifth grade?
  4. What does Jess realize when Bill mentions that they had decided to have the body cremated?
  5. What does Jess mean when he says that Leslie has left him stranded like an astronaut on the moon?
  6. What question does Jess ask his father about hell?
  7. Why did Bill give P.T. to Jess?
Vocabulary: knocker, snicker, smothering, mushy, cremated, retrieved, bold

Enrichment: Write down what you have learned from this story and then share your ideas in a group.


Chapter Thirteen--Building the Bridge

  1. Why is the glass of milk that Jess pours for himself warm?
  2. Whose cry shatters the quietness of Jess' solemn procession?
  3. Why did Mrs. Myers ask Jesse to step into the hall?
  4. Jess remarks that Leslie took him from the cow pasture to Terabithia and turned him into a king.  What does Jess mean by this statement?  Explain in your own words.
  5. At the end of the story we find that Jess is building a bridge to Terabithia.  Why is this so important and what does it tell the reader about Jess?
Vocabulary: piteously, procession, chaos, obediently, paramedics, solemn, barked, allegiance, fragile, predators, crosspieces, emphasis, planks, gully

Enrichment: There are thirteen chapters in this novel.  Explain briefly the significance of each chapter title.

There are a number of steps involved when grieving a loved one.  The first step is denial, the second is anger and the final step is acceptance allowing the individual to move on with their life yet feeling "richer" for having known that person.  Identify when these steps occurred with Jess.


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Copyright 2000

Created by Brian Thornton, Capo Creations, Box 1411, Haileybury, Ontario, CANADA. POJ 1KO

Not to be used or copied in any manner without specific written consent of the publisher All Rights Reserved