Out of My Mind


Out of My Mind

Sharon Draper

©2010 Sharon Draper

Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Lexile 700 L

Melody is 11 years old, and is very bright.  She even may be the smartest kid in the whole school! Unfortunately, nobody knows this because she can’t communicate her intelligence, because she can’t speak. In fact, nobody even believes that Melody can learn.  When Melody discovers something that can help her prove that she is indeed very smart, will it work?  How will everyone in her life respond after having no clue for the past 11 years? Read on to find out!


Analyze multiple accounts of the same event or topic, noting important similarities and differences in the point of view they represent.

Suggested Delivery: Read Aloud grade 5


Students should watch the video found here prior to reading in order to begin thinking about what it might feel like to be held back from communicating your ideas.

The author’s website found here includes an interview of the author about why she wrote the book, as well as many other resources which support the teaching/learning of the ideas within this book.

Teaching Suggestions:

  • Vocabulary is an essential part to reading. A great activity to couple with this novel would be to have students fill out the worksheet seen here using new vocabulary words like the following:
    • Delicate- Easily broken
    • Verbalize- Express in speech
    • Screech- To make a high pitched sound
    • Sedative- A drug that calms someone who is too hyper/ excited down
    • Spectators- A person who watches a show or event
    • Cerebral– Relating to the brain
  • Comprehension is the goal in reading.  It is important to focus on comprehension before, during, and after reading a story.  The following activities can be done throughout the journey a student takes reading this book in order to support the level of comprehension reached:
    • Before reading the story, a great activity for students to develop schema/ start thinking about the ideas seen in this story would be to have them watch the youtube video seen above, then perform a similar task.  Giving students each one sentence which they must communicate non-verbally in front of the class would be a great way to show the students how the characters would feel prior to reading so that when they read this in the novel, they understand what it might feel like.
    • During reading, an activity which will support the comprehension of the students would be to have the students pause and reflect upon their thoughts up until that point in the reading.  Having students write 2 predictions and 2 questions would be a great way to stimulate an all-class discussion before finishing the novel.
    • After reading, having students explore the author’s website and write a paragraph summary about what they learned after browsing it (including reading the interview where the author explained why she wrote the book they way she did) would be a great way to conclude the story.
  • A conclusive writing activity is a great way to wrap up this novel.  Having students respond to the following question in a short essay would be a great way to finish the reading of this story.  “What is the power of words capable of?”

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