J. R. R. Tolkien's novel, The Hobbit, has enchanted readers for many years. Filled with fantastic creatures and a Hobbit who is certainly not interested in adventures, there's a reason this tale is a fantasy classic. January is the perfect time to learn about Tolkien - he celebrates his birthday on January 3rd (1892). Learn about his life, read The Hobbit, and work on some fun activities with your kids this month. And don't forget to grab your free discussion questions and copywork & dictation passages!
Tolkien and The Hobbit
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J.R.R. Tolkien first wrote The Hobbit for his own children with no intentions of publication but was encouraged to publish it and the novel became an instant sensation. It is still a well-loved novel for many people and it's the perfect book to study in the middle grades (especially for kids who love fantasy novels).
Filled with rich vocabulary, vivid characters, and a battle between good and evil, exploring The Hobbit with your middle-grade kids is a must-do. Don't forget to watch the movies!
Learning Resources & Activities
This list of resources and activity ideas will help you create a personalized unit study for your middle school students. Read the book together, discuss the story, work on some vocabulary, include a few writing assignments and you are well on your way to a great literature study. You'll find plenty of things to keep you busy in the list below
- The Tolkien Professor - podcasts from Corey Olsen, author of Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit.
- The Tolkien Society - explore Studying Tolkien and Teaching Tolkien for some great learning activities.
- Boomerang from Brave Writer - a great resource for discussing the book with your students.
- The Hobbit at Novelinks - good selection of teaching ideas.
- The Hobbit Vocabulary list - add some vocabulary study while reading the novel.
- The Hobbit Comprehension Guide - from Veritas Press - comprehension questions for each chapter (plus some fun activity ideas).
- The Hobbit - Discovering Literature series - from Garlic Press - a good resource with lots of information.
- Random House Teacher's Guide (PDF) - free PDF with discussion questions, vocabulary, and writing ideas.
- The Hobbit - learn more about the recent movies with interactive content.
- Lesson plan ideas that correlate to the movies.
- Progeny Press Study Guide - the study guides from Progeny Press are always a good choice for lit study.
Creating your own literature study
It doesn’t have to be a difficult or involved process to create your own literature study – especially for middle school kids. Keeping it simple is a good thing for this age group.
- Start by reading the book yourself - if possible, get an annotated edition (as your 'teacher's guide). The extra notes and information can be very useful.
- Make a list of discussion questions - using your annotated edition or a study guide (see the resources above) make a list of questions to discuss as you read the book with your students.
- Read and discuss the book with your students - this is where you'll spend most of your time - reading and discussing the book together.
- Writing assignments - while reading the novel, assign a few essays or writing assignments using some of the discussion questions or other ideas, depending on the student's writing ability. Copywork and dictation are always a good idea too.
- Read books that inspired Tolkien - he was inspired by Norse mythology and George MacDonald - both great sources for further reading.
- Include a few extras - add some vocabulary study or have your child create a diorama... brainstorm some fun activity ideas with your kids.
- If you want to turn it into a full-blown unit study consider studying World War I and other events that shaped Tolkien's life or do an in-depth study of the books that inspired him. Include more books and resources:
Celebrate more January Birthdays: