In this classic novel, precocious young Matilda is neglected by her parents but finds a friend in her teacher Ms. Honey. Matilda discovers her power of telekinesis and uses it to scare the tyrannical headmistress and help Ms. Honey.
Below are some reading passages that we have hand picked to supplement this book. Be sure to read the passage summaries and our suggestions for instructional use.
In the folktale “The Clever Rabbit,” a rabbit outsmarts a hungry tiger to avoid becoming its next meal.
Read this text after “The Platinum Blond Man” chapter to have students analyze character traits. At this point in the novel, Matilda has played a number of pranks on her cruel father. Have students discuss Matilda’s actions in the story so far. Then, have students discuss the rabbit’s actions in “The Clever Rabbit.” Have students compare the main characters’ traits. Ask, “How is Matilda similar to the rabbit in ‘The Clever Rabbit?’ What do their traits tell us about the characters?” Students may give examples of the characters’ wit and intelligence in the face of cruelty and danger.
In “Little Yin and the Moon,” a little girl works to repair nature in order to help her family.
Read this text after “The Parents” chapter to have students build on their thinking about character traits. At this point in the novel, Ms. Honey has tried talking to Ms. Trunchbull and the Wormwoods about Matilda’s incredible intelligence. Have students discuss Ms. Honey’s actions in the story so far. Then, have students discuss Little Yin’s actions in “Little Yin and the Moon.” Have students compare Ms. Honey’s and Little Yin’s characteristics and what they are able, or unable, to accomplish. Ask, “How are Ms. Honey and Little Yin similar? What obstacles do they face and how do they try to overcome them?” Students may give examples of the characters’ determination and give evidence to show that Ms. Honey, unlike Little Yin, has not yet been successful in overcoming the obstacles she faces.
In Julie Tozier’s “Strong for Skeena,” a boy must be strong for his sled dog after she is seriously injured.
Read this text after “The Third Miracle” chapter to lead a conversation about inner strength and helping others. In this chapter, Matilda uses her power of telekinesis to scare Ms. Trunchbull and help Ms. Honey. Have students discuss Matilda’s actions in this chapter. Then, have students discuss Matt’s actions in “Strong for Skeena.” Have students compare Matilda and Matt’s determination. Ask, “Why is Matilda determined to help Ms. Honey? How is Matilda’s thinking similar to Matt’s in ‘Strong for Skeena?’ How do Matilda’s and Matt’s actions in the texts demonstrate their inner strength?” Students may draw on themes of courage and the difference between physical and inner strength.
In Jacqueline Adams’ “Aly’s Discovery,” a young girl finds friendship in someone unexpected
Read this text after finishing Matilda to have students analyze the importance of friendship in both texts. Have students discuss how Matilda and Miss Honey’s friendship developed over the course of the novel. Then, have students discuss how the friendship between Aly and Miss Strawbridge developed in “Aly’s Discovery.” Ask students to analyze the significance of the friendships in both texts. Ask, “Why was Matilda’s relationship with Ms. Honey important to both characters? How is the development of Matilda and Ms. Honey’s friendship similar to the friendship between Aly and Ms. Strawbridge in ‘Aly’s Discovery?’” Students may draw on the importance of kind, caring relationships.