On the first day of summer, 12-year-old Percy Jackson learns that he is a demigod. He joins Camp Half-Blood, where he learns the skills required to travel on a dangerous quest to retrieve Zeus’ stolen lightning bolt.
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 this myth from Ancient Greece, a brave Athenian prince sets out to Crete to take a stand against the monster who has been terrorizing his people for years.
Have students read this myth about the minotaur after Chapter 4 – when Percy battles the minotaur outside Camp Half-Blood. Ask students to discuss the heroes in the two texts. What character traits do Percy and Theseus share? How does Theseus defeat the minotaur? How does this compare to how Percy succeeded in defeating the minotaur? How do Percy and Theseus act as heroes in the two texts?
After a year spent at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizadry, Harry Potter returns to his non-magical family for the summer, where he must endure his family treating him badly because they fear his powers.
Have students read this excerpt from “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” after they finish Chapter 9 – when Percy finds out he is the son of Poseidon. Ask students to discuss Harry and Percy’s loneliness. Why do Harry and Percy feel different from those around them? How is Harry treated by his family? How is Percy treated by the other campers? How do Harry and Percy’s differences lead to feelings of isolation?
In Meredith Engel’s “Chiron: The Wisest Centaur,” Hermes, Messenger of the Gods, interviews Chiron the Centaur about his mentoring of young heroes.
Have students read this text about Chiron the Centaur after they finish Chapter 9, when Percy discusses his quest with Chiron. Ask students to consider Chiron’s role in Percy’s life up until this point in the book. How does Chiron’s identity in the human world compare to his identity at Camp Half-Breed? Using the information provided in “Chiron: The Wisest Centaur,” ask students to consider to what extent the Chiron in The Lightning Thief is based on Greek mythology. How does the information in “Chiron: The Wisest Centaur” influence students’ opinions about Chiron’s future in The Lightning Thief?
In Maude Barrows Dutton’s retelling of the folktale “The Two Travelers,” two men are given the chance to complete a series of difficult tasks to receive a reward.
Introduce this folktale after Chapter 10 of The Lightning Thief, when Percy survives the first obstacle in his quest. In “The Two Travelers,” Ganem decides to complete a series of difficult tasks. What does Ganem hope to achieve by completing the tasks in the folktale? How does this compare to the reasons why Percy is embarking on his own dangerous quest? Are Ganem and Percy's goals worth the challenges they must overcome?
In Michael A. Signal’s “Welcome to the Underworld,” Hermes, the messenger of the gods, takes readers on a tour of the Underworld.
Have students read this text after they've read Chapter 18 of The Lightning Thief, when Percy and his friends have finally entered the Underworld. Ask students to discuss Percy and his friends’ journey through the Underworld. How does this journey compare to Hermes’ tour in “Welcome to the Underworld”? Based on how Hermes describes Hades and his role in the Underworld, ask students to predict how Percy’s interaction with Hades will go when they meet.
In Daniel Beaty’s poem “Knock Knock,” the speaker describes his relationship with his father and how he is impacted by his eventual absence.
Introduce this poem after students finish Chapter 21 – when Percy finally meets his father. Have students discuss the relationship between the fathers and sons in both texts. How has the absence of the speaker’s father in the poem affected his life? How does this compare to how Percy has been affected by Poseidon’s absence? How does Percy’s conversation with Poseidon bring them closer together?
Genesis 37 is an Old-Testament passage that contains the story of Joseph and his dreams. Joseph is an important figure in the Hebrew tradition. In this passage he is the favorite of his father Jacob, and dreams that he was chosen by God to rule over many people, including his brothers. His brothers sell him into slavery and he ends up in Egypt.
Have students read this story after they finish The Lightning Thief. Students will discover that Luke has been a villain all along – ask them to discuss Luke’s betrayal. Why does Luke decide to betray Percy and the other gods? In “Joseph’s Dream,” it is Joseph’s brothers who betray him. Have students discuss the theme of betrayal in both texts. How do students think Percy feels having someone similarly close to him, like Luke, betray him?