Holes By Louis Sachar – Book Review, Teaching Resources, And Ideas

Holes by Louis Sachar is a great book for middle school students. The book teaches kids about the value of making the right choices and the importance of friendship in one’s life.

Plot – Holes

In the story Stanley Yelnats, the protagonist struggles to escape the unfortunate circumstances he finds himself in. Young Stanley has been wrongly convicted of stealing shoes and is sent to a juvenile camp, Camp Green Lake to build “character”. The detention center, Camp Green Lake (Not green at all!), is in the middle of a barren, dried-up desert, and the story of misery starts here. There is no lake – only a hot desert inhabited by yellow-spotted lizards whose venom results in a painful death. Not to mention an intimidating warden who keeps a strict check on all the boys and ensures that they complete the strenuous tasks of digging holes. 

Holes? Yes, all the boys in the detention center dig holes all day long. Not any ordinary holes – five feet wide and five feet deep holes. Stanley believes that the boys learn their lesson as they dig holes in the scorching heat with empty water bottles and little food supply. But it doesn’t take him long to realize that there is more to making the boys dig holes. Search for treasure. 

With every passing day, the job gets easier for the campers. Digging holes does not seem daunting anymore. It is only then that Stanley forms a strong friendship in the unfateful Camp Green Lake with another camper, Zero. That’s when Stanely takes the matters into his hands…

Click HERE to find out more about Stanley and his struggle.

Setting in Holes

The setting of the story is Camp Green Lake in Texas in the late 1990s. The name itself highlights verbal irony in that the Camp is a barren desert and nothing more. Here is a Setting Choice Board Activity for Holes that one can use in the classroom – perfect to build vocabulary, describe the setting and mood.

Themes in Holes

Louis Sachar teaches the theme of friendship, perseverance, compassion, and the impact of fate on one’s life. As we read the story of Stanley’s hardships, we feel empathetic towards him. But as soon as he takes the matters into his hands, things change for him.

Literary Devices in Holes

Louis Sachar makes effective use of symbolism, flashbacks, and irony in the story. The title ‘Holes’ itself is symbolic as it signifies labor and misery. Onions symbolize hope and freedom, Zero is a symbol of friendship and company, and lizards symbolize death. The name of the lake itself is ironic as the lake is not a lake but a plain desert. Also, we see powerful use of verbal irony throughout the story.

Vocabulary in Holes

The vocabulary in Holes by Louis Sachar is pretty simple and easy to understand. Nevertheless, one can use these vocabulary resources, Holes Vocabulary & Flashcards for practice.

Holes By Louis Sachar – Book and Movie Adaptation

Once you watch the movie adaptation of Holes, you’d notice the differences between the story and the movie. These Holes Movie Book Comparison Chart Response Question Cards serve as the best tool to analyze the understanding of the book and the movie.

Holes By Louis Sachar – Teaching Resources & Activities

Here I am sharing some teaching resources and activities for you to try in your classroom. 

  1. Watch the movie after finishing the story and have students use Comparison Charts as or after they watch the movie adaptation of Holes. 
  2. Allow your students to choose their end-of-the-book projects and showcase their understanding in a fun and exciting way. These Holes Project Task Cards won’t disappoint you and your students. 
  3. These setting, vocabulary, and creative writing activities are just perfect to use throughout the unit. These are perfect for printing and distance learning – the Google Slides version is my favorite.
  4. These vocabulary cards can easily be printed and laminated for literacy stations or group activities. You won’t have to instruct your students to make the vocabulary column or write down the definitions again.

Here is a FREE lesson plan for you to teach setting in Holes.

Enjoy teaching this novel and if you do use one of the resources above, do comment below and let me know how it went.

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