Where the Wild Things Are Reading Guide—Activity

A Reading Guide for Parents and Teachers of Kids Ages 3–6

where the wild things are reading guide

Ages 3-6

Where the Wild Things Are is a classic American book whose story of a frustrated, imaginative boy can help young children recognize and understand their own difficult feelings and how they can feel better. This reading guide, which aligns with the Second Step curriculum, can be used with children ages 3–6 by parents or teachers.

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The Story

The story is about a boy named Max. Max is angry after being sent to his room for making mischief. The story can help you to discuss strong feelings and ways to calm down with your child. Max manages his strong feelings by going on a journey in his imagination. This models one way to calm down—thinking about something else. The story can also help you discuss changing feelings and coping with loneliness.

Reading 1: Talking About Social-Emotional Skills

Ask at least six of these questions as you read with your child. Stop on the page indicated, and after you have asked the question(s) give your child lots of time to think about the answer and tell you what he or she is thinking. Questions that are grouped together in a paragraph should be asked together.

Cover:
(Hold up the book and show the cover.)
Look at the front cover of the book.
What do you see?
What do you think?
What do you wonder?

Page 5:
Why does Max say “I’ll eat you up!”?
How do you think Max might feel?
What could Max do to calm down?

Page 10:
How do you think Max might feel now? His feelings have changed.
Why do you think his feelings changed?

Page 16:
What is Max imagining in this picture?
Do you ever imagine things to help you feel better when you are angry or sad?

Page 26:
Max is having fun with his friends. What do you do with your friends to have fun?

Page 32:
The wild things don’t want Max to leave. Have you ever had a hard time saying goodbye to a friend? Tell us about it.

After the reading, show your child page 6:
Max is very angry here.

Then show page 36:
Max is calm here.
How did Max calm down?
How do you like to calm down?

Reading 2: Your Child as Storyteller

Look through the book and choose some pages with important events to have your child talk about. For younger children, choose three or four pages. For older children, choose between six and nine pages. Use the following questions to encourage your child to talk about the story.

  • What happens next?
  • Has this ever happened to you?
  • What is happening on this page?
  • How does (fill in with character’s name) feel? Why?
  • When have you felt this way?
  • What do you remember about this page?
  • Why did (fill in with a detail from the story)?
  • What is (fill in with character’s name) doing?
  • What would you tell (fill in with character’s name)?
  • What does this story remind you of? What happens next?
  • Has this ever happened to you?
  • What is happening on this page?
  • How does (fill in with character’s name) feel? Why?
  • When have you felt this way?
  • What do you remember about this page?
  • Why did (fill in with a detail from the story)?
  • What is (fill in with character’s name) doing?
  • What would you tell (fill in with character’s name)?
  • What does this story remind you of?

 

Like this activity?

We’re adding more K-8 classroom activities to our Free Activities page all the time. They’re easy to find—just visit cfchildren.org/resources/free-activities/ for grade-specific, K-8 classroom activities that align with our Second Step Suite.


Learn more about social-emotional learning, research on the topic, and how it benefits students in the classroom, at home, and in their daily lives.