Bridge to Terabithia

by Katherine Paterson


A. Martello

St. Francis School




Bullying: Struggling to Fit In



Have you ever wanted to escape? Did you ever feel like you didn’t fit in somewhere? Do you think it would be fascinating to be the King or Queen of your own kingdom?  As you explore this novel, written by Katherine Paterson, you will be taken o n a voyage across the water and into a mythical kingdom called Terabithia, shared by two unlikely best friends who face many hurdles but work hard to overcome. These two characters are victims of bullying but develop a friendship and a place to help them escape negative people in their lives.


Step1: Define the social problem from the story that Jess and Leslie face. Use the link below to access the worksheet you will fill out to define the problem.

Define the Problem




Your task is to learn about the author of this novel, Katherine Paterson as well as to learn about Jess and Leslie in their imaginary land of Terabithia.  This WebQuest will help you understand the novel better as well as form an opinion about how you feel reading this book. You will explore why Jess and Leslie’s relationship is so important in their journey through life to fit in and rebel against bullying.


Step 2: Gather Evidence from the book first before you research about the author. Use the worksheet below (click on the link) to help track the evidence that shows Jess and Leslie faced bullying. When you have completed the worksheet, then use the questions and links below to find out more information about the author of the book and why she wrote a book about two children facing the challenges of bullying.

Gathering Evidence







*Assignment 1: Complete a web scavenger hunt to better understand why the author wrote this book and explored this problem of fitting in throughout the story between Jess and Leslie. This scavenger hunt will help There are links to find your answers below the questions. You must record your answers on your worksheet, which will be collected. Write in full, complete sentences!


1.   Who inspired Katherine Paterson?


2.   Why did Katherine Paterson write this novel?


3.   How did she think of this magical place called Terabithia?


4.   Why did she use certain words in her book? For example, why did she use “curse” words on certain pages?



Step 3: Identify the causes from the book as to why Jess and Leslie were bullied and felt like they did not fit in. Also identify the causes as to why Katherine Paterson, the author, wrote a story about bullying.

Identifying Causes


Step 4: Evaluate the procedure Jess and Leslie used in the story to overcome bullying and make themselves feel like they fit in. Then evaluate the policy of your own school and how your school helps prevent bullying from happening.

Evaluating a Policy


*Assignment 2: Now that you have read the novel and analyzed it, you have the responsibility of creating a PowerPoint presentation about the book for the purpose informing others how bullying can be avoided.  Your presentation should be at least six slides, include color, at least three graphics and one sound.  You will need to give a summary of the book and discuss how Jess and Leslie were able to form a friendship that helped them fit in. You will also include solutions that you believe would help prevent bullying or situations that would allow people to fit in.



Steps 5-7: Now you have reflected on the book and how Jess and Leslie’s friendship helped them overcome the challenges of bullying. I would like you to think of your own solution for schools to use that would help all students feel accepted and that they fit in. You will use the links below to access worksheets in which you must create your own solution or policy, figure out why it is the best one and what positive effects it will have.


Developing Solutions


Best Solution












Scavenger Hunt

Student answered all questions correctly and posted findings onto the worksheet.

Student answered some questions from the hunt correctly.

Student answered few questions from hunt.

Student did not report answers from the web scavenger onto the worksheet.


PowerPoint Presentation

Student included all six slides, as well as all technical and literary requirements--with little or no grammatical errors.

Student included all six slides, all technical requirements, and included information about the novel, characters and opinion portion--but with grammatical errors.

Student included all six slides and information about the novel and characters.

Student created at least 3 slides to provide information about the novel.

Total: ___/8



Now that you have completed this WebQuest and read The Bridge to Terabithia, it is my hope that you have a greater appreciation for this remarkable novel.  It includes components of friendship, perseverance and triumph—three fantastic concepts we all encounter at some point in life.  You also have the added benefit of the technological experience you gained by navigating all the processes.  Congratulations on all your hard work!




ELA Grade 5 Common Core Standards:


Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., how characters interact).


Explain how a series of chapters, scenes, or stanzas fits together to provide the overall structure of a particular story, drama, or poem.


Describe how a narrator's or speaker's point of view influences how events are described.


Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.


With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of two pages in a single sitting.


Conduct short research projects that use several sources to build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.


Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.


Report on a topic or text or present an opinion, sequencing ideas logically and using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.


Include multimedia components (e.g., graphics, sound) and visual displays in presentations when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or themes.


Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and tasks, using formal English when appropriate to task and situation. (See grade 5 Language standards 1 and 3 here for specific expectations.)