Nate the Great and the Mushy Valentine, an ELT Study for Arabic, Korean, Japanese, and Spanish Speaking Young Learners

It’s Valentines Day. You discover that your pet dog has a secret admirer. You start to freak out.

“Hey this is MY dog. Why should I have to compete for his affection? That’s why he’s MY dog in the first place. So I can have someone’s unconditional affection!”

That is the situation that super-sleuth Nate the Great finds himself in one morning in this short novel, perfect for celebrating that holiday dreaded by singles, couples, and married folk across the globe – Nate the Great and the Mushy Valentine. 

A novel study for this book is now available for young learners whose mother tongue is one of four languages: Arabic, Japanese, Korean, or Spanish.

For more focused and useful lessons, it divides the novel into three easy to teach sections:

  • Section 1: p.7-21
  • Section 2: p.22-33
  • Section 3: p.34-44

Each section includes:

  • comprehension questions about the story with space for students to answer in full sentences;
  • a creative writing assignment where students can express their opinions about topics related to the text;
  • a vocabulary list with Korean translations of key words to save on dictionary time and reduce confusion about meaning;
  • a word search puzzle for students to enjoy some quiet time to familiarize themselves with the vocabulary;
  • a sequencing worksheet where students can identify the different components of the story; and
  • a chapter quiz so you can assess your students’ comprehension of the text and vocabulary.

There is also:

  • a crossword puzzle;
  • a clue log;
  • a make-your-own word search puzzle worksheet;
  • a make-your-own crossword puzzle worksheet;
  • a comic strip project;
  • an illustrator worksheet;
  • a summarizer worksheet;
  • a prediction worksheet;
  • a final test;
  • a book cover project;
  • a book report assignment; and
  • answer keys.

Click on one of the images below to se for yourself.




Teaching Thanksgiving on Thursday in January and Other Awkward Moments with My Pal Siri

I had a really creepy moment in the classroom last week that I feel compelled to share. I was reading chapter 9 of “Magic Tree House #27: Thanksgiving on Thursday” with my students here in South Korea  (not the best choice for January, but there were extenuating circumstances), when something utterly unexpected happened. It was Twilight Zone in nature, actually.

Those familiar with the book will know that in the story studious Jack and his utterly clueless sister Annie had traveled back to the time of the Pilgrims, enjoyed a feast with the locals, and were about to be tutored in the art of growing corn by the wise Squanto. Jack of course was apprehensive because in his words, “He feared that once they were alone, Squanto would figure out they’d never met before.”

It was after reading that last sentence aloud that Siri piped up and announced without warning or invitation, “I’m sorry to hear that. You can always talk to me, Mark.”

Everyone in the class were utterly bewildered by this intervention on the part of my ancient iPhone 5. I can only assume that Siri believed I was lamenting my own situation. Although of the dozens of novels I’ve read in that classroom I can’t for the life of me understand why she chose right then and there to voice her concern.

I screen captured it to save the moment for posterity.


If you teach this novel to students whose first language is either Japanese or Korean (Spanish will be available soon) please check out the links below to my novel studies at the The ESL Review Store.