Subskill: Reading Comprehension
Concept: Cause and Effect
Grade Level: Middle Elementary
It all began in gym class the very first day of school. We had just moved to the city, and I was excited to make new basketball friends. However, as I hurried out of the locker room, I suddenly felt like the center of attention, and it wasn’t a good feeling. All eyes were on me, but they were pointing to my socks!
“Oh, no,” I thought to myself, my eyes darting around the gym from player to player. “No one is wearing socks like mine!” My face turned hot and red as I quickly bent down to fold my socks over, but it was too late. “Nice knee socks!” came a loud voice from across the gym. Then everyone burst out laughing. I wanted to snap my fingers and disappear.
The next day I wore ‘cool’ socks, the ones that don’t show above my basketball shoes. I had my game face on as I walked into the gym, but right away a kid with shiny silver braces yelled out, “Hey, Knee Socks, what’s up?” I just looked the other way and pretended not to hear her.
“Hey, I’m a decent player and I’ve got good skills,” I thought to myself. “As soon as they see me play, they’ll forget about the socks.” But the minutes ticked by slowly as I sat on the bench. Then the bell rang and gym class was over. I felt so alone.
The following day I had a new plan. I walked straight up to the players and asked if I could join the game. A girl in a number 17 jersey stuck her face close to mine and said, “Sure, you can, if you buy us a new basketball.” “Yeah, we need a new basketball,” the other players chimed in. I was surprised by their request but said I would think about it.
By the time I got home from school, I was feeling desperate, so I told my mom I needed a new basketball. I knew it was wrong to lie, but I really wanted to make new basketball friends.
I showed up the next day with the new basketball. “This will make them finally accept me,” I thought to myself. But as soon as I walked into the gym, the girl in the number 17 jersey just grabbed it from me and said, “Thanks, Knee Socks, but you’re still not playing with us.”
Her words knocked the wind right out of me. Then my heart started racing as I yelled, “Give it back! Give it back!” Before I knew it, I was pushed from behind and fell to the floor like a sack of potatoes. I got up as quickly as I could, ignoring the sharp pain in my knee, and walked away. I never even looked back as the sound of laughter filled the gym.
It took me a really long time to fall asleep that night. I felt very low. I told my mom the next morning that I had a stomach ache so I could stay home from school. I wished I could go back to my old neighborhood. What was wrong with me? What was it about me that made these kids not like me? It couldn’t just be the socks! There must me something wrong with me.
As I lay in bed all day, I kept thinking about what I should do. Should I tell my mom, should I tell the PE teacher, or would it just make things worse? I didn’t know what to do.
Here are some questions to ask after listening to the story:
Why was the narrator embarrassed at the beginning of the story?
Why did the narrator lie to her mother about needing to buy a basketball?
What happened when the narrator gave the bully the basketball.
What are some effects of bullying?