The Thing About Oliver
Teacher Notes & Activities
Why Choose This Novel:
‘The Thing About Oliver’ gives a raw and realistic account of what autistic behaviour can be. The protagonist, Tilly, has an unwavering love for her younger brother Oliver. This novel generates significant emotional responses. It explores themes of disability, relocation, parenting & family relationships with a language that is age-appropriate. The plot builds to a suspenseful climax when Oliver goes missing.
Prior to reading this novel as a whole class, it is advisable to complete a mini inquiry into Autism. Students pose their own questions about Autism and present their research in their own chosen way. This prior learning activity has proven to support students in better understanding the characteristics and behaviours displayed by Oliver throughout the novel.
What is ‘The Thing About Oliver’ About?
Tilly is a twelve-year-old girl living with her mother and brother Oliver, in a drought-stricken town. She dreams of becoming a marine biologist, but she does not even attend swimming lessons because most of the family time and money is spent taking Oliver to specialist appointments. Oliver is autistic and his regular meltdowns are making life unbearable. Tilly understands Oliver’s needs have to come first, but it’s hard feeling invisible all the time. Tilly is excited when she learns that the family are moving to a seaside town in Queensland, but she is also worried. The thing about Oliver is, he cannot cope with even the smallest change in routine. Will this move be enough to change Tilly’s life or will it shatter the whole family?
What is Included in this Reading Guide Package?
– 1 Google Slide Presentation. Ready to use out of the box.
– Each slide has questions and activities that relate to individual chapters.
– The presentation is editable so you can add questions relative to the needs of your students.
Skills Covered in this Reading Response Guide Include:
- Literal, Inferential and Evaluative Questioning
- Researching and Investigating
- Making predictions
- Making connections
- Analysing language
- Creating dialogue
- Writing newspaper reports
- Exploring character
- Diary writing
- Using visible thinking routines
- Writing a book review
- Creating a book-trailer