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Product_catalog : School : LitLink : Grade06 : The Goodness of Matt Kaizer
Interactive Literature Selections

Investigate, Inquire, and Imagine


1a. Who in the story is the "baddest of the bad"? What kinds of things does he or she do?

2a. What does Rev. Kaizer do when Matt says he doesn't want to go back to Mr. Bataky's?

3a. What nickname does the gang use for Matt? What does Mr. Bataky call Matt?


1b. Why do you think the person is behaving this way?

2b. What Rev. Kaizer does may seem a bit unusual for a minister. Why might he have done this?

3b. How are these names alike? What might be important about this?


4a. What evidence can you find that Matt is not always being bad anymore?


4b. How do you think Matt will continue to change? Imagine a few possible situations that will help demonstrate your answer.


5a. To what degree did Mr. Bataky influence Matt? Explain your answer.


5b. Think of a time when someone caused you to change part of how you think about yourself. How did you feel at the time? How did your behavior change to match your new view of yourself? How do you feel about the experience now?

Understanding Literature

Conflict. In "The Goodness of Matt Kaizer," someone besides the main character is struggling with conflict. Mr. Bataky is also struggling with something. What is his struggle, and is it internal or external?

Character. Fill in the chart below based on what you've learned about Matt throughout the story.

Matt Physical Appearance Clothing Habits and Behaviors Thoughts and Feelings
during first half of story:
  • tall and thin

  • watches MTV and cop shows
  • tells disgusting stories with buddies

during second half of story:
  • tie
  • puzzlement

Writer's Journal

1. Write a brief note to a classmate across the aisle that Marley might write to explain how the gang works.

2. Imagine that Mr. Bataky dies. Write a short remembrance about him that Matt might write in a sympathy card he's sending to Mary Beth and Mrs. Bataky.

3. Imagine that Matt, in continuation of this story, is asking his father questions about the goodness in people. Write a short dialogue of two of Matt's questions and Rev. Kaizer's responses to each.

Skill Builders

Applied English

Writing an ad. Pretend you are Mrs. Bataky and you have just broken your leg in a bad fall. You need to advertise in the local paper for someone to assist you part-time in caring for Mr. Bataky. In as few words as possible, use the space below to write the ad, being sure to include the following information: description of job, days and hours needed, qualifications desired, and salary.


Forming Adjectives. Sulky, a Word for Everyday Use on page 12 of your textbook, is an adjective formed from the verb sulk by adding the suffix –y. Create new words by adding the suffixes shown to the following words. In general, when you add suffixes to words ending in e, the e is dropped.

1. beat + -able =

2. rasp + -ing =

3. admire + -able =

4. bite + -ing =

5. flush + -ed =

6. enjoy + -able =

7. stare + -ing =

8. fiction + -al =

9. climb + -able =

10. present + -able =

Language, Grammar, and Style

Looking at slang. Slang is the informal, nonstandard vocabulary peculiar to a particular group. Such vocabulary, often temporary, consists typically of made-up or invented words, existing words that are used in new ways, and words that have been changed or exaggerated.

The author uses many slang words in "The Goodness of Matt Kaizer." Some of these words have been listed in the center column of the chart below. Look over these words and fill in their probable meanings. Then fill in the first column with slang that you've heard was popular in the past. Fill in the last column with slang (and their meanings) you and your friends use today. For fun, make up a few new slang words and their meanings for this column as well. Place a star by your inventions.

Slang used in the past Slang used in the story Slang used now (and in the future)
word meaning word meaning word meaning

Of the slang words used in the past, which are still used today and which are no longer used?

Of the slang words used today, which will probably be around for a while and which are being used less often or replaced by new slang? Of the slang words used today, which will probably be around for a while and which are being used less often or replaced by new slang

Which of all the slang words on the chart are your favorites?

Prereading page
About the Author page
Reading Strategies page
Vocabulary from the Selection page
Guided Reading Questions page
Postreading Worksheet page
Test Practice page
Internet Resource Center page
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