The best thing about our regular feature Ask Arizona is it tackles topics kids can relate to, while it helps them think through and find solutions to everyday problems. Second best: Virtually every story can inspire new ways to start a dialogue with your child and help boost his reading comprehension.
To catch up with this month’s story, you can read the recap here or check out the full piece on pages 40-41 of the February 2017 issue. Then talk about the story with your child, using the conversation starters and reading comprehension questions that follow.
Recap: A reader who signs her letter Frustrated in Fresno asks Arizona what to do about her younger brother, who reveals her secrets and wrecks her surprises.
Arizona tells Frustrated she understands completely what it’s like to deal with loose-lipped siblings because her own sibs—five-year-old twins—can’t keep secrets either. In fact, once, when Arizona decided to bake a surprise combination Valentine’s Day and wedding anniversary cake for her parents, little Tex and Indi spilled the beans—even though Arizona asked them not to and the youngsters promised they would be careful. Although the kids spoiled the surprise, Arizona’s mom reminded everyone it’s the thought that counts, and Arizona reminded Frustrated the only way to keep a secret is to tell no one!
- Arizona’s parents had to cancel an anniversary getaway unexpectedly. When was the last time you had to cancel plans because of a conflict in scheduling? How did you handle the problem, and your disappointment?
- Where is your favorite bakery and what is the best thing they make there?
- How would you feel if your birthday were the day before or day after another special occasion? With the two celebrations back-to-back, would your birthday seem more or less special?
- Is a surprise no longer a surprise if you find out about it early?
- If you were planning a surprise, name someone you would trust to help you—and keep your secret.
Reading Comprehension Boosters:
- What did Ollie do to try to make Arizona’s cake more “interesting”?
- What does Arizona consider her siblings’ best—and worst—traits?
- Arizona’s mom bit her lip when Arizona’s dad told her they wouldn’t be able to go away for their anniversary. Why do you think she did that?
- According to Arizona, what should Frustrated do (or not do) if she doesn’t want her secrets and surprises ruined?
- In what ways did Arizona’s plans not turn out as expected?