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Holes Lesson Plans

I absolutely love novels that come full circle, and Holes by Louis Sachar is one of those novels. The multiple plot lines can be confusing at first, and students may have questions about the book Holes as they read, but it all comes together in the end. This excites readers and gives them a sense of accomplishment as they realize how each plot is intertwined. Our free Holes novel study is sure to engage your students. Check out Storyboard That’s Holes book activities and our Holes lesson plans below!

Explore our fun Holes book activities now! These lesson plans are a dynamic and engaging alternative to other traditional book report ideas. Students will love creating storyboards such as a character chart, plot diagram, and more! Storyboarding allows students to demonstrate their understanding of plot, characters and literary elements with visuals and pictures as well as words. This enables students of all abilities to successfully dive deep into a novel study and enjoy the process! Our Holes lesson plans will get your students pumped about reading and analyzing this amazing story.

This is a classic novel for middle school readers that they won't soon forget, especially with Storyboard That’s Holes by Louis Sachar activities!

Student Activities for Holes

Holes by Louis Sachar Questions

  1. What makes a good friend?
  2. What is fate, and do you believe in it?
  3. How do your own actions shape your life?
  4. What is fairness? How does each plot line develop this theme?
  5. What is the symbolization of holes in the story?

Short Summary of the Book, Holes by Louis Sachar

Stanley Yelnats believes his family has been cursed. A story passed from generation to generation says that Elya, his great-great grandfather failed to fulfill a promise to an old Romani woman, who cursed him and his family. After being mistakenly convicted for stealing a pair of shoes, Stanley is sent to Camp Green Lake. The name is deceptive, the camp is a detention center for boys in the middle of the Texan desert.

Stanley is thrown into tent D with a diverse mix of other juvenile delinquents, including a quiet boy named Zero. The “campers” are made to dig holes, under the watchful eye of Mr. Sir, the counselor. Mr. Sir claims it is to build character, but Stanley uncovers that the Warden is using the boys to help her search for something.

In a secondary plot, readers learn that Green Lake used to be a well-to-do area; rich and abundant, on the edge of a large lake. Kate, the school teacher, falls in love with Sam, a local medicinal salesman. When the two are caught kissing, the town is in an uproar because Sam is Black. Charles Walker, a member of the town’s richest family, wanted to court Kate. He leads the town in hunting down Sam, who is killed. Kate becomes known as the ruthless outlaw, “Kissing Kate Barlow”. As a bandit, she coincidentally robbed a man named Stanley Yelnats, the young protagonist’s great grandfather.

This first Stanley Yelnats also believed this is because of the Yelnats family curse. In Latvia, his father Elya fell in love, and wished to marry a young woman named Myra. Seeking the advice of Madame Zeroni, he was given a pig and told to carry it to the top of a mountain, allowing it to drink from the river. Once the pig grew, he could take it to Myra as a dowry. To repay Madame Zeroni, he was to carry her up the mountain to make her strong as well. When he goes to Myra, he is disgusted by her personality. Elya leaves for America, forgetting his end of the bargain.

These three stories collide when Zero and Stanley run away from the camp. After being in the desert for some time, they climb a mountain in search of water. Zero becomes weak and Stanley must carry him. When they reach the top they drink the water and Stanley sings a song taught to him by his family. Zero’s real name is Hector Zeroni, and he’s a descendant of Madame Zeroni. When Stanley carries him up the mountain and sings to him, the promise is fulfilled and the curse lifted. The boys then figure out that the Warden is a descendant of the Walker family and is in search of Kissing Kate’s buried Treasure, hence the endless digging of holes. They go back to a hole where Stanley found a lipstick container and find a box of treasure. The authorities are called in, the camp is shut down, and the boys live happily thereafter.

About the Author

Louis Sachar is a young-adult author who was born in 1954 in East Meadow, New York. Sachar graduated from University of California, Berkeley, and began writing shortly thereafter. He used his personal experiences working with children in an elementary school as inspiration for Sideways Stories from Wayside School, but added lots of comedy and silly elements to make the stories more engaging.

Around the time that this book was accepted for publication, Sachar began studying law at University of California, Hastings College of Law. Upon graduation, he did some part time law work while he wrote more children’s books. Obviously Sachar never continued with his career as a lawyer, as his true calling was a writer!

Holes is arguably the most popular of Louis Sachar’s books, earning him several awards including the Newbery Medal for the year’s “most distinguished contribution to American literature for children”. Sachar and his wife Carla have one daughter named Sherre, who is now a zookeeper. They live in Austin, Texas.

More Books By Louis Sachar

Louis Sachar has written many wonderful books for children. Here are just a few more! Use Storyboard That’s general novel study activities with any of these books today!

  • The Marvin Redpost Series: Children will delight in these books about a redhead third grader named Marvin, who has many adventures investigating the paranormal!

  • The Cardturner: A story for older students about a teenager named Alton who searches for the meaning of life while he drives his elderly uncle Lester to his bridge club several times a week.

  • Small Steps: This New York Times bestseller is about a boy named Armpit (yes, Armpit!), who returns home to Texas after spending time in jail. As he takes small steps towards rebuilding his life, grand adventures take place, changing him forever!

  • There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom: This popular story is about a boy named Bradley Chalkers, who is known as a troublemaker with behavior problems. When the school counselor sees that there’s more to Bradley than meets the eye, he begins to believe in himself and changes for the better.

  • Fuzzy Mud: Sachar’s latest masterpiece is about Tamaya and Marshall, two kids who take the long way home from school to avoid a bully. When the fifth and seventh graders enter the off-limit path through the woods, adventure and trouble follows.

Discussion Questions to Use in Pairs or Groups

These questions may be used during reading, or upon completion of the novel. While it is best to get students discussing what they’ve read, these questions can also be answered individually in a reader’s notebook. It is always such a joy to hear the different opinions that students have, even though they are reading the same novel!

  1. Discuss the title of the book. What type of holes is Louis Sachar referring to? Just physical holes in the ground? Be sure to use examples from the text to explain your answer.

  2. The name “Camp Green Lake'' implies that it is a fun place for kids, just like any other summer camp. However, it is not at all what it seems. Discuss the setting of Camp Green Lake. Why is it such an important part of the story?

  3. The names of the characters in this book are often nicknames and seem to have some kind of meaning. Discuss these names with your group. Do you think they fit the personalities of the characters? Why do you think the author chose to do this? If you had to choose your own nickname, what would it be?

  4. What is karma? What happens to the Warden at the end of the book? Is this an example of karma? Be sure to look up the word karma and some examples of it, if you are unsure what this means.

  5. What are the things that happened to Stanley’s family over time? Do you think that Stanley’s family was really cursed with bad luck? Discuss with your group and be sure to provide textual evidence.

  6. Discuss the various themes of Holes with your group or partner. What do you think is the most important theme? What are the messages that the author is trying to get across?

  7. Stanley and Zero have an interesting friendship. They help each other and form an unlikely bond. What about each of them makes them a good friend? What are some of the relationships between the other characters like?

  8. The book centers around Stanley’s family history. Do you know much about your family history? What makes your family unique? Share what you know with your group.

  9. Because Kate and Sam were different races, the town was outraged and Sam was killed. How has the country changed since the time when this kind of racism was prevalent? How has it stayed the same?

  10. What are some freedoms that we have today that we may take for granted? What are some instances of freedoms taken away in Holes? Be sure to provide examples from the text.

Ideas for Post-Reading Activities

Storyboard That is an excellent tool for students to create fun and engaging projects as a culminating activity after finishing a novel. In addition to our premade activities, here are some ideas that teachers can customize and assign to students to spark creativity in individual students, pairs, or small groups for a final project. Several of these ideas include Storyboard That templates that can be printed out or copied into your teacher dashboard and assigned digitally. All final projects can be printed out, presented as a slide show, or, for an extra challenge, as an animated GIF!

  1. For Groups: Choose a scene from the story and write a short play to reenact to the class. Use the traditional storyboard layout to plan out your scenes. You can add text to your storyboards, or simply use the cells to visualize each scene of your play.

  2. Using the timeline layout, retell the story in chronological order. Our timeline layout gives you the options to include year, month, day, and even hour! You may also choose to omit these altogether.

  3. Choose a setting from the story and create a map of the setting using the small poster or worksheet layout. Use free form or other text boxes to include a key or label the different parts of the map.

  4. Using one of Storyboard That’s board game templates, create a game based on the book for your classmates to play!

  5. For Groups: Divide the chapters of the book amongst your group members. Each member of the group creates a storyboard for their assigned chapter. This can be done as a collaborative project, or separately for longer novels.

  6. Using the worksheet layout and Storyboard That’s worksheet assets, create a test or a quiz for other students in the class. You can create all kinds of questions such as multiple choice, short answer, and even matching! When you are done, be sure to make an answer key.

  7. Using one of Storyboard That’s biography poster templates, create a poster about the character of your choice. Be sure to include important biographical features such as: place and date of birth, family life, accomplishments, etc.

  8. Choose a chapter from the novel and create a storyboard that shows that chapter from another character’s point of view. For an extra challenge, use the T-chart layout to compare the original point of view with another character’s point of view!

  9. Create a book jacket of the novel using one of Storyboard That’s book jacket templates. Use Storyboard That art to create the cover, and write a summary of the story on the back, just like real books have!

  10. Using one of Storyboard That’s social media templates as a starting point, create a social media page for one or more of the characters in the novel. Be sure to think how the character thinks while creating this page.

  11. Create a scrapbook page made by one of the characters in the novel. Storyboard That has lots of premade templates that you can use as is, or change to fit your character’s personality! Check out our scrapbook templates today!

Holes Book Report Ideas and Other Fun Activities for the Book Holes

  1. Using storyboards, depict the water cycle and explain why water is important.

  2. Show yellow spotted lizards in their natural habitat and answer questions about them. What do they eat? Where do they live? What are their predators? What other information could you add?

  3. Make up your own family curse and depict it using the storyboard layout of your choice.

  4. Write your own Holes book summary.

  5. Write your own version of the Holes book using the Storyboard That book maker!

  6. Make a Holes storyboard that depicts your favorite scene, or an alternate ending!

  7. Think of your own Holes by Louis Sachar activities or create your own Holes book pictures!

  8. Complete Holes activities made by a classmate!

Buy Holes on Amazon

How to Create a Plot Diagram for "Holes" by Louis Sachar


Identify the Key Elements of the Plot

Identify the key elements of the plot in "Holes" by Louis Sachar, including the exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. Pay attention to significant events, conflicts, and character development throughout the story.


Choose a Plot Diagram Template

Choose a plot diagram template from Storyboard That's collection of layout options. Select a template that best fits your preferences and the level of detail you want to include in your plot diagram.


Fill in the Exposition

In the first section of the plot diagram, fill in the exposition of the story. Introduce the main characters, setting, and the initial conflict or problem they face. Provide a brief summary of the beginning of the book.


Add the Rising Action

In the next section, add the rising action of the story. Include the series of events and obstacles that the characters encounter as they work towards resolving the conflict. Show how tension and suspense build throughout the story.


Highlight the Climax

Identify the climax, which is the turning point or most intense moment of the story. It is the peak of the conflict and often involves a major decision or confrontation. Place this event in the appropriate section of the plot diagram.


Show the Falling Action and Resolution

Illustrate the falling action, which reveals the aftermath of the climax and ties up loose ends. Depict how the conflict is resolved and the story's resolution. Show the final outcome for the main characters and any important revelations or lessons learned.

Frequently Asked Questions about Holes

What is Holes, about?

Holes is story about a boy named Stanley who is sent to Camp Green Lake, a place for delinquent boys, after he was accused of a theft that he didn’t commit. While there, Stanley uncovers the history of the camp, as well as the mystery of the “curse” that he believes has plagued his family for many years.

Why is the book called Holes?

It is obvious that one reason why the book is called Holes is because Stanley and the other boys are forced to dig holes all day. However, the holes symbolize a lot of what Stanley feels at times such as hopelessness, hardship, and adversity.

Who are the main characters in the book Holes?

It is obvious that one reason why the book is called Holes is because Stanley and the other boys are forced to dig holes all day. However, the holes symbolize a lot of what Stanley feels at times such as hopelessness, hardship, and adversity.

Find more lesson plans and activities like these in our English Language Arts Category!
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