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Long Way Down Anagrams

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Long Way Down Anagrams
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Long Way Down Summary & Activities

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

By Liane Hicks

Long Way Down is a highly acclaimed young adult novel that is poignantly written in vivid free verse. It is the powerful tale of a young man named Will Holloman faced with a life altering decision. Engage students with premade Storyboard That activities!

Long Way Down

Storyboard Description

Students can identify anagrams in Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds and illustrate the relationship between the words.

Storyboard Text

  • 3... 3...
  • 3... 3...
  • Will explains what an anagram is by using canoe and ocean as an example. He says “same letters, different words, somehow still make sense together, like brothers”.
  • Canoe to ocean is also a fitting pair to compare to brothers, as a canoe helps one stay afloat in the turbulent waters just like a brother's love and support helps one stay afloat in life.
  • Will scribbled on his wall in pencil (in case his mother made him erase it) the anagram: SCARE = CARES in the room that he shared with Shawn.
  • FEEL
  • Shawn had been going out at night and Will and his mother worried about him. The anagram represents Will's love for his brother mixed with his fear and anxiety over what he might doing. He knows Shawn jammed his middle drawer shut so nobody could go in it, the drawer hiding his gun. The anagram is a fitting paradox of what one feels for family and friends - love mixed with anxiety they might get hurt.
  • FLEE
  • Will says he cried all night after Dani was killed. The next morning, Shawn explained The Rules and Will learned that he shouldn't cry. His feelings were building to the point where he felt them eating him up inside. He comes up with the anagram: FEEL - FLEE because he had to escape from those feelings and push them down deep.
  • It isn’t until Will sees his brother crying at the end of the story that he feels allowed to express emotion for the grief he feels. In this way, the anagram takes on a new meaning. Can Will flee from the cycle of violence by coping with his grief in a way that does not lead to more destruction?
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