Max by Bob Graham - Teaching Ideas

After a 2 week spring break it is time to get back to work. I hope you all enjoyed your time off as much as I did mine! Now to get to our featured book, Max by Bob Graham. This story is about a superhero that is just as ordinary as everyone else. Max can't fly, no matter how much his parents try to get him too he just can't. One day a little bird is about to fall out of a tree. Max sees this little bird and rushes down the stairs to try to catch him, but to his {and his parents} surprise he flew right up to save him. Now Max is not ordinary anymore, not only can he fly, but he is called the small hero because he saves all the small creatures that are in danger!

If you wish to use this story for more than just a read aloud, here is a bit more information that should help you plan.

Theme: relationships, new life experiences
Genre: fiction

Suggested Vocabulary: legendary, phantom, ordinary, exploits, hovering

Reading skills and strategies:
  • asking questions - {possible questions before reading} - What is the story about? Which one is Max? {possible questions during reading} - What does legendary mean? How come Max did not fly? Why does Max wear those clothes to school? Why is Max running out of the house? How come Max was finally able to fly? How come Max can't stay in his seat? Why did they call him a small hero?  What are quiet deeds?
  • author's point of view - 3rd person point of view
  • author's purpose - entertain {evidence} - they lived in a lightning bolt house, Max was floating in his seat at school and Max flew his friends around at school. All these things are entertaining to see or read about.
  • beginning, middle, end - {most important event from beginning} Max could walk and talk early but he couldn't fly. {most important event from middle} everyone kept asking and wondering why Max could not fly. {most important event from end} Max saw that a baby bird was going to fall out of it's nest so he flew to save it.
  • cause and effect - Why did his parents bounce him and bump him? because they wanted him to fly. Why would Max not play with the parakeet?  because Max couldn't fly. When granddad was younger why would he get in trouble? because he would leave fingerprints on the ceiling lamp. Why did Max wear those clothes to school? because he was a superhero. Why did Max start to fly? because he needed to save a bird. Why was Max's mom so proud? because he could finally fly. Why was Max "not quite ordinary" because he could fly. Why was Max called the small hero? because he saved small things.
  • characterization - describe Max {his feelings, thoughts, looks, character}
  • classify & categorize - classify and categorize things that would make someone a superhero and a regular ordinary hero {police officer, firefighter, etc}
  • compare & contrast - there is a line in the book that says, "Everyone's different in some way, aren't they?" compare how you and a friend are the same and different.
  • drawing conclusions & inferencing - Why do you think it took so long for Max to fly? {text clues} Max started flying when a little bird was in trouble. {what I know} I know that sometimes it is hard for me to do something if there is not a reason to do it. {my conclusion} I think it took Max so long to fly because there was no reason for him to fly until the bird needed him.
  • plot - the turning point of the story is when Max sees a bird that is going to fall out of his nest.
  • predict - What do you think the story is going to be about? How come Max can't fly? Do you think Max will ever fly? When do you think he will fly? Why do you think Max is running down the stairs and out of the house?
  • problem & solution - {problem} Max is a superhero and he can't fly. {solution} Max finally sees something that needs saving so he flies to the rescue.
  • sequencing - Max was born a superhero. Max walked and talked early. Max's parents tried to get him to fly. Max still couldn't fly. Max went to school and his friends asked why he couldn't fly. Max sees a bird about to fall out of it's nest. Max flies to save the bird. Max's mother is very proud. Max flies his friends around at school. Max is called the small hero because he saves small things.
  • story elements - list title, author, characters, setting, theme, genre, beginning, middle, end or problem and solution.
  • summarize - {someone}Max's parents {wanted} wanted him to fly {but} but he couldn't {so} so they kept trying to get him to practice. {then} Then one day Max saw a little bird about to fall out of it's nest {finally}which finally made him fly.
Here is a story map for you to use with this book. Please let me know if you download it. So many times I post freebies without knowing if anyone is actually using them. Thank you in advance for taking the time to leave me a comment!!


Happy reading!


  1. Sounds like a fun book and your ideas are wonderful.

    1. Thanks! It is a pretty cute story! Lots of stuff to do with it too...makes it a great teaching book!

  2. Hi,

    I have downloaded the story map to use with my year 2 class.



  3. I just downloaded the story map. Thanks for sharing! I can't wait to use it!

  4. I have downloaded the story map and have planned my Library lessons around it for years 2 and 3.(after return from holidaysin May -Australia)
    Looking forward to see how it goes in the class.
    Thank you

  5. I have downloaded your story map to use with my grade 2 classes

  6. Can't wait to use this at the beginning of my school year. My theme this year is super heroes. They are going to love the story and I can't wait to do the activity with them. Thanks for the great post!

  7. Thank you for posting -- I look forward to using the story map!

  8. Love the look of this story map. Using with a second grade student. Thank you for posting!


Thoughts and comments are always welcome!