The Golden Compass

Chapter Book

Bibliographic Information: Pullman, Philip. The Golden Compass. New York: Random House, Inc., 1995.

Plot Description:
Lyra Belacqua spends most of her time with her daemon companion around Oxford University, where her guardian works. Lyra secretly watches her Uncle Asriel in a meeting that talks about Dust, a particle that congregates around adults but not children. He gets funding for a project in the Arctic to prove that alternate universes exist. Her guardian gives her a pocket watch that reveals truth to the right questions. Meanwhile, children have been going missing all over and she befriends Mrs Coulter, who takes her in. She flees when she realizes Mrs Coulter is behind the disappearance of the children. She travels with a nomadic people, who explain that the woman is actually her mother and that Asriel is actually her father. Lyra befriends and frees a sentient bear. She finds out that the kidnapped children are being experimented upon, and sees a boy whose bond with his daemon has been cut, which essentially cuts a person off from their soul. She encounters Asriel again, who claims that Dust is the source of all misery and that he will be the one to erradicate it. He leaves for a parallel universe. Lyra and her daemon vow to stop him, and follow him.

Quantitative Reading Level: Lexile: 930; Accelerated Reader: 7.1

Qualitative Reading Analysis:
This book is written in third-person, focusing on the adventures of Lyra. It teaches about how few things are as they seem. The text is 6th grade reading level.

Content Area: English

Content Area Standard:

  • CCSS for Literature for K-5: #2 Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text; #4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes; #10 Read and comprehend literature in grade level text complexity range.
  • CCSS for Informational Text for K-5: #5 Compare and contrast the overall structure (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information in two or more texts; #8 Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text, identifying which reasons and evidence support which point(s).
  • CCSS for Foundational Skills for K-5:  #4 Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

Curriculum suggestions:
This is a great chapter book to use in English Language Arts Curriculum. It is best suited to 4rd grade through 6th grade. It explores themes like mystery and adventure.

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