Teaching a lengthy novel like A Tree Grows in Brooklyn presents a challenge. How do you motivate students to complete the assigned readings? These A Tree Grows in Brooklyn reading quizzes (comprehension questions) ensure that students to prepare for lessons.
NOTE: If you are looking for a set of comprehension questions for the entire novel, check out A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Test (reading check).
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Reading Quiz 1
“Some people called it the Tree of Heaven. No matter where its seed fell, it made a tree which struggled to reach the sky. It grew in boarded-up lots and out of neglected rubbish heaps and it was the only tree that grew out of cement.”
Reading schedule: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Smith’s fictionalized memoir does not readily lend itself to segmentation into assigned readings. Some of the novel’s five “books” are literally ten times longer than others. There are two ways to break A Tree Grows in Brooklyn into cohesive, manageable readings:
6 readings format: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn reading quizzes
- 10 multiple-choice questions for each
- Reading 1: Chapters 1-6 (Book 1)
- Reading 2: Chapters 7-14 (Book 2)
- Reading 3: Chapters 15-31 (Book 3A)
- Reading 4: Chapters 32-42 (Book 3B)
- Reading 5: Chapters 43-48 (Book 4A)
- Reading 6: Chapters 49-56 (Book 4B and Book 5)
4 readings format: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn reading quizzes
- 15 multiple-choice questions each
- Reading 1: Chapters 1-14 (Book 1 and Book 2)
- Reading 2: Chapters 15-31 (Book 3-A)
- Reading 3: Chapters 32-42 (Book 3-B)
- Reading 4: Chapters 43-56 (Book 4 and Book 5)
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn comprehension questions: Books 1 and 2
If you want to accelerate the reading pace, it makes sense to combine “books” 1 and 2 and “books” 5 and 6. This results in readings that average approximately 150 pages in length.
“It doesn’t take long to write things of which you know nothing. When you write of actual things, it takes longer, because you have to live them first.”
Why are reading quizzes the best approach for assigned readings?
Motivate students to read
It would be wonderful if all students read based on intrinsic motivation. However, this expectation is not realistic. You can lecture on the importance of habitual reading until the cows come home, but students need to know that they are consistently being held accountable.
Establish transparency and fairness
Students know that they are being held accountable in a predictable and fair way. The quizzes and the reading schedule are predictable so that students with different approaches and needs can prepare and receive support in a way that works for them.
Quiz results are an excellent tool for communicating with students, parent, and guardians. If a student struggles with the first set of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn comprehension questions, what interventions will help them succeed?
Maximize instructional time
When the students have read the material, class time can be spent engaging with complex ideas, critical thinking, analysis of elements, and thought-provoking discussions under your guidance.
Ensure academic honesty
I have tried reading journals, reading questions, lit. circle role sheets, and the rest. Unfortunately, packets and handouts generally result in minimal effort and/or academic dishonesty. Any homeroom teacher has witnessed the pitiful spectacle of students frantically copying answers before the bell rings.
Eliminate superfluous grading
Packets and handouts often result in poor work from the students; they also make your job unnecessarily difficult. You have more important tasks than processing large copy jobs and monitoring piles of questionable student work. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn reading quizzes can be administered and scored quickly.
Using A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Reading Quizzes in your teaching
Prepping students for whole-class lessons
Perhaps you wish to focus on setting, point of view, or mood in the first “book” of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. In-depth analysis can only follow if the students have a basic comprehension of Book 1.
Fostering meaningful literature circles
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is an excellent inclusion in your stable of lit. circle options. Francie Nolan’s experiences and thoughts captivate young readers. However, lit. circles work best when everyone in the circle is prepared to engage.
Offering extra credit
When students request extra credit, my mind hears “Can I glue a bunch of garbage to a piece of cardboard and skip all the learning?” Students gain more from reading compelling literature.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn comprehension questions from Quiz 1 (Book 1 and Book 2)
1) The narrator explains that the tree of the title likes…
- Poor people.
- High, dry places.
- Blood and smoke.
- Laughter, singing, and babies.
2) What do Francie and Neeley do together to make pocket money?
- Sing songs on the street corner
- Collect materials for recycling
- Take care of people’s yards
- Make deliveries for the grocery store
3) What sight terrifies young Francie?
- A dog chewing on a bone
- A dress flapping on a tree branch
- A workshop full of gears and spare parts
- An old man waiting in a bakery
4) Francie’s favorite thing to do is…
- Make costumes.
- Help elderly people.
- Paint / draw.
5) Compared to their neighbors, Francie’s family is…
- Exceptionally poor.
- Exceptionally rich.
- Just as poor.
- Just as rich.
6) Most of Book One centers on a special day called…
- St. Crispin’s day.
- Yom Kippur.
- Mischief day.
7) What does Francie’s father do for a living?
- Truck driver
- Police officer
- Trick question! He does not work.
8) Which character struggles with alcoholism?
- Katie Nolan (mom)
- Johnny Nolan (dad)
- Neely Nolan (brother)
- Sissy Rommely (aunt)
9) Who is narrating (telling) the novel?
- Johnny Nolan (the father)
- Francie Nolan (as a little girl)
- Francie Nolan (as an adult)
- Unknown being (not participating)
10) In relation to Book One, Book Two…
- Goes back in time.
- Jumps forward in time.
- Happens at the same time.
- Is narrated from a different point of view.
11) In order to date her new love interest, Katie must…
- Leave her husband.
- Change her church.
- Betray her best friend.
- Lie about how old she is.
12) Aunt Sissy has no children because…
- She does not want any.
- She has never met the right man.
- Her babies died.
- Her husband cannot have children.
13) In what way is Johnny talented?
- Carving wood
- Playing poker
- Writing poetry
- Singing and dancing
14) Mary Rommely tells her daughter that if she wants the children to have a better life, she must…
- Show them discipline rather than love.
- Leave Johnny.
- Move to “the old country” (Europe).
- Get them to read.
15) Why does the family decide to move again?
- Johnny has found a new job opportunity.
- They move to escape their shame.
- They fail to pay rent and are evicted.
- Katie wants to be close to her mother.
Thanks for checking out A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Reading Quizzes (comprehension questions)
Reading quizzes have been an indispensable element of my teaching practice. I hope that these free PDF samples and reading schedules can serve you as a model in writing your quizzes. However, you can save time by downloading my ready-to-print A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Reading Quizzes.