Out of My Mind

  Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper

Eleven-year-old Melody has a photographic memory. Her head is like a video camera that is always recording. Always. And there's no delete button. She's the smartest kid in her whole school—but no one knows it. Most people—her teachers and doctors included—don't think she's capable of learning, and up until recently her school days consisted of listening to the same preschool-level alphabet lessons again and again and again. If only she could speak up, if only she could tell people what she thinks and knows . . . but she can't, because Melody can't talk. She can't walk. She can't write. Being stuck inside her head is making Melody go out of her mind—that is, until she discovers something that will allow her to speak for the first time ever. At last Melody has a voice . . . but not everyone around her is ready to hear it.

Discussion Questions

 

  1. Why does the author begin and end the book with the same passages?
  2. Melody is a typical fifth-grader in many ways. How she is similar to other eleven year-olds.
  3. In a world that does not work for her, what seems to cause the biggest frustrations for Melody?
  4. Describe Melody’s parents. How do they learn to communicate with Melody and help her to overcome everyday problems? Why are those efforts sometimes a complete failure?
  5. How does Melody feel about school? How does she fit in with her classmates and what makes her different from the rest of the children in H-5? What would be Melody’s ideal school situation?
  6. Discuss Melody’s teachers since she began going to school. What does this say about her school system, or about attitudes at her school about teaching children with special needs?
  7. Why does Melody decide to enter the quiz team competition? What obstacles must she face and overcome just to get on the team?
  8. How do the Medi-Talker and her electric wheelchair change Melody‘s life?
  9. What does Melody learn about friendship and the relationships of children working together as she practices and competes with the quiz team? What does she learn about herself?
  10. What is ironic about the events at the restaurant after the competition? How does this scene foreshadow the events that led up to the airport fiasco?
  11. Describe Melody’s feelings before the trip to the airport, while she is there, and after she gets home. How would you have coped with the same situation?
  12. Describe Melody’s extreme range of emotions as she tries to tell her mother that Penny is behind the car. How did the scene make you feel?
  13. Discuss the scene in which Melody confronts the kids on the quiz team. What is satisfying about how she handles the situation? What else might Melody have done?
  14. When Melody takes her friend Rose with her to the aquarium, she is very excited about the fun they are going to have. What does Rose learn about friendship at the aquarium?
  15. How does Mr. Dimming change over the course of the story?
  16. Do you have classmates with a physical disability and if so, how are they treated?
  17. Imagine a conversation between Melody and Rose on the last day of fifth grade.
  18. If you were transported to Oz, what would you ask for?

If you liked Out of My Mind, you might also like:

Small Steps by Louis Sachar

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Rules by Cynthia Lord

Anything but Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin

The Junkyard Wonders by Patricia Polacco

If a Tree Falls at Lunch Period by Gennifer Choldenko

A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban

Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine

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