Reading: “Like Magic” by Cindy Pon
Read “Like Magic” (handout or online at https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/28/books/
young-adult-fiction-asian-american-vintage-photographs-archives.html . You will need the
handout to make annotations for questions 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10)
It’s a good idea to annotate as you read, especially circling unfamiliar vocabulary and
Create a new Google Document in your Student Portfolio for this class. Title the document
“HW#4”. Copy and paste the questions below into your new document and type your answer
under each question.
Answer each question in complete sentences unless otherwise instructed.
1. What does Cindy Pon do for a living, and what is her hobby?
Narration & Structure
The “setting” of a story is the time and place in which the events of the story happen.
2. Where, in general, does the story take place? In other words, what is the main setting?
3. As you read, Hongyue moves through different specific settings. What are they? (In other
words, if you were making a film of this story, what would be the different locations you would
have to go to to tell the story?)
4. (a) When, in general, does the story take place? While you may have to give some thought
as to how to answer this question about the general time setting of this story, the author actually
gives us some very specific information about when the events of the story occur. (b) What
specific time information does she provide?
5. Make a brief informal outline of the events in the story organized by the different settings. An
informal outline is like a list. You don’t need full sentences. Making the outline helps you
organize the events of the story in your head and helps you remember what happened. Do this
in your own way. A successful informal outline will include all the major elements of the story. No
details are necessary.
Description & Vocabulary
How does the author use descriptive vocabulary to create a picture in the reader’s mind?
6. How does the author describe Shen laoshi? Choose 3 descriptive verbs the author uses to
describe the teacher’s movements. For each verb you choose:
• On the handout, circle the verb and underline the entire sentence in which it appears. Write
“6” next to these sentences so I know which question you are answering.
• On your homework document, write each verb and its definition. Copy the definition from one
of the dictionaries on our class Blackboard page. (Because words can be more than one part
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of speech and can have different meanings, be sure that you are copying the definition that
best fits the meaning of the word as it is used in the context of the story.)
7. How does the author describe the teacher’s actions, brushstrokes, and/or the painted bird?
Choose 3 descriptive adjectives that help the reader to picture the painting and/or the teacher’s
painting technique. For each adjective you choose:
• On the handout, circle the adjective and underline the entire sentence in which it appears.
Write “7” next to these sentences so I know which question you are answering.
• On your homework document, write each adjective and its definition. Copy the definition from
one of the dictionaries on our class Blackboard page. (Because words can be more than one
part of speech and can have different meanings, be sure that you are copying the definition
that best fits the meaning of the word as it is used in the context of the story.)
8. Which sentence from another part of the story (i.e., from a part of the story that does not take
place in the classroom) gives you a strong and vivid picture or understanding in your mind?
• On the handout, underline the entire sentence and write “8” next to it.
• On the homework document, explain why you like this sentence and how it enriches the story
or serves the author’s purpose.
9. The five senses: Find places in the text where the uses the different senses to give
• On the handout, Underline 3 sentences. Write the sense next to the sentence. For a
description relying the visual, write “sight.” For a description relying on sound, write “hearing.”
For a description relying on feeling a physical sensation, write “touch.”
10. There are no direct descriptions for “smell” or for “taste.” However, the story does mention
things that could have a smell or a taste. Can you write one descriptive sentence for smell or for
taste that might fit into the story?
• On your homework document, write the sentence.
• On the handout, write “smell” or “taste” where you think your sentence might fit.
11. In a short paragraph, discuss why you think the author named this story “Like Magic.”
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