Double Detention!
Reading Comprehension Activity

Author: RV Staff Writer J.C.

Good-natured and exuberant Ralphie finds himself with not one but two detentions! How will he handle this predicament? After reading the passage, students will answer questions on the theme and the plot.

Topic(s): Realistic Fiction. Skill(s): Theme, Summary, Story Elements. Genre(s): Prose

Click for the passage & questions on one printable PDF.


Ralphie was getting bored in his geography class. Mr. Hudson projected a map of Europe up on the whiteboard, and asked someone to turn off the lights so they could see it better. “I’ll do it,” said Ralphie, and he popped a paper spitball into a straw and blew it at the light switch. It missed, and landed in Mira’s hair instead. Mira screamed in disgust. The other students snickered. Mr. Hudson was annoyed.

“Detention, Ralph.” He wrote up a pink detention slip and slapped it on the boy’s desk. Then he continued with his lesson.

“I was only trying to turn off the lights!” Ralphie protested. The teacher did not want to hear it.

“See you after school. Don’t be late.”

Math class was next. Ralphie was pretty good at math, so he started to cheer up. He had done his homework, so when Mrs. Addison asked for a student to solve a problem at the blackboard, Ralphie didn’t hesitate.

He jumped out of his seat and announced in a loud voice, “I volunteer as Tribute!” His friends burst out laughing. Mrs. Addison looked at him sternly over the tops of her glasses. Uh-oh, thought Ralphie.

“We do not yell in math class, Ralph. Not another peep out of you, young man.” She turned back to the board.

“It’s from The Hunger Games …” he tried to explain.

“That’s quite enough! Detention, Ralph.” The math teacher reached for her stack of detention slips and wrote his name down. “After school. Don’t be late.”

“Oh man,” muttered Ralphie. “How do I go to two detentions at the same time?”

When the bell rang at the end of the day, Ralphie went to see Mr. Hudson first. The teacher told Ralphie to sit down. The boy did so, and folded his hands in his lap for a minute or two. Then he raised one and said, “Sir? Can I be excused to go to the washroom?” Mr. Hudson nodded.

Once in the hallway, Ralphie raced over to Mrs. Addison’s room. “Sit down, Ralph, and keep quiet please.” Again, Ralphie took a seat and was silent for a few minutes. Again, he raised his hand and asked to use the washroom. Mrs. Addison agreed, and Ralphie headed back to Mr. Hudson’s room. On the way, he decided he did actually need to use the washroom. He went inside, locking the door behind him.

After washing his hands, he tried to open the door, but found the lock was stuck. He wiggled it. He jiggled it. He even threw his body against it like he saw people breaking down doors on television. No luck. He was stuck.

 The teachers were going to start wondering about him. Panicking, Ralphie scoured the room for ideas. There was a small window; maybe he could fit though and get outside? He took a plunger from the corner and used it to prop the window open. He climbed up on the sink and pulled himself through the bathroom window. He braced himself and jumped the five feet to the ground below.

He was out, but now he needed to get back inside the school and return to his detentions! He ran to the front doors, but most of the teachers and office staff had already gone home and all the doors were locked. What was he going to do? And worse, how much trouble was he in now?

Comprehension Questions

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