Invisible Isabella
Reading Comprehension Activity

Author: RV Staff Writer J.C.

Something strange happens to Isabella whenever she looks at something scary. What does it mean? This open-ended passage allows students to speculate on what is happening to the main character and why and then write the next portion of the story.

Topic(s): Mystery / Suspense, Science Fiction / Fantasy. Skill(s): Summary, Story Elements. Genre(s): Prose

Click for the passage & questions on one printable PDF.


It happened the first time at the art gallery. Isabella was on a field trip with her class, and they were looking at some paintings by famous artists. A small painting off to the side of the room caught Isabella’s eye, and she walked away from her group to take a closer look. The twisted figures of the dark creepy gargoyles glared down at her from their perch on the edge of the old stone castle. The strange feeling made her shiver. Inside, she felt like she was floating away. On the outside, though, something else was happening.

“Come on, class, let’s move along to the next room,” said the teacher. The children gathered around and shuffled away toward the next exhibit. The teacher counted heads. “We’re missing someone,” she said.

The children looked around. “Isabella’s gone,” said Penny. Some kids called her name.  

Isabella turned from the painting and called to her group. “Here I am,” she said. But nobody seemed to hear her. She walked in front of Penny and smiled. “I’m right here, Penny.”

But her friend didn’t notice her, and frowned. “Maybe Isabella went ahead into the next room,” said Penny. The teacher agreed, and the group moved along.

Isabella didn’t understand. As she passed through the room, she realized she couldn’t see herself reflected in the glass window. She touched her face, but both her hand and her face were not visible in the glass. The weird floating feeling left her, and as it did, she watched her reflection slowly return.

The teacher returned to the room, still searching. “There you are, Isabella,” she said with impatience. “Where have you been hiding?”

“I was here the whole time,” protested the girl.

“No, you weren’t,” said the teacher. “This area was empty. Now come along!” Isabella hurried out after her teacher to rejoin the group.

The next time it happened, Isabella was at a sleepover with Penny and some friends. The girls were in their pajamas and eating bowls of popcorn. They were getting ready to watch a spooky vampire movie.

Halfway through the film, one of the vampires turned suddenly toward the camera and gave an evil stare. The girls watching on the couch gave a little jump of fright, but Isabella felt something more. She shivered. That strange, floaty feeling had returned. She looked at her friends but they were watching the TV.

“Pass me the popcorn, please,” she said. Her friends didn’t hear her. She stood up and waved her arms wildly. “Guys! Hey! Look at me!” Isabella nearly shouted. Still her friends didn’t notice, looking right through her as if she was – “Oh no!” cried Isabella.

The girl hurried into the nearby bathroom. She peered into the mirror, but she couldn’t see herself in it. She looked at her hands, but there was nothing to see. “How can this be happening?” she asked aloud. She began to cry and grabbed some tissues to wipe her eyes. The strange feeling was soon replaced by one of sadness. When Isabella looked at the mirror again, there was her own face looking back at her once again.

She walked back to her friends. “There you are, Isabella!” called Penny. “You are always disappearing on us!”

Isabella took a deep breath. “Guys, I have something to tell you …”

Comprehension Questions

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