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Interpretive & Question-based Independent Reading Endeavor

Your Name

Sample Student


Title of Text

“Popular Mechanics”

Chapter Name/Number


Page Number(s) of Chapter/Excerpt

(Entire story)


Summary of Chapter/Excerpt

This story is called “Popular Mechanics.”  It is about two people, a man and a woman, who seem to be

separating.  The man is leaving the woman, and she seems to be happy about it.  However, both characters

decide they want the baby in the story.  A fight begins verbally, but eventually gets physical until both

the man and the woman are pulling on the baby and hurting him.  The story ends as both characters are

pulling back hard while refusing to let go of the baby.








Text explicit (“right there”) questions

What does the couple fight over in the story?

What are the two main characters’ names?



Text implicit (“read-between-the-lines”) questions

Why is the man leaving?  Explain why you think so.

What is the relationship between the man and woman?

What happens to the baby?  Justify your answer.


Text significance (“interpret an element”) questions

Why doesn’t the author tell us what happens at the end?

Why is the story called “Popular Mechanics?”



Thematic connection (“universal statement”) questions

What is the point of this story?

What theme(s) does the story touch on?



Answers to text explicit questions

They fight over a baby.

They don’t have names.  They’re called “he” and “she.”





Answers to text implicit questions

I think the man is leaving because he cheated on the woman.  I think this because she’s happy he’s

leaving, and she’s clearly very mad at him (she swears at him).  Also, because he’s the one who is leaving

and not her, I think that shows that he’s the one who did something wrong.


I think the man and woman are husband and wife because they live together and have a child.


I think the baby dies because at the end of the story neither parent is giving up and both are pulling hard

on the baby’s arms.  I think they either split the baby apart or the baby slipped out of both of their hands

and fell.

Answers to text significance questions

I don’t think the author needs to tell us what happens for us to understand what happens.  I also think he

does this because since we have to think about what happens for ourselves, then we’re more likely to

think about why it happened.


If “mechanics” means “the way things work,” and the story is called “Popular Mechanics,” I think the

author might mean that what happens in the story is a very popular (although not good) way for things

to work out between two people, that when people are separating and there’s a child involved that often

the one who gets hurt is the child.

Answers to thematic connection questions

I think the point of this story is to show that when adults fight, the real consequence is that they hurt

others (like the baby) they weren’t really intending on hurting. 


A theme this story touches on is the theme of parenthood, and in this case, what not to do if you want

to be a good parent.  A good parent wouldn’t let his/her own problems cause harm to the child.





slushy:  having the quality of being soft, squishy, and mushy;  in the story the word “slushed” is used

and I think this means that the cars are moving through slushy snow and making a mess