Discussion Guide for Rules by Cynthia Lord Summary: Catherine keeps a notebook with rules for David. Rules like: 1. If someone says “hi” say “hi” back. 2. Chew with your mouth closed. 3. Say “thank you” when someone gives you a present (even if you don’t like it). 4. If the bathroom door is closed, knock. 5. No toys in the fish tank. 6. Sometimes people laugh because they like you. But sometimes they laugh to hurt you. “Let’s go to the video store,” says David. The video store is David’s favorite place. He runs around reading all the ratings on the backs of the boxes, even the ones other people are holding. The hardest is when he kneels down in the aisle to read the box someone is holding. He is oblivious to the looks people give him. “No one cares,” says Dad but he’s wrong they do care, thinks Catherine. Catherine wants to make friends with the new girl who is moving in next-door this summer and she doesn’t want David to mess it up. But sometimes you can’t predict whom you will become friends with. She gives a picture she was drawing to a boy at David’s occupational therapy and starts a friendship. Everything is fine until the new girl next door sees Catherine with Jason her new friend from occupational therapy and Catherine doesn’t know how to act. Discussion Questions: 1. What expectations do you have from the book cove r? 2. When you hear the word “rules,” how do you feel and what comes to your mind? 3. Are rules necessary in some situations? What good purposes do they serve? When can rules be negative things? 4. Name some rules in your life? What rules you your parents have for you? Are there rules in your classroom or library? 5. Do you have rules for yourself? 6. What did you like best and least about this book? 7. Do you have rules for yourself? 8. Do you have a favorite rule from Catherine’s list? 9. Do you know anyone or does anyone in your family have a disability? How does this affect your family? 10. Are you surprised by Catherine’s feelings about David? 11. What are Catherine’s strengths? What are her weaknesses? How do her weaknesses cause events to worsen in the story? 12. Name at least three characters who exhibit prejudice in RULES. What do they say or do, which shows this prejudice? 13. What are Catherine’s feelings about Jason? 14. Why does Catherine try to hide from Kristi in the park? What would you have done? 15. What do you think would have happened if Catherine had been honest right away with Kristi and told her about Jason? Why wasn’t Catherine honest? What do you think she was afraid of? 16. Catherine is not the only character in the story that is not always honest. How do the other characters avoid dealing with problems or act in ways that are not completely truthful? 17. Do you think it’s true that “Leaving out isn’t the same as lying? If not, is it ever true? 18. Is Catherine a good friend? Why or why not? 19. Jason thinks he embarrasses Catherine. Does he? 20. Would you be mad at Catherine if you were Jason? 21. Catherine is worried Kristi will make fun of David. Do you think she will if given the chance? 22. What choices does Catherine make near the end of the book that show growth on her part? 23. Do you think Catherine and Kristi can be friends in the future? Should Catherine try to be friends with Kristi? 24. If Catherine were to write a rule at the very end of the book, what do you think it would be? 25. Have you ever had a conflict with a new friend? How did you resolve it? 26. Have you ever had to choose between two friends? What did you do? 27. What are the ways water is important in the book? 28. What are some of the different modes of communication in the book? 29. How are wishing and magic part of this book? Activity: Write three rules for your sibling like Katherine did for her brother.