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Speak. By Laurie Halse Anderson. Anticipation Guide. It is never socially acceptable to call the police while at a party. 2. Silence is the best way to deal with problems. 3. Art class is useless unless you are going to be an artist.

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By Laurie Halse Anderson

Anticipation Guide

  • It is never socially acceptable to call the police while at a party.

    2. Silence is the best way to deal with problems.

    3. Art class is useless unless you are going to be an artist.

    4. People are different on the inside than they appear on the outside.

    5. Keeping silent can be more powerful than speaking.

About the Novel: Speak

Author: Laurie Halse Anderson

Protagonist and Narrator: Melinda Sordino

Point of View: first person

Genre: Coming-of-Age (Bildungsroman)

  • A bildungsroman is a story where a protagonist grows psychologically, morally, and physically

    Setting Place: Syracuse, New York, Merryweather High School of Melinda Sordino, present day

    Setting Time: Melinda’s freshmen year

Speak Themes

  • Language and Communication

  • Isolation

  • Violence

  • Friendship and Betrayal

  • Depression

  • Transformation and Coming-of-Age

  • Guilt and Blame

Speak Motifs

  • A motif is a recurring idea, symbol, or image which often reveals theme.

  • Predator and Prey

  • Communication, Mouths/Lips, Speaking

  • Trees and art work

  • Mirrors

“Marking Period 1”



  • adjective

  • Not noticeable or prominent

  • The secret agent had to be very INCONSPICUOUS as he did his research.


  • verb

  • To reconstruct or recompose; to return to the liquid state by adding water

  • The RECONSTITUTED mashed potatoes that the cafeteria serves are disgusting!


  • noun

  • The state of being hopeless or depressed

  • It was an act of DESPARATION.


  • verb

  • To think about seriously; to deliberate or meditate

  • She PONDERED seriously over her choice of college.


  • adjective

  • To be careful, considerate, or respectful of others’ privacy

  • The teacher was very DISCREET when she handed back the papers to the student.


  • adverb

  • seriously

  • She SOLEMNLY swore that she would finish the test.


  • adverb

  • Unclearly

  • He VAGUELY remembered the day of her birth.


  • verb

  • To make a mistake or to struggle

  • The judges in the Salem witch trials did not want anyone to know that they were FLOUNDERING.


  • adverb

  • To do at the same time; as one

  • They SIMULTANEOUSLY raised their hands.


  • noun

  • Chaos and confusion

  • During the hurricane, it was MAYHEM.

“Marking Period 3”and “Marking Period 4”vocabulary


  • noun

  • A riddle, the answer to which involves a pun or play on words (What is black and white and read all over? A newspaper)

  • A puzzling question or problem

    When both of her friends’ birthday parties were on the same day, she was in a CONUNDRUM.


  • noun

  • A criminal offense defined as less serious than a felony

  • An instance of misbehavior

    Not paying her parking tickets was considered a MISDEMEANOR.


  • verb

  • To begin to grow or develop

  • In Botany, to develop into a plant; to sprout

  • The seeds in the garden were finally GERMINATING.


  • verb

  • To cause to die or lose consciousness by impairing normal breathing, as by gas or choking

  • Many Holocaust prisoners were ASPHYXIATED in gas chambers.


  • adjective

  • Characterized by melancholy, longing

  • Sadly reflective

  • After his grandmother died, he was very WISTFUL as he pondered about their pastime.


  • noun

  • lack of eagerness or willingness; the act of rebelling or struggling against

  • She had RELUCTANCE about going to the party.


  • adjective

  • persistent; stubborn; tough

  • Her TENACIOUS personality allowed her to get what she wanted in life.


  • noun

  • A female supporter of the cause of women’s voting rights

  • The SUFFRAGETTES advocated for women’s rights to vote.


  • noun

  • One who commits wrongful, illegal, or antisocial behavior

  • She was always getting in trouble and was known as a DELINQUENT in her school.


  • noun

  • A specialist in the care of trees and shrubs

  • Since the trees in our yard were dying, we hired an ARBORIST.

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