Ender's Game

Grade Level: 
8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Civil Society
Fiction Literature
Philanthropic Literature
Book Title: Ender's Game / Author: Orson Scott Card This literature guide was written by teens for teens to accompany the reading of this "resilience literature." The guide below provides before, during, and after-reading discussion questions to guide reading comprehension and promote dialogue about issues of resilience, trust, independence, family, and community. This guide was written as an assignment in Mrs. Gresham's 11th grade literature class, and includes suggestions for community engagement.

Reading Level: Ages 12+

This literature guide was created as part of an 11th grade project at Castle Park High School in Indiana. The students chose the book to read, produced a video book talk (link below) and wrote the following questions and project ideas to stimulate thought and action about real issues.

Book Talk for Ender's Game



  1. Describe a historical example of ruthlessness.
  2. Relate a game you play/played as a child to something you have done, or something that has happened, in the real world.
  3. Who do you think of when you think of compassion? Why do you think of that person?
  4. What is your biggest fear?


Imagine leaving home for the first time, what would you feel and think?

During Reading


  1. What are the pros and cons of government control of family planning, as used in this book and in real-life China?
  2. What are the skills of Ender that cause him to move up quickly?
  3. What are some of the problems that arise when Ender interacts with Bonzo? How could problems be prevented?
  4. How is Ender’s experience in Salamander different from his time spent in the Rat Army?
  5. What might have been the reasoning behind Graff’s efforts to single out Ender? Why does Ender respond the way he does?
  6. Why might Peter want to use a pseudonym to gain more respect on the nets?
  7. Ender is angered by the thought of Valentine being used against him. Feeling stronger than before, what decision does Ender make?
  8. The battle room is poorly lit and Ender has to lead his army through to victory. How does Ender show he trusts his soldiers?
  9. Students at Battle School focus primarily on strategies used against the buggers. Why is Ender paying more attention to the buggers themselves?
  10. Despite his age, Bean is one of Dragon Army’s best soldiers. How do you think this affected Ender’s decision to have him train others?
  11. Petra warned Ender about the other commanders wanting to inflict harm. How did Ender choose to respond?
  12. Ender has to play his last “game” in front a panel of important Fleet members. How are the circumstances different this time?
  13. Ender has a mental breakdown after enduring harsh conditions and lack of sleep for years on end. Which event pushes Ender past his breaking point?


  1. Sibling rivalry is evident throughout the novel, between Ender and Peter as well as between Peter and Valentine. How does their sibling rivalry relate to your own life?
  2. The nets are the means Valentine and Peter use to spread their ideas throughout the world and gain their immense followings and recognition. How do people in our time spread their ideas?
  3. Friendship is an important thing for Ender when he is singled out in Battle School. It helps to sustain him through some difficult times. Do you have close friends that support you at all times? Describe a time when your friends helped you through something difficult.
  4. What qualities make a great leader in your own opinion? Which of the qualities on your list does Ender possess, and which ones does he lack?



  1. How do Peter and Locke’s attitudes and opinions contrast with one another throughout the novel? How do these reflect the contrast between Peter and Valentine?
  2. Is genocide, the annihilation of an entire race, ever justified? Does it change if the other race is alien?
  3. What are your feelings about the buggers at the end of the novel compared to your opinion of them at the beginning?
  4. Would you recommend this book to those who say they dislike science fiction books? Why or why not?


  1. At the end of the novel, Ender "runs himself into the ground." Describe a time when you exceeded your personal limits. How did you refresh yourself? How did Ender?
  2. Have you ever been faced with a decision where rules or duty didn't match what feels right, as Ender often had to face?
  3. Is there anyone in your life with whom you have such a close relationship that you would do anything for him or her?



  1. Set up a drive to collect food or personal items for people in the military or the family members of those in the military.
  2. Play a strategy game with friends, either a video game or a board game. Discuss how the game relates to real-life decisions.
  3. Write a letter to a veteran or someone currently serving in the armed forces.
  4. Hold a forum about a current issue related to a conflict in the world. Invite speakers, plan the event, and raise awareness about it to bring in participants.