The Word Collector Literature Guide

Grade Level: 
PreK, K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Common Good
by Peter H. Reynolds - A guide for parents, teachers, and group leaders to accompany the reading of this picture book. The guide below provides before, during, and after-reading discussion questions. Choose from activities and discussion questions to build children's understanding of the power of words to do good.

In this book, Jerome discovers the magic of words all around him and begins a journey to collect all types of words. Jerome talks with family, friends, neighbors, classmates and almost anyone he meets to collect their favorite words. Jerome finds words so interesting, he starts a journal and then flashcards writing down all the words he learns. Jerome loves sharing the words he has collected with others. Words help him communicate with people better, and he starts to use them to write poetry and brighten the world with his goodness.

Literature Guide by Joyce Matthews

Before Reading

Ask: What are some of YOUR favorite words? Do you have any favorite collections?  

Show: Read some of the words on the cover with me; how would you describe these words?  How else can you describe them? Jerome loves words so much, he writes them down on pieces of paper, cards, and in a journal. Do you think Jerome is being generous when he shares his favorite words? Why or why not? What is kind about asking others to share their favorite words? 

Connect: What words did you think about as you read some of Jerome’s words?  What words would you give Jerome?

During Reading

Ask: How do you think Jerome feels when he finds a word he likes? What does he like about them? What does he do with them? How do his words make things better?

Show: Look at the page when he sends up his words in the wind. Why did he share his words? Why did it make him happy?

Connect: When Jerome puts words together, he realizes some of the simplest are the most powerful. What are 5 simple words that are powerful for connecting and understanding others?

After Reading

Ask: Words have power. They help us communicate, make poetry, and make things better. The more words he knew the better he could tell others what he was thinking and feeling. How do words help us get along? Is Jerome's heavy cart of words a burden or richness? Why?

Show:  Look at the words on the pages. What are some words you like the sound of? What are words you’d like to know the meaning of? What are some words that make the world a better place?

Connect: What do you think and feel about the job of words after reading this book?  How do you plan to use words to make a difference?  Are you going to be a “Word Collector?”  Why or why not?  


  1. Write a description of this book. What do you want others to know about Jerome and words?
  2. Jerome is NOT the only one who loves words. Find out who else is a “Word Collector.” Watch this YouTube video of some famous people telling why they love words. President Obama said that words have power. Talk about what that means to him. 
  3. What are YOUR TOP twenty words? Create your own picture book or video. Use some favorite photos toillustrate the words you like.
  4. A “noun” is a word that identifies people, places, or things. What are your TOP Ten nouns for each one of these categories?
  5. Make a poem by arranging books or food packages in an order that makes some sense: Line them up to form ideas.
  6. Write a poem to “tell the world who you are and how you will make the world better.”