The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton

Multimodal Text - CURR 520- Tracey Bunce

Description of Text

The Outsiders is a novel written in the 60’s by S.E. Hinton. It is centered around a power struggle between two gangs; the greasers and the socs (socials). Ponyboy, a Greaser, is the narrator and one of the novel’s protagonists. Aside from the rivalry, he and his Greasers deal with many other issues. They are dirt poor, many without parents who care. In fact, Ponyboy and his brothers live alone after their parents died in a car crash. Darry, the oldest brother, takes care of Ponyboy and Sodapop. Ponyboy and Darry don’t always get along and one night after running out on an argument, Ponyboy and Johnny (another Greaser) get jumped by a large group of Socs lead by a boy named Bob. Johnny ends up stabbing and killing Bob to save Ponyboy’s life and the two have to run away, disguise themselves, and spend time hiding in a church in another town. They live at the church for awhile until one day when it catches fire. Upon seeing the church in flames, Ponyboy, Johnny and their friend Darry are about to run when they hear young children inside. The three risk their lives to go in and save these children, Johnny getting very badly hurt and eventually dying. It is a story of life, growing up, and struggle that is at a early middle school reading level but interesting for readers at any level.

Texts to Pair With The Outsiders

Means for Motivating Readers

  • Have students make a reader's theatre or debate based on the rivalry between two gangs, but in their present day and time.
  • Have students do a webquest on 1960's culture and create an online collage of what the outsider gangs would have seen on an every day basis.
  • Have students create book trailers or watch book trailers on this novel ( , and many more)
  • Watch the movie and compare the two mediums

Means for Students to Create a Multimodal Response

Blog - This novel is loosely framed by Ponyboy's writing assignment in ELA. He is "telling the story" through writing it. Students can create a blog of the story or parts of the story from a different character's point of view - what if this was an assignment in Darry's class or Johnny's class? What would they write and how would they respond?


Prezi- Students can create a Prezi on multiple aspects of The Outsiders , such as the time period (using non-fiction text to support information and research), any particular scenes, or literary elements used within the novel. Perhaps, they could create a Prezi on major themes in the novel and how middle school students still deal with many of the same ideas even today!

Comic/graphic novel - Students will love creating their own comic book or graphic novel of a particular scene or chapter of The Outsiders. They can choose a scene that they think was the most important in the novel or a turning point for the development of one of the characters. They can switch points of view (such as we did with the blog) or develop a new character. They can also create a comic of what might have happened after the novel- how did Ponyboy continue to grow up?

Game - Students can create a game based on the novel. An example of this would be a game that pitted the two gangs against each other. They can also create review games such as jeopardy!

Rap - As pop culture knows, rap is synonymous with gangs in our day and age. Students can create raps based on a number of elements within this novel or about this story. They can also extend rap to a lesson on poetry.

Drama - Students can act out scenes, create new scenes, and be the star of the show! They can hold debates between essential characters or be in the hotseat while students ask them questions as if they were a character in this story.

Standards and Curriculum

Teacher Resources for Multimodal Literacy

Page by: Tracey Bunce

This page was made as a final project for a graduate class at SUNY Geneseo.