Terri Farley
HomeBooksThe AuthorConnectEducationWild Horses


Connecting With the Text

  1. Samantha Forster has called both San Francisco and River Bend Ranch home. The Phantom lived happily on the ranch, but now calls the range his home. What makes a place a home? Which places have you called home?
  2. What are the best and worst things which have happened to Sam in the book, so far? Which experiences would you like to have and which would you really like to avoid?
  3. Samantha Forster , Jake Ely , Wyatt Forster (Sam's dad), Dallas, Gram, Brynna Olson and Linc Slocum are major characters in the Phantom Stallion series. In your notebook, before discussion begins, make a list of 2 - 3 words which describe each character. During discussion, compare your ideas with those of your classmates. Which characters do you like? Dislike? Why? Which character is most like you? Do any of the characters share personality traits with people you know?
  4. When Sam returns home after a two year absence, she has to prove she's no longer a child. How does she do this? What mistakes does she make along the way? When you want to prove to your family, friends or teacher that you are more grown-up than they think, how do you do it? Does it work? Explain.
  5. The Phantom Stallion has several names. At birth, he was named Blackie. Later, Sam gave him a secret name. Now, some people call him the Phantom. Others see him as one of hundreds of nameless wild horses and call him and horses like him "range rats."
    1. People, too, may have different names. Example: at school, a student is Jessica Jones, but at home, her mother calls her Jessie-bug. Do you have any names other than the one on your teacher's class list? What are they ?
    2. Your personality may vary, slightly, depending on where you are and who you have for companions. Example: Most people talk differently to their friends than they do to their grandparents. How do your actions and speech change depending on your companions?

Teacher Tips:

  1. These discussions should be led by you. You should hold this sheet and guide students through, step by step.
  2. Questions may be used with any books from the Phantom Stallion series. Answers will, of course, vary with student level and experience. These questions should be used to access student involvement with the text rather than an evaluation tool.
  3. Extending the discussion:
    1. Have students draw a setting map for the River Bend Ranch. Compare student maps, and assign students to draw a map of their personal setting. This should include at least a one-block area, but could encompass more. Encourage students to compare and contrast their settings with the characters' home territory.
    2. Draw a life map for Sam, based on the flashbacks and current events in the story. This could look like a board game, with squares for different events, but student maps may look like time lines, etc. Any visualization will work.

    Next, have students create their own life maps and compare. Maps could include color illustration (magazine cut-outs and computer art) and a 3-D component. This means kids will probably glue something to paper. These little extras can get lost, but they go far to personalize the project. Illustrations can be wildly creative: stick figures cradling babies, "wrong way" and "under construction" road signs, crosses and weeping faces for deaths, etc. Given time, most students really get into this activity.