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Neila in the Neighborhood

Build literacy skills with this fun role play activity! Students read a play script and answer key questions with followup activities


Grade Level: 3-6

MaterialsPrintable Student Handout Script 

Story Preview:

Additional Resources

Some scientists admit they would be surprised if there are not aliens out there looking up at the sky and wondering about other creatures, just like us! If your students want to learn more about the search for aliens, point them to The Quest for Life, a PBS Web site. Here, they will walk in the virtual shoes of astronauts on a simulated mission to Mars, learn about meteorites and impact craters, and read essays about values, vision, and faith by experts in the field.

As this story unfolds, readers discover that Neila is an alien on her way home from a trip. She stops to find food in a small town and visits a store, library, school, restaurant, gas station, and bank. Everywhere she goes, Neila's confusion and odd behavior cause chaos.


Narrator, Store Clerk, Neila, Librarian, Little Boy, Mother, Principal, Cafeteria Worker, Sammy, Attendant, Bank Teller


present day, small town




  • intercom: a communication system linking different rooms within a building
  • gigantic: large in size
  • aroma: a pleasant odor
  • foreign exchange student: student who visits and attends classes in another country
  • delectable: tasty
  • attendant: employee or helper
  • hybrid: a vehicle that combines two or more sources of power


none required

Follow-Up Questions:

  • What is Neila? How do you know?
  • Where did Neila first look for food?
  • Why did Neila call the principal "sweetie"?
  • What did Neila order at Sammy's drive-thru?
  • What kind of vehicle was Neila driving?
  • What did Neila put in the teller's drawer?
  • Why did the teller give her money?
  • How would you translate "Blugh! Igs spu urgus blee hot dog!"?

Follow-Up Activity:

It's fun to experiment with made-up languages. Invite students to pair up or work in small groups to develop a list of ten new words and definitions for those words. Encourage students to consider what nouns, verbs, and so on, they feel are most important to basic communication, how the words will go together to convey meaning, and how they can remember their new "language." Will the new words resemble their English equivalents or follow a pattern, or will they require memorization? Discuss the new "languages" and invite students to share a few of their favorite new words.

Article by Cara Bafile
Education World®
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