illustration of half dog half shark with text reading a super secret story from the notebook of doom

Our BFF Is a Monster

Enjoy a super-secret story from “The Notebook of Doom.”

By Troy Cummings
From the September 2020 Issue
Lexiles: 370L
Guided Reading Level: K
DRA Level: 16-18
Vocabulary: cooperate, trust

Our BFF is a Monster

By Troy Cummings

Members of the Super-Secret Monster Patrol:


Leader of the group


Quick and brave


Loud and loud

video (2)
video (2)
Slideshows (1)
Activities (5)
video (2)
video (2)
Slideshows (1)
Activities (5) Download All Quizzes and Activities

About the Story

Social-emotional Learning Focus

Friendship, Coorperation, Kindness

Step-by-Step Lesson Plan


The big question of this issue of Storyworks 2 is: What makes a good friend?

  • Reading and discussing “Our BFF Is a Monster” along with the other friendship-themed texts in the magazine (the nonfiction article “How to Save a Cheetah’s Life,” the fiction story “The Popsicle Stick Bridge,” and the poem “Shy”) should give kids wonderful insight into what it means to be a good friend.
  • Through the various genres, students will discuss: How do friends behave with each other? Do friends have to be the same? Or can they be different? What does it mean to be a good friend?
  •  “Our BFF Is a Monster” also stands on its own. It’s not only super fun, but it also gives kids great experience reading and thinking about graphic novels as a literary form.


Choose a Video (We have two!) (10 minutes)

1. “What Makes a Good Friend?” (This video also goes with other stories in this month’s Storyworks 2.)

  • Before your students watch, ask them to think about: “Do friends have to be the same? Or can friends be different?”
  • Watch the video.
  • After watching, ask the questions again. Write students’ ideas on chart paper.

2. “What’s in a Comic?”

  • Our second video teaches kids about the features of a comic.
  • Before watching, tell kids to look out for four features they might find in a comic.
  • After watching, ask for kids’ help to fill out a list of comic features on chart paper. The features mentioned in the video are: panels, speech bubbles, thought bubbles, and onomatopoeia.
  • Tell kids to look for those features in “Our BFF Is a Monster.” They can fill in our “Comic Features Hunt” skills sheet after reading.

Preview Vocabulary (3-15 minutes)

  • Play the online vocabulary slideshow. This story’s featured words are trust and cooperate. They also appear in this month’s article “How to Save a Cheetah’s Life,” giving kids practice with the words in various contexts.

Set a Purpose for Reading (5 minutes)

  • Open your magazines to “Our BFF Is a Monster.” Ask kids: What kind of story is this? (a comic, or mini graphic novel)
  • Next, read the Think and Read prompt on page 14: “As you read, think about if the kids are good friends to the monster. If so, how?” Encourage children to think about this prompt as they read.


  • Kids can read this story individually, in small groups, or as a class.
  • Point out the context clues that help define the bold vocabulary words. For example, after the bold word cooperate, you can find the phrase “We work together,” which helps to define the word.


Extend the Story With an Activity (20 minutes)

  • Kids can “finish” the story with the “What Happens Next?” printable. They’ll fill in the voice bubbles for the characters and create their own comic panel.
  • This activity sneaks in the skill of making inferences. If the bark-shark and kids are friends, what might they do next?

Assessment: Quiz (10 minutes)

  • Pass out the quiz to assess comprehension of the article. We also offer a lower-level quiz.

ELA Focus: Vocabulary (10-15 minutes)

  • Use the Word Work printable to deepen students’ understanding of the vocabulary words cooperate and trust.

Read Other Books in the Series (time varies)

  • “Our BFF Is a Monster” is a stand-alone story and is easy to understand with no prior knowledge. But it is also part of the Binder of Doom/Notebook of Doom series by Troy Cummings!
  • Check out books in this series from the library. These early chapter books are written just for second-graders.

Enrich the Learning: Paired Text Opportunities (time amount varies)

Making text-to-text connections builds knowledge and comprehension. We layer Storyworks 2 with many ways for your students to make connections.

Paired Texts 1 and 2 How to Save a Cheetah’s Life  and The Popsicle Stick Bridge 

  • These stories ask similar questions to those of “Our BFF Is a Monster.” Who are the friends in these stories? How do they act as friends?
  • Kids can compare the actions of the characters in “Our BFF Is a Monster” with those of Remus and Kris in “How to Save a Cheetah’s Life” and of Jen and Billy in “The Popsicle Stick Bridge” using our “Do a Friend Chart” printable. How are the friends alike and different?