Man's Best Friend

Sunday, November 16, 2014

I have a student this year who is on the hunt for all chapter books with a dog. As luck would have it, I happen to teach a few books that have a dog as a central character. Books with dogs are great books to share with your class because it is usually easy to get both boys and girls interested in the story.

The dog and main human character rely on each other and develop a deep friendship, and the human (usually a child about the same age as our students) has to take responsibility for the animal. These themes of companionship, trust, responsibility, and independence can be found in many animal books and are reasons I think kids love to read books with animal characters.

One drawback to the dog books is often an animal dies, so be aware if you have a particularly tender-hearted teacher student in your class who might start crying in front of others at the end of the story. 
Below is a list of dog-centered chapter books that I like to use in the classroom as a read aloud or novel study: 

A few favorite activities I use with the dog books I teach could easily be adapted for other novel studies:
One activity I have been using for a long time is to have students write point of view journals as we read a novel. It is an activity that works well for different novels, but it is particularly successful with The Incredible Journey.

Students pick one animal after reading the first few chapters of the book. After we complete each chapter, the students retell the chapter from the point of view of their chosen animal. We share one journal from each animal every day and compare the different versions of the story depending on which animal's journal we hear. Students love comparing and contrasting the scenes in the story based on Luath, Bodger, or Tao's viewpoint. Students also love making the foldable burrito books that they use to write their incredible journals!

Another great assignment to help with citing textual evidence is to have students draw a "map" of a specific character's journey based on details in the text. With the novel, Stone Fox, students draw and label the race course based on clues in the story. There are many novels that involve a journey of some kind, and drawing and labeling the character's route using details from the story is an activity that requires close reading.

Do you read any animal books to your students? Are they successful?



  1. Shiloh and Stone Fox are my favorites!!!!!! Thanks for sharing!
    Rockin Resources Blog

    1. Kavik is my favorite and Stone Fox is a close second. Dog books are hard to dislike!