Thursday, October 6, 2011


When "A" started school this year he was handed a free copy of Because of Winn Dixie by Kate Dicamillo. It turns out his school has what is called an All School Read, where ever child gets the same book and a reading schedule. This way it encourages parents to read with children, all the children in the school have read the same book so book discussion can take place, and it creates an environment that supports literacy. I had never heard of an All School Read but I love the concept. When I saw what book it was I got even more excited. I love Kate Dicamillo. She is such a powerful writer but she kids still find her accessible. She wrote my favorite book of all time: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. Her books have nuggets of wisdom that really resonate with adults.

When I read aloud a big chapter book to my five year old I find it beneficial to stop every two chapters and recap. I normally ask some comprehension questions at this time to make sure it isn't above his understanding. I lucked out and found some great tri-fold questionnaire that goes along with the book at an elementary school. The tri-folds are full of graphic organizers and really utilize Bloom's Taxonomy type questions. If you are unfamiliar with Bloom's Taxonomy it is a tiered system educators use to increase levels of cognitive thinking. For example it goes from applying to analyzing to evaluating. You can find comprehension questions to ask for each tier and more explanation anywhere on the web.

At the end of the book we watched the movie. Mostly we just watch the movie and enjoy it, but sometimes I point out things by saying "Did this happen in the book?" When the movie is complete we made a Venn Diagram. This is something I started when we did our Lion, Witch, Wardrobe read aloud. "A" wisely said he liked the book better, but some of the funniest scenes in the movie where ones not in the book. "A" laughed so hard he fell off the couch when the goat head-butted the police car.

When we were all done we did a little creating (the highest tier of Blooms). I took a white paper plate and put some yellow accordian fold things on the side. My goal was for it to look like a large piece of candy. In the book Littmus Lozenges are talked about quite a deal. They are a candy created by a man who felt so much sadness in the world after the Civil War that he wanted to put something sweet into it. When he made the candy he put all of his sorrow into it. So when people eat the candy they taste the sweetness and sadness all at once. I had "A" decorate the plate with what his sweetness and sadness would be, making his own Littmus Lozenge.

Some of my favorite quotes from the book (all from Gloria Dump-LOVE that character)

"You know, my eyes ain't too good at all. I can't see nothing but the general shape of things, so I got to rely on my heart. Why don't you go on and tell me everything about yourself, so I can see you with my heart."

"You can't always judge people by the things they done. You got to judge them by what they are doing now."

And saving the best for last...
"There ain't no way you can hold on to something that wants to go, you understand? You can only love what you got while you got it."


  1. Wow, Sarah! This post is chock full of great information and extension activities! Thank you so much for bestowing your knowledge of Bloom's Taxonomy. And as for the all-school reading book idea, oh how I wish they did that at MY son's school! Thanks (as always) for sharing!

  2. Where did you get the Winn-Dixie trifolds from?