Because of Winn-Dixie

Posted on April 29, 2008. Filed under: Reader Response |

A. Because of Winn-Dixie
B. DiCamillo, Kate (illustrator not applicable)
C. Candlewick Press, 2000
D. Realistic Fiction
E. K-3
F. Summary- This book is all about the transformation of a young girl’s life due to a dog with a great personality. She learns alot of valuable life lessons from this dog by meeting new people and facing hardships that her past has brought her. She is one of those little girls, that no matter what they do, they put a smile on your face. Her dog Winn Dixie helps her get through tough times and becomes her best friend. Winn Dixie also helps Opal become closer with her father and boys she thought she would always hate. There are alot of good messages in this book as well, like always treat other people the way you want to be treated and never give up on anything that your heart truly desires. This is shown where her dad is telling Opal to apologize to the boys for calling them bald-headed babies. An example of never giving up is how she doesnt want to give up looking for Winn Dixie in the thunderstorm.

G. Response- I absolutely love this book because there are so many things that a child can relate to throughout the book. It can be whether they have lost a loved one or even if they have trouble making friends. I think this book will have a great impact on those students who read this because it can help them understand what to do in situations where they may not know how to respond. Situations like needing help to make friends or losing a parent are hard in the sense that these kids may not know how to deal with these problems all on their own. I also absolutely love dogs and the fact that Winn Dixie got Opal through all of this was really inspiring and it just makes me so grateful for my “Winn Dixie” and my family as well. I also like that now that I know that it is perfectly okay to talk about God in the classroom, I think it’s kind of neat that Opal is a preacher’s daughter because everyone is to think she is a goody goody when really she just wants to make friends and find her mom. I also really like that this book sends the message that friends come in all different shapes and sizes. Opal has a dog for her best friend, a unique woman who lives in a “jungle”, an elderly librarian, a pet shop keeper as well as kids that are both brothers and a timid girl all for her friends. I like to think I am similar to Opal and I can personally relate because not only am I really different from alot of people due to my dwarfism but I also have alot of friends that are all physically and mentall very different. It is actually really neat to see this in a classroom.

H. Teaching Strategies- There are many things that can be brought into the classroom with this book but the main things that have quickly come to me, include discussing the importance of family. Especially for younger kids, I think it would be a neat idea if they made a family tree or just a report on their family telling a little bit about them. I think it would also be cool if they could talk about what they were grateful for and why by making a jar that is filled with many slips of paper that have the different things they are grateful for on them. Another really cool idea would be to bring up diversity and how all people are different physically and mentally. Also you could talk about the different abilities that individuals have and discuss with the kids how the different characteristics are all important. This can be done by making leaves out of construction paper and having each kid take a leaf, right their name on it and draw or write something that they are especially known for or good at. Then post the leaves on an empty wall in your classroom and have a tree trunk already made so it looks as though a tree is made up of each of your different students!


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