Because of Winn Dixie Irivarren

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Because of Winn-Dixie By Kate DiCamillo: 

Because of Winn-Dixie By Kate DiCamillo Bibliotherapy Patricia Irivarren


Objective Students will be able to… Generate Compile Evaluate Predict Describe List Invent

Grade Level and Time Span : 

Grade Level and Time Span Geared for grades 2nd-4th Oral literature and activities 20 minutes periods for 4 weeks


Synopsis India Opal Buloni is the young daughter of a reserved and introvertive preacher who moves to a new city. By coincidence, she meets her best friend in the first week she arrives to her new home, a friendly stray dog whom she names Winn-Dixie. It is through Winn-Dixie that India Opal makes the friends she makes and learns some important things about herself. India Opal has one unanswered question that seems to unfold in the story through the author’s creative use of character traits in the people she meets. The question being the reason her mother left her and her father when she was just a little girl. She has a strong desire to know as many things about her mother as possible but the thought of her mother causes the preacher too much pain. Winn-Dixie plays an important role in Opal’s life as she acclimates into her home and as she learns forgiveness. She comes to an incredible conclusion and it was all Because of Winn-Dixie.

Themes : 

Themes Friendship Forgiveness Dogs Family Fears Loyalty

Introductory Activities: 

Introductory Activities Anticipation Guide Students will think of what the meaning is of the American saying, “A dog is a man’s best friend” means. Share, think of examples of other books where this can be seen. As a group students will observe a picture (e.g magazine, newspaper, reproduction) of a nuclear family. Students will share their thoughts of the picture. Vocabulary word 4 square for every 3 chapters vocabulary word meaning similar word or synonym opposite word or antonym

Discussion Questions: 

Discussion Questions Opal’s dog is called Winn-Dixie. Tell why Opal decides to give her dog that name? As Opal gave Winn-Dixie a bath, she tells him they are a lot alike. In what ways are Opal and her dog alike? What sort of relationship does Opal have with her father, the preacher, at the beginning of the book? How does their relationship change by the end of the book? Describe Opal’s mother based on the 10 things the preacher told Opal. At one point Opal says, “Just about everything that happened to me this summer happened to me because of Winn-Dixie.” What happens to Opal to make her say this? Opal is an only child. Her mother left the family when she was only three, and her father moves from church to church. How has Opal been affected by these family changes?

Discussion Questions (cont.): 

Discussion Questions (cont.) For a variety of reasons, Opal feels like an outsider in her new town. Describe a situation when you felt like an outsider. Then compare your experiences to Opal’s Winn-Dixie brings comfort and joy to a lot of characters in this story. ….. Opal thinks that Winn-Dixie smiles. Mini-lesson on personification. Students find other examples ….. Opal describes Gloria Dump as the best adult she knows. In what ways does Gloria act like the mother that Opal doesn’t have? Which of Gloria’s qualities bring Opal closer to her real mom ?

Discussion Questions (cont.): 

Discussion Questions (cont.) After the big party, Opal goes to Gloria’s mistake tree and tells her mother she won’t miss her as much because her heart feels full. How has Opal’s like changed to make her feel this way? In the story Frannie Block compares life to a Littmis Lozenge, because the sweet and sad are often mixed up together. Do you agree with this point of view? Explain your answer.

On-going Activities: 

On-going Activities For each chapter, invent a creative title that describes the chapter in a few words. Journal Character sketch as new characters are introduced Listening center Related books (dog breeds, Florida)

Follow-Up Activities: 

Follow-Up Activities Write a list of ten qualities that describe who you are. Use the list that the preacher gives Opal about her mother, as a model to create your list. Imagine Miss Frannie, the librarian, has asked you to tell a story about something amazing that happened to you. Think of something that has happened in your life that would make a great story.Make sure you story has a beginning, a middle and an end. Opal wants to create a dog-care handbook for her class based on her experiences caring for Winn-Dixie. What would the handbook say? Create a handbook and make sure to include tips on feeding, grooming and other important informaion.

Follow-Up Activities (cont.): 

Follow-Up Activities (cont.) Brainstorm a list of fears the characters faced such as below. Discuss the many forms that fear takes. Focus on Winn-Dixie’s fear of thunderstorms. Explore what happens to your body when you experience that kind of fear. Think about a scary roller coaster ride or haunted house experience…or something similar. Discuss “hooks”. Write a narrative about yout fearful experience. Character Fear Opal Abandonment Winn-Dixie Thunderstorms Preacher Expressing thoughts Otis Judgment (Being judged) Gloria Dump Mistakes (Making too many) Opal wants to write her mother a letter telling her what she has learned over the summer because of Winn-Dixie. Imagine you are Opal. Write a letter to your mom about some of the things you learned because of Winn-Dixie.

Follow-Up Activities (cont.): 

Follow-Up Activities (cont.) Miss Frannie told Opal the story of her grandfather coming back from the war to nothing. He opens up a candy business and invents the Litmus Lozenge. It is said that once the candy is placed in your mouth, you begin to feel any sadness that lives in your heart. Invent a special kind of candy. What creative affect does it have once it is put into your mouth? Write a brief description. As a drama activity, sell your new product in a 30 second commercial (props, posters and costumes encouraged). How-to writing piece. India Opal had a way of convincing the preacher that Winn-Dixie would make a great pet in order to keep him. Become the “expert child” and create a how-to guide (with illustrations) to convince your parents of something they normally would not agree with. For example, “How-To Go To Bed Late On A Weeknight” or “How-To Eat French Fries for Dinner Instead of Cauliflower”.

Follow-Up Activities: 

Follow-Up Activities Recall the major events of the story. Summarize and sequence the images in a comic strip of five pictures. Generate a group list of possible meanings of the word “shelter”. Design what you would consider an “ideal” shelter for Winn-Dixie to live in. Explore the saying, “Into every life some rain must fall,” (and sunshine, too). Choose one character from the story. List the “rain” in this character’s life in one column and the “sunshine” in another column.

Additional Resources: 

Additional Resources DiCamilo, Kate. Because of Winn-Dixie, 2000 Scholastic Inc.,

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