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Love That Dog

Poetry with a Twist
based on Love That Dog
Written by Sharon Creech
Grades: 3–6

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About the Book
Newbery Award winning author, Sharon Creech, loves the poem, About a Boy, by Walter Dean Myers. As she thought about the boy in the story she began to imagine the story that became the book, Love That Dog. Perfect as an introduction to or in conjunction with a poetry unit, the story centers around Jack who, when asked to keep a poetry journal responds with " I don't want to/because boys/don't write poetry." His distaste for poetry continues, but his teacher persists in introducing her students to a wide variety of poetry and expects them to write responses to each poem. Jack begins to slowly see the beauty of expressing thoughts and feelings through the poetry form and eventually describes what happened to his beloved dog, Sky. He also is inspired to write a letter to his favorite poet, Walter Dean Myers. This book is a natural for discussions of what poetry is, why it is a unique form of expression and for encouraging students, especially boys, to begin to write their own.

Set the Stage
Before your students read Love That Dog, ask them what they think of poetry. Do they like to read it? Write it? Why or Why not? Ask if they have ever written a poem and if so, what the poem was about. You can also discuss whether your students have a favorite poem that another person wrote. Tell them that in this book the main character is a young boy who hates poetry but something happens that begins to change his mind.

Review the Book
When your students have read Love That Dog, ask the following questions to check their comprehension of the material.
• What shape did Jack make one of his poems look like?
• For which two reasons did Jack like Mr. Walter Dean Myers' poem?
• Why could it have taken months before Mr. Walter Dean Myers received Jack's letter?
• How many lines does Jack's poem, "Love That Dog" have? Who is Sky?

Have students share which of the poems in the book are their favorites.

Student Activity
Discuss with your students whether they remember the shape poems in Love That Dog. Talk about the poem shaped like a dog that Jack wrote, and the poem shaped like an apple located at the back of the book.

In this activity students will follow the steps provided to make their own concrete or shape poem. For bonus activities they can research different styles of poetry or start a poetry journal.

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Related Activities
For more ideas on using poetry in your classroom, see these related activities.

Read about simple writing steps your students can use to create poetry. (PDF)

Your students can practice writing descriptive poems with this fun activity.

Find out more about author, Sharon Creech in the Authors and Books section of our site.