We recently read My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett. It’s a good and quick read aloud so I thought I’d share it along with a few activities I developed to go along with it.
Just recently, we started reading longer chapter books aloud. It’s nice to read during lunch or dinner. My kids still want to see illustrations, but I’m getting them used to the idea of making their own pictures in their brains. My Father’s Dragon is a good one to start with because it is short and simple and includes plenty of illustrations.
We read it in about two sittings. Both my kids listened; even the 3.5 year old could easily follow the story.
I developed a few activities to go along with the book. You can download the pdf below!
In the pdf you’ll find three simple activities. The first page is a set of images of the unexpected things that the father packs to go on his journey. You can write down what he uses them for or cut them apart and put them in order as they are used in the story. It might also be interesting to speculate on what they will be used for as he packs them.
The second activity is just a crossword puzzle with some of the new words that my kids had asked about. The book is older and there are a few uncommon words. It’s a good idea to get your child into the habit of recognizing an unfamiliar word rather than glossing over words they don’t know, which causes comprehension to suffer. Sometimes you can use context clues to figure them out, other times just tell them or look it up!
The third activity is based on the mouse character that my kids found really entertaining. He switches sounds in his speech so I thought they would get a kick out of unscrambling some confused sentences. Word play is a great way to learn about things like rhyme, phonics, and spelling. You can ask them to scramble their own for you to translate too.
We also did a little drawing along with this book. My kids drew their favorite part. I asked them to draw what they thought happened after [SPOILER ALERT] he rescues the dragon. Later I realized that I should have asked them to draw the dragon (and before they see the dragon’s picture in the book).
I try to make sure that there is a deeper level of awareness in everything that we do. In this book, we were able to talk about the mistreatment of the dragon (he’s chained and forced to work for free) and how he was treated unjustly. The book itself doesn’t delve too deep, but there’s nothing preventing you from having a conversation about it.
So we got a lot out of this little book. If you’re thinking about starting chapter read alouds, or if you just think your kids would get a kick out of an island full of silly animals, read My Father’s Dragon. I’m looking for our next book now. Any recommendations?