Because of Winn-Dixie

Kate DiCamillo

Man's Best Friend a Dog named Winn-Dixie

DiCamillo, Kate. Because of Winn-Dixie. New York: Scholastic, Inc. 2000.


Audience: 1st grade-5th grade


Genre: Contemporary Realistic Fiction


Read Aloud: Pg. 9 When she claims that Winn-Dixie is her dog.


Summary: Abandoned by her mother years ago, Opal , a 10-year-old girl, moves with her preacher father to a small town in Florida. Lonely and missing her old friends, Opal is ecstatic to find companionship with a rambunctious little dog she names Winn-Dixie, after the store where she found the pup. With Winn-Dixie's help, Opal befriends several colorful townsfolk and even begins mending her relationship with her father.

Curriculum Connections:

1.) I could do a unit on dog books with my students and they get to choose from a selection of books such as; Because of WInn-Dixie, Old Yeller, Where the Red Fern Grows, Shiloh, a dogs life, and others. Once they have made their personal selection, than my students will get to read the book, and tell the class their reader response, but students get to do the book review part in a different way, by either making a poster, a book box, writing a letter to the author about the book, etc.

2.) Have students create reading journals as they follow along me reading aloud to them. Everyday we will take 20 minutes out of our day to read a short segment of the book (since this book is fairly short, should only take a couple days). But have students think about what is happening in the story, and journal their reader response, than break up into groups of 3-4s and have students talk about how they felt about what was happening in the story. Ask students questions like, Did meeting Winn-Dixie make Opal's life more positive or negative? Do you think WInn- Dixie was a smart dog? and other such questions.

Meet the Author: Kate DiCamillo

Reader Response

I found this book delightful. The spirit of the little girl was charming and sweet. The relationship that she had with her father was comical but he was raising her by himself since her mom walked out on them when she was three. I loved the relationships she made with the other characters along the way with the help of WInn-DIxie. A major theme throughout this story is friendship, because of the friendship Opal makes with the dog she calls Winn-Dixie. This story is a great lesson in overcoming hurdles for new students who move to your town and join your classroom, would be a good read for those who need help adjusting to a new surrounding. I really enjoyed the language and dialogue of the characters, how everything just flowed together.

Because of Winn-DIxie the Movie

Once done reading our books we may spend time watching the movie at the end of class.
Because Of Winn-Dixie

Kathryn Ragan

Childrens Literature

Contemporary Realisitc Fiction Review