Monday, June 11, 2012

A Boy Wants A Dinosaur by Hiawyn Oram - Teaching Ideas

As I was working on this story my daughter came up and grabbed the book and said "I love this story!" I responded with an excited "Oh yeah, now you can play the game with me to make sure it is good." She just looked at me and said, "I have never read the book, I always read the pictures." I told her she now had to read it so she could play with me. After reading the story she just looked at me and said "that is kind of a weird story." She definitely liked the pictures and the story she created with it more than the story that was written. I would have to agree with Madison's comment, a little weird, maybe a bit disjointed and in a few spots you stumble your way through the writing. Nevertheless, it is a great story about taking care of a dinosaur and how parents and teachers might feel about having a dinosaur as a pet. I wouldn't discount this book because of my above comments, it is filled with great teaching potential, as I have listed below. If you have this book but don't ever use it, now is the time to pull it out, dust it off, and read it aloud. I have created a true false comprehension game to go with it so your students can have fun with the story.

A THOUGHT - Instead of reading this story to your students, do a picture walk and have them write their own story for the pictures as you turn the pages. It might be kind of fun to see what their imagination tells them. Madison's story was much different than that of the author's, and she had a little difficulty with a couple of the comprehension questions I asked in the game, because she had to think about the written story and not her story. A couple of times she picked up the book to check on an answer, and once she even said "the picture shows a different feeling than the words", which she is absolutely correct.

Any way you decide to use this book, it has great teaching opportunities!

Reading level: 2.6                             
Theme: imagination  
Genre: humorous fiction

Suggested Vocabulary: Hadrosaurus, Pterosaurs, Fabrosaurus, Diplodocus, Massospondylus, monstrous, prehistoric, wailed, gamboled, lolloped, lumbered, strode

Reading skills and strategies:
  • asking questions - {possible questions at before} Why does the boy want a dinosaur? I wonder what he wants to name the dinosaur? {possible questions during} Is there really such thing as a store to buy dinosaurs? Why did his grandfather let him have a dinosaur? {possible questions after} Was the boy dreaming? Did the dream scare him? Why did the boy chose a rabbit instead of a dinosaur?
  • author's point of view - 3rd person
  • author's purpose - entertain{evidence}- you can't really have a dinosaur for a pet. There is no such thing as "Instant Marsh Powder".
  • beginning, middle, end - {most important event from beginning} The boy's grandfather took him to get a dinosaur {most important event from middle} The dinosaur started to not feel good. {most important event from end}The boy and the grandfather took the dinosaur for a walk and the dinosaur found a friend.
  • cause and effect - Why did the boy want a dinosaur? because all his friends had pets so he wanted one too. Why was the boy's mother not happy? because the dinosaur was messing up the house. Why was the boy's father not happy? because he thought a marsh in the house was unhealthy. Why did the boy and his grandfather take the dinosaur for a walk in the country? because she was feeling sick. Why did they leave the dinosaur in the country? because the dinosaur found a friend. Why did the boy chose a rabbit instead of a dinosaur? because it would be easier to take care of.
  • characterization - describe the boy, describe the grandfather, describe the dinosaur, Fred {looks like, feelings, thoughts, character}
  • classify & categorize - stuff needed to take care of a dinosaur and stuff needed to take care of a dog.
  • compare & contrast - a dinosaur to a dog.
  • connections - {possible text-to-self connections} wanting a pet so badly it made you cry. Having a pet destroy your house. {possible text-to-text connections} the following books are about pet dinosaurs: Dinosaur Pet by Neil Sedaka, How Do Dinosaurs Love Their Cats? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague, My Pet Dinosaur Won't Brush His Teeth  by Sharlene Alexander and Dinosaur Bob and His Adventures with the Family Lazardo by William Joyce.
  • plot - the turning point in the story is when Fred started to get sick.
  • predict - What do you think Alex's mom and dad will think of Alex having a dinosaur for a pet? What will make Fred feel better?
  • problem & solution - {problem}It was a problem having a dinosaur for a pet. {solution} Alex took Fred the park. She found a friend and started to feel better. Fred stayed at the park and Alex decided he wanted a rabbit instead of a dinosaur for a pet.
  • sequencing - Alex wanted a dinosaur. Alex's grandfather took him to get a dinosaur. He picked out a dinosaur and named him Fred. Fred ate a bunch of stuff. Alex gave Fred a bath using Instant Marsh Powder which turned the bathroom into a marsh. Fred could not fall asleep so she chewed everything in the house. Fred attacked a truck. Alex took Fred to school and the kids were excited but the teacher was not. Fred started to feel sick. They took Fred to the vet. The vet said to take her to the park for a long walk. Fred stayed at the park. Alex woke up and decided he wanted a rabbit.
  • story elements - list title, author, character's, setting, beginning, middle, end, or problem & solution.
  • summarize - {someone}Alex {wanted} wanted a dinosaur {so} so his grandfather got him one. {then}Then his mother and father were not happy with the mess in the house and the dinosaur started to get sick. {finally} Finally the vet told Alex he needed to take the dinosaur for a walk and he finally felt better.
I put the game in a file folder along with the book to keep it all together, but you can just laminate all the pieces and put in a big envelope {I have done that too}. If you download this game please leave me a comment, I am curious how many of you have this book and what your thoughts are about it. THANKS!!

Click on the cover page to download the game.

Feature on Manic Monday at Classroom Freebies. Click the link and go find more fabulous freebies!!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Happy reading!


  1. I love the file folder game!! Thanks for sharing :)

    Dirty Hands and Lesson Plans

    1. Hi Katie,
      Glad you like it. I just came back from visiting your blog, super cute new look!
      Enjoy your summer!!

  2. You have put a lot of time into this. Well done! Thanks for sharing!
    Second In Line

    1. Hi Patty,
      Picture books are great teaching tools, so creating something to be able to use a picture book for more than just reading and closing up is what I love to do. I hope it is something you can use!
      Enjoy your summer!!


Thoughts and comments are always welcome!

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