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    Island of the Blue Dolphins

    Island of the Blue Dolphins

    by Scott O'Dell

    Based on a true story set in 1835, a young Native American girl is accidentally left behind by her fleeing tribe, and perseveres through amazing challenges and danger.

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    Paperback Book | Grade 6
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    Scholastic Book Guides: Island of the Blue Dolphins

    Scholastic Book Guides: Island of the Blue Dolphins

    Teaching "Island of the Blue Dolphins" is effective and manageable with this Scholastic Book Guide. Everything you need is here to build important skills for successful instruction in reading. Includes: book summary and author information to build background and prior knowledge; vocabulary-builders to help your students learn important word meanings for better comprehension; discussion questions to deepen understanding, and build and check comprehension; reproducible graphic organizers and writing activities to extend the meaning of the text; effective management ideas for whole class, small group, and independent instruction! 17 pages.


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    Literature Guide | Grades 6-9
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Island of the Blue Dolphins

Author: Scott O'Dell

Interest Level:
6-8

Lexile Framework:
1000L

Grade Level Equivalent:
5.5

Guided Reading Level:
V

Age:
11-13

Genre:
Adventure, Classics

Subject:
Native American, Determination and Perseverance, Survival

About This Book

Karana, an Indian girl, lives happily with her people on the Island of the Blue Dolphins. It is an island in the Pacific that gets its name from its beautiful shape from above it looks like a dolphin lying on its side, "with its tail pointing toward sunrise," sunning itself in the sea. Around it blue dolphins swim, otters play, and sea elephants and sea birds thrive. Karana's people live in harmony among the other animals on and around the island as they have for generations. Her father is the chief of the village. And then one day a boat comes captained by a Russian man, who "looked at the little harbor as though it already belonged to him." The captain and his crew wish to hunt sea otter on their own terms. Their disregard for the ways of the Indians leads to bloody consequences, and Karana's family is destroyed, and eventually with the arrival of more white men, the entire community disappears from the island, save Karana.

For years she lives on the island alone, using the skills of her people to survive. For the first time, she modifies the skills only the men of her village had mastered. She makes a fence from the ribs of a whale. She builds a house. Eventually she becomes comfortable alone. She befriends one of the wild dogs, and the blue dolphins still give her strength. But she will not be alone for much longer.

Author O'Dell has based Karana's spare, poetic narrative on the events that took place on a real island off the coast of California first settled by Indians in about 2000 B.C. And there actually was a Karana, an Indian girl who lived Robinson Crusoe style on the island for 18 years. Winner of a Newbery Medal, O'Dell's novel can be used not only to augment a unit on Native American history, but to compel even the most reluctant reader.


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