Because of Winn-Dixie Lesson Plan
- Grades: 3–5
About this book
Awards : Newbery Honor Book, 2001
Subject Area : Language Arts
Reading Level : 4.1
India "Opal" Buloni misses her mama and her old home in Watley. Now she finds herself in Naomi, Florida, living in a trailer park with her preacher father, and everything has changed. All she wants is a friend, someone with whom she can talk, laugh, and share her feelings about her new life. In walks Winn-Dixie, a friendly, lovable dog who captures her heart. With Winn-Dixie by her side, Opal meets a crazy cast of characters from the local community who become her new circle of friends. Along the way, she learns about the magical power of friendship, belonging, and acceptance of others.
Students will analyze characters in the novel by identifying character traits and using textual evidence to support their ideas. In turn, they will form a deeper understanding of the book's characters.
Standard: Understands elements of character development (e.g., character traits and motivations).
Warm-up ActivityReread the end of Chapter 3 (pp. 24–25) where Opal asks her father to tell her ten things about her mama, one for each year of her life.
Think of a person who is close to you — a parent, sibling, friend, relative, etc. List ten things you know about that person. Be specific and descriptive.
- Share lists from the Warm-up Activity. Introduce the term character trait — a distinguishing quality of a person or character. Explain that each item on your list represents a character trait. Also note that traits can describe a character's personality, likes/dislikes, and behavior.
- Choose your favorite or most intriguing character from Because of Winn-Dixie. Possible choices for character study: Opal, Winn-Dixie, Daddy (the preacher), Gloria Dump, Otis, Franny Block, etc.
- Divide a piece of paper into two columns. Label one column "Traits" and the other "Proof." Under the Traits column, list ten character traits for your character. Be as specific and descriptive as possible. In the Proof column, write page references from the novel (e.g., p. 20) that provide evidence for the individual character traits. Students will need to reread and skim sections of the book to find textual evidence.
- For an artistic twist, students can illustrate the character. Write a brief caption for the illustration that explains a few of the characters' traits.
- Who do you think is the most interesting character in the novel? Why?
- What does each character teach Opal? What lessons does she learn from those around her?
- Which character do you think has the greatest impact on Opal? Why?
- Why is the title of the book Because of Winn-Dixie?
Other Books for Character Study
A Year Down Yonder
by Richard Peck
A young girl journeys from Chicago to rural Illinois, living with her grandmother during the Great Depression.
Walk Two Moons
by Sharon Creech
A young girl drives across America with her grandparents in search of her mother. While traveling, she embarks on an exciting journey of self-discovery.
Other Books by Kate DiCamillo
The Tiger Rising