How the Dog Man Series Inspires My Kids to Read, Write, and Draw

Discover the rewards early readers get from Dav Pilkey's hilarious and beloved graphic novel series.
Dec 19, 2018

Ages

6-9

How the Dog Man Series Inspires My Kids to Read, Write, and Draw

Dec 19, 2018

If you eavesdrop on a conversation between first or second graders, chances are you'll hear names such as "Petey," "Lil' Petey," and "Dog Man" and phrases such as "invisibility spray," "cat jail," and "evil plans." That's because they're all words kids are devouring in Dav Pilkey's newer series, Dog Man.

I know the series has been a game-changer in our house with both my 6- and 8-year-old. Dog Man has hooked my kids' attention and reeled them into the wonder and power of a book series. As both a parent and educator, I couldn't be happier.

flex_image

It started with me reading Dog Man #1 aloud to the kids. For newer series readers, I like to read the first book aloud to them. This tactic helps your new readers better learn the character names and how to navigate the format of the text. Because the Dog Man series is in a graphic novel format, my boys and I talked about the order in which we read the panels, speech bubbles, and how to handle the flip-o-rama pages.

Then, my kids confidently took off through the next books: Dog Man UnleashedDog Man: A Tale of Two KittiesDog Man and Cat Kidand Dog Man: Lord of the Fleas. And, they can't wait to get their hands on the newest title, Dog Man: Brawl of the Wild

flex_image

Bow Wow! The Learning Benefits My Kids Lapped Up From Reading Dog Man

Graphic novels are packed with learning opportunities. Don't let the limited text on each page fool you. When we read the pages above together, we talked about at least four different lessons: 1) The text in capital letters being read in a loud voice and with great expression. 2) Onomatopoeia words (words that describe and imitate their sounds) such as "ring ring" and "splash." 3) A caption box showing a passage of time (Then...) and 4) Labeling (guard, cat jail, and chief) within the illustrations. Plus, there's all the punctuation to discuss! On this page spread alone, there are periods, exclamation marks, question marks, commas, an apostrophe, and an ellipsis. (For more fun ways to introduce dots, dashes, and question marks, share these books featuring all types of punctuation.)  

The Dog Man series hasn't just inspired my kiddos to read, but to also draw and write. Dav Pilkey makes it easy and accessible for kids to create their own Dog Man tales. At the end of each book, he includes several step-by-step drawing guides of the characters. In Dog Man, my kids learned to draw Dog Man, Petey, and Philly with different expressions (happy, sad, determined, sleepy, and more).

flex_image
Once my kids perfected their images of Dog Man and Petey, they set off creating their own graphic novels. For kids (aka my own) who are a bit hesitant to add words and sentences to paper, a graphic novel format is less intimidating.
flex_image

I printed some blank comic/graphic novel pages and my kids authored and illustrated their own stories. Many reluctant writers prefer to work on the illustrations first and then return to add text. Writing in short spaces such as speech bubbles feels doable to kids. This writing wasn't a one-shot deal, either — my kids have created several of their own Dog Man stories.

Most of all, I appreciate that Dav Pilkey "gets" kids. As a child who dealt with ADHD and dyslexia, he faced many challenges as a kid. He openly shares these challenges and how he used his drawing and storytelling to cope. I think there are many kids who can relate and aspire to find their own talents. And, I hope that our kids today find understanding teachers in the world who are willing to work with their individual needs.

Dog Man may inspire your hesitant readers and writers to pick up a book and pen too. Once, they read through all the Dog Man books, they might enjoy picking up another favorite Dav Pilkey series, such as Captain Underpants or Ricky Ricotta.

The newest title, Dog Man: Brawl of the Wild, is out now!

flex_image
Connect with Jodie Rodriguez at Growing Book by Book.

Shop Books in the Dog Man Series

Creativity
Reading
Writing
Raise a Reader Blog
Articles
Age 9
Age 8
Age 7
Age 6
Writing
Reading
Arts and Crafts