Happy Birthday, Roald Dahl!

September 13 marks the birth date of Roald Dahl (born in 1916). Perhaps one of our favorite authors to use with struggling readers, Dahl's wacky sense of humor appeals to most everyone. In honor of the legendary author, all of September has been declared Roald Dahl month. Celebrate by reading More About Boy, a behind-the-scenes take on Dahl’s biography

Or, read Dahl's much loved Fantastic Mr. Fox, and try one of these learning activities: 

In language arts: After reading the story, ask students whether or not they think it is okay for Mr. Fox to steal food from the farmers Boggis, Bunce, and Bean. Why or why not? Record students’ reasoning on chart paper. Then invite small groups to write one paragraph either defending Mr. Fox or explaining why he is in the wrong. Is there one right answer?

In science: Bring in some carrots that still have green tops. Show the carrots to students and discuss why Mr. Fox took them in the story (in order to feed the rabbits). Reveal that the orange part of the carrot that we eat is actually the root of the plant, which grows downward into the soil. Cut any leaves off your carrots and then cut a few inches from the tops. Place two inches of rocks in a bowl and nestle the carrot tops among the stones. Fill the bowl with water. In a few days, the carrots will sprout new leaves once more.

In math: When Mr. Fox steals chickens, geese, and vegetables from the farmers, how much does he have to carry? Take a closer look at one of the incidents in the book, and have students estimate the weight of each stolen item. Add the estimates together to get the total estimated weight. Then, help students to check their guesses by researching the actual weights of the items online.


More Roald Dahl resources: