1. What do you know about hunting with dogs? What are the qualities of a good hunting dog? Find someone to interview who has hunted with dogs, or use the Internet to research the topic. Use what you learn to create an advertisement, complete with illustrations and descriptions for the "best hunting dog ever."
This assignment will help students understand the role of Sounder to the family as well as some specifics about hunting with dogs.
2. During what time in history does Sounder take place? What do you know about the historical events in the United States before and after this period? Create a timeline to show where the story of Sounder takes place in a continuum of events in American history. How might this story have turned out differently if it had taken place during a different time in history?
This assignment will give students a historical context for the novel, and provide an opportunity to discuss the sharecropping system in the 19th-century South.
3. What do you think the future holds for the boy in Sounder? Do you think he was able to continue his education and rise above the poverty in his family? Imagine that the boy is grown and writing his childhood memoirs. How would he describe the events in Sounder? Write a journal entry from the perspective of the boy, recounting some of these events and telling how they shaped his life.
Most students will be hopeful for the boy in Sounder and imagine that he gained strength through facing adversity in his youth. For students who do want to read more about the boy, his story is continued in William Armstrong's Sour Land.