Sunday, December 19, 2010


Find yourself, find your song.
Russel feels out of place in his life and is not sure what is wrong. He goes to Oogruk, an elder in the village to seek the answers to his problems. Through much discussion with Oogruk, he finds he belongs to the old ways of the village and not the new ways of snow machines. He takes a journey with a dog team to find his own song and to find himself. Throughout his journey north he dreams of his future which becomes his present. Throughout the journey he becomes connected to the land, to the old way of his people and his team of dogs. Gary Paulsen teaches the reader in Dogsong about the way of the Eskimos and the way of a musher.

Teachers: Here are some resources and ideas to help you teach this novel...

Web Resources:
  • Extension Activities: Extension activities from Scholastic.
  • Activities: This site offers various activities such as letter writing, essay writing and e-pals all connected to reading Dogsong. This site also connects across the content areas.

Vocabulary: Here are some words that may need to be pretaught: Eskimo, arctic, breechclout, cache, carcass, creek, doze, forlorn, game, gee, harness, haw, horizon, indicator, musher, parka, quiver, ridge, sweep, team, tundra, umiak, wick


Before Reading: Make a KWL about Eskimos, the North, dog teams, etc.

During Reading: There are many words used in this novel that are specific to Eskimos, living in the arctic, etc. Make a list of vocabulary words you have come across and did not know the meaning of. Include the definition of these words that you looked up while reading to help you understand what the word meant. Write a new sentence using this vocabulary word.

After Reading/Writing: Write an extended ending to Paulsen's novel. What happens to Russel after he discovers his song? Will his future pan out like some of his dreams showed him?

Across the Curriculum:
Social Studies: Use this novel to teach about Alaska or Eskimos if it is in your curriculum.

Paulsen, G. (1985). Dogsong . New York, N.Y.: Bradbury Press.
Newbery Honor Book

Happy Reading (& Running) =) 

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