The Poet's Dog Discussion Questions

Instructor: Bethany Calderwood

Bethany has taught special education in grades PK-5 and has a master's degree in special education.

'The Poet's Dog,' is narrated by a dog named Teddy. Poets and children can understand when Teddy speaks. After your students read what Teddy has written in this novel, use these questions to discuss it further.

The Poet's Dog

The Poet's Dog is narrated by Teddy, a dog who belonged to a poet named Sylvan. At the start of an epic blizzard, Teddy rescues two children and leads them to Sylvan's cabin where they weather the storm together and become friends. This gentle tale of friendship will appeal to a variety of upper elementary and middle school readers. After reading The Poet's Dog with your students, discuss the major concepts using these questions.

Pre-Reading Questions

  • The epigraph is ''Dogs speak words, but only poets and children hear.'' What do you think about this idea? What predictions do you have for the story based on this epigraph?
  • If your pet (or a pet belonging to someone you know) could talk, what do you think it would say about you (or its owner), about itself, and about life?
  • What makes someone a good writer? What makes a writer a poet?

Questions About the Story

  • Why did Sylvan read to Teddy? What might be the purpose of the specific list of books he read?
  • How do Flora and Nickel feel about the storm? Why do you think they go with Teddy? Was it the right choice? What do Flora and Nickel learn from Teddy while they are at his house? What do they learn from each other?
  • Sylvan tells Teddy to find a couple of jewels. How does this happen?
  • What does it take for someone to be able to understand Teddy's speech? How do each of the characters come to the point where they can understand him? If you met Teddy, do you think you'd understand him?
  • How do Flora and Nickel's parents respond when they find the children after the blizzard? Do you think your parents would respond the same way?

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