This novel study unit for the book "Because of Winn-Dixie" by Kate DiCamillo focuses on improving student writing through authentic interaction with the text. Writing prompts include many elements to foster comprehension and critical thinking while also incorporating high levels of Bloom's taxonomy.
The unit includes both teacher and student resources. There is a chapter summaries section, which briefly summarizes each chapter for quick reference. A vocabulary section identifies and defines vocab words of focus for each chapter. Double-sided student worksheets are included for each chapter section, which include highlighted vocabulary word definitions, vocabulary-focused writing prompts that simultaneously include direct textual interaction with the story, sentence writing, and complex paragraph writing prompts that emphasize analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating various story elements from the book. Final writing projects give step-by-step directions to write good essays, and a final hands-on project at the end provides a fun opportunity to delve deeply into character traits demonstrated throughout the novel.
Students like this unit because it is formatted to promote authentic and personal interaction with the story. The assignments do not distract from the joy of reading the text. Instead, the unit is streamlined, allowing the emphasis the remain where it should be - on enjoying the book.