“Hound Dog True” is the story of soon-to-be fifth grader Mattie Breen. Mattie and her mother move a lot; the two have just moved in with Mattie’s uncle. Uncle Potluck is a custodian at the local elementary school and Mattie helps him with custodial duties in the weeks before school starts. This work of realistic fiction allows readers to connect with Mattie and follow her as she changes and grows.
In this literature study you will find a variety of resources to help your students read deeper and study the elements of this exemplary text by Linda Urban. This novel is also a part of the Journeys Reading Series for 5th grade. I have included discussion questions, activities covering vocabulary, characters, and theme, comprehension questions, two writing activities, and more! The book has been divided into four suggested sections of study.
Discussion Questions: These questions are great to use for whole
group or small group discussion while reading “Hound Dog True”.
Pre-reading activity: Have students complete this activity to get them to
start thinking about their own experiences and how they may connect with the characters in the story.
Uncle Potluck’s Vocabulary Tools: In the book Uncle Potluck hangs his tools and outlines them to keep them organized. Uncle Potluck also has a rich vocabulary, his verbal tools. Using the vocabulary toolshed pages students will look for and analyze Uncle Potluck’s vocabulary by “hanging” the words on the pegs. A list of suggested words is included.
Vocabulary Crossword Puzzle: Students love crossword puzzles. This one includes ten of Uncle Potluck’s vocabulary words.
Hound Dog True Sightings: “Hound dog true” is a saying that Uncle Potluck uses several times throughout the book. Students can keep track of the uses of the phrase throughout the book on the provided form, the bookmarks, or both. This will allow students to determine the meaning of the phrase as well as it’s importance to the story.
Comprehension Questions: Each of the four sections includes two pages of comprehension questions. These can be completed while reading or can be used for assessment of each section.
Character Scrapbook: Students can fill out the character scrapbook pages to better understand the main characters. Character scrapbook pages are included for the main characters (Mattie, Mama, Uncle Potluck, and Quincy). A blank form is included for use with minor characters.
Mattie’s Big Change: Through the course of the story Mattie changes quite a bit. Students will write an essay on the differences between Mattie’s first day of fourth grade and her first day of fifth grade to explain some of the changes that Mattie displays. A variety of graphic organizers are included as well as an outline page, final writing paper, and scoring guide.
Poor Moe Fictional Writing: At the end of “Hound Dog True” Mattie and Quincy collaborate on stories about the adventures of Moe, the mouse shaped button. This writing activity allows students to write their own adventure for Moe. Includes a graphic organizer, scoring guide, final writing paper, and accompanying art project. In the story, Quincy uses paper bags for her artwork. Students will need paper bags to design an illustration for their story.
Themes in “Hound Dog True”: There are several themes in this story. Cut apart the theme cards and assign themes to pairs of students. Together they will find text evidence from the story to support that theme and design a poster to share with the class. Directions and planning sheets are included.
***Answer Key added 8/12/15***