Many of my students with language, reading and other learning challenges love “Dog Man” by Dav Pilkey. It’s easy to see why: the novel features quirky illustrations, interesting characters, hilarious jokes, an engaging plot and – most importantly for our purposes – simple language structures.
In this 61-page no-prep Dog Man Language Companion, we have used the language, character names, and key events featured in the book to extend children’s oral language skills. We’ve focused at a language level typical of most typically-developing children of around 4-5 years of age, but the exercises are appropriate for older school-age children with language and other learning disorders.
Included in this pack are the following exercises:
• Tell me something that X’s but isn’t a Y
• Following Directions
• Blank’s language level 3: How are these things the same?
• Sentence completion
• Unless sentence completions
• Tell me something different
• Describe things to the alien!
• Blank’s language level 4: What will happen if…?
• Divergent Thinking
• Simple Visual Memory Peg Exercise – remembering a shopping list
Exercises include answering abstract questions (aligned with Blank’s 3rd level of questioning), following directions using semantic cues, describing similarities by attribute, completing sentence fragments featuring coordinating and subordinating conjunctions to form compound and complex sentences, semantic feature analysis to describe objects, divergent naming/creative thinking, and a simple visual memory peg exercise to help compensate for the effects of language and learning issues and to increase independence.
“Dog Man” is widely available in libraries and book stores, and you can buy it on Amazon or your local independent bookseller. If you can’t access a copy, there are some pretty good read-alouds on YouTube.
Many of our students love discussing Dog Man while working through these exercises. Some become so focused on Dog Man that they don’t even seem to notice the language work out!