Doggy dictionary

Dig into the dog's-eye view with this creative writing romp.

You'll Need

  • Notebook and pencil


30 minutes

Learning Stages

By Susan Dichter

Susan Dichter wears many hats—mother, writer, former teacher, museum director and librarian. Her books include Teachers: Straight Talk from the Trenches (Contemporary Books, 1990).

Frustrated by a homework assignment that asked him to look up words in a dictionary, a small boy blurted out, "Juice never has to look anything up and he understands me!" Juice was his dog and he was right—there are no canine dictionaries.

But why not make one? The creation of a short dictionary intended for the use of a dog would be a marvelous way to stretch your child's creative thinking. Being able to change points of view and look at something from different angles is a central part of creative problem solving.

All your child needs to get started is a small notebook and a pencil. Suggest that each page be devoted to another word in his "Dog-tionary," and that his definitions be accompanied by a drawing of the object in question.

What words to include? If your child is lucky enough to have a "Juice" of his own, then he'll probably know what words to choose. If not, a walk in the neighborhood and a bit of canine observation (in itself a skills booster) will do the trick. (A few starters: bone, cat, kennel, Lassie, leash, slipper.)

Remember that this is a dictionary with a canine point of view. How do you suppose a dog views a leash, or that old slipper?

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