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Literature Guide for Because of Winn-Dixie
Project Resources


Activity #1  
Assignment: Think about what makes Winn-Dixie so appealing to Opal. Write a paragraph describing his characteristics. Included in the paragraph should be physical and personality characteristics. After students have completed their paragraph, have them draw a picture of Winn-Dixie including all of the characteristics they wrote about. Share these with the class and have students compare and contrast their ideas about Winn-Dixie.

Part of the fun in reading is being able to create the characters in your imagination. While DiCamillo does describe Winn-Dixie to some degree, it is important for students to be able to express what is in their imagination on paper, and share it with other students.


Activity #2

Here is an example of activity #2

Think of a person who means a lot to you. This should be someone that you love, admire, and respect and who you always want to remember. Now imagine that you are to describe this person to someone who had never met them before. Make a list of 10 things you would want that person to know about the person you chose. Now share your list with a friend. Discuss whether it was easy or difficult to narrow your list to 10 things. Why or why not?


Opal does not know anything about her mama. With the help of Winn-Dixie, Opal gains the courage she needs to ask her father to tell her 10 things about her mama, so she can know her better. Not only does this relate well to the book, it is also a nice tribute to the person the students choose.

Activity #3  

Think about things that you are good at, and areas that you could improve upon. List three things that you consider your strengths and three things that you would consider weaknesses, or things that you could do better in. Evaluate those strengths and weaknesses and think about what animal they might represent. Chose an animal that you think relates to the person you are, or who might share similar strengths, weaknesses, and other characteristics as you. Explain why you think you are like that animal. Include a drawing of the animal you chose.


Opal describes her father as a turtle. In almost every encounter with him, she talks about how when he gets scared he starts to go back into his shell. Not only will this activity help students evaluate their personal strengths and weaknesses, it will give further understanding to the Preacher’s character and the comparison DiCamillo makes between him and a turtle.

Activity #4



Keep a journal as you read this book. The length and number of entries will vary with age group and how in depth the teacher wants to go. Here are some journal ideas. Teachers may feel free to add their own journal ideas. Another possibility is for the children to free write on the book, or to brainstorm as a class what some good journal topics might be.

Application: Over the course of the book, DiCamillo touches on a lot of deep topics. A lot of these topics are things that youth of this day encounter frequently. Some of the topics are very deep and deserve reflection, but many of them may be things students would feel uncomfortable contributing to a large group discussion. A journal would give them a chance to reflect and express their feelings about the book and their life.
Activity #5  

Using materials you can find in the classroom or at home, make one of the items that is unique to a certain character found in this book. Examples of some items include Otis’s guitar, Gloria Dump’s bottle tree, or Miss Franny’s Littmus Lozenges. These are just some examples. There are a lot of other good ideas. Allow the children to be creative. The goal is to go beyond just using a pencil and paper. Have students share their projects with the class and tell how they made their object and why they chose it.


There are many interesting characters in this story. They all have a past that has affected who they are. The objects the students chose to create helps them to think more about the character and what they mean to the book.

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Page Last Updated March 14, 2005