Second in the lockdown series by Clare O’Beara, A Dog For Lockdown is a story about a thirteen-year-old boy who lives with his mother in a council house (public housing in Ireland). Dermot skips school an afternoon so he doesn’t know lockdown has been ordered. He stops at a store and gets an uneasy feeling watching shoppers filling carts with items he considers odd, such as toilet paper. The grocer tells Dermot he should be at home. He realizes no kids are in the store or even outside. At home, his mother asks how school was and he lies indicating he was at school. She knew otherwise as schools and many shops were closed. In addition, it is his birthday. Oh, my.
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I like this modern realistic story as the characters are everyday people without pretenses. Dermot and his mother Ann do not own a car so walk to the store and buy as much as they can afford for the foreseeable future. They lug heavy bags home. I like this story for children to realize not everyone has every advantage, and that life can be difficult for others. It would be important for students to realize if they bully another child, the child may have no choice about his or her clothing or living conditions. And, Dermot does get bullied on Facebook. A teacher helps him and we all learn a lesson about online bullies. Dermot’s one friend, Jamie, seems unreliable for much of the story.
Ann has just learned she has pre-diabetes and thinks Dermot is also at risk as they are both eating the same foods. They learn about a healthy diet and both of them feel better. Part of what helps Dermot is a neighbor is taken to a hospital and he then cares for a nice dog, Shelia. Walking the dog helps him look better.
The story has several important life lessons for students.
Table of Contents
Page 2 Possible Cover for Student Pages
Pages 4-5 Discussion Questions
Page 6 Noticing the Traits of Writing in A Dog for Lockdown
Pages 7 Matching Characters and More
Page 8 Identify Dog Postures
Page 9 True or False about Story Settings
Page 10 Friends in the Den True and False
Page 11 Cause and Effect
Page 12 Determine Character Story Goals
Page 13 Identify Story Themes
Page 14 Sequence the Facebook Problem
Page 15 Write and Sequence the Facebook Problem
Page 16 Bullying Resources
Page 17 Foreshadowing in A Dog for Lockdown
Pages 18-19 Write a Good Paragraph
(letter-sized teaching posters)
Pages 20-22 Paragraph Writing Frames
Pages 23-24 Teacher and Student Rubrics
Pages 25-35 Answer Keys
Pages 36-37 You might also like . . . other books by Clare O’Beara
(free teaching printable for each one)
Pages 38-39 Credits
Note to teachers: All students will not need to complete all pages. Select the most appropriate pages for your class or small group of readers. Pages are at different levels of difficulty for the purpose of differentiation.
In addition, the free teaching supplement has some writing exercises and other activities for literacy classes. I think students ages 10 to 14 would benefit from reading and studying this book. Previously, I wrote about O’Beara’s book A Pony for Quarantine. I also created a teaching supplement for that book and other horse books written by O’Beara.
I also made a free class discussion guide on the topic of poverty that some teachers may find helpful.
Thank you for reading, Carolyn