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Because of Winn-Dixie Activities for Learning


Activities for Learning has more than 75 activities for reading comprehension and fun for Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo is one of the best books ever.  Isn’t it?

A quick, easy read that manages to be full of heart, this tale of a dog helping a family find their way is one of my all-time favorites.  Being a dog lover helps, but this story is also about childhood and loss and healing.  Even if you’re kiddos are cat people, they will love this book.

Opal finds Winn-Dixie terrorizing the grocery store of the same name.  She claims him as her own and convinces her father, the preacher, to let her keep him.  What follows is a story of hope and redemption, with more depth than you’d expect to find in a book of this size.  Opal’s mama left them when she was just 3 years old, so she obsesses over what her mother was like and getting the chance to talk to her.  Opal is lonely in her new town and makes friends in the most random and beautiful places.  She even goes to work at a pet store where the clerk is a musical animal charmer.  There are so many opportunities for learning in this book.  It’s just incredible.

And though my boys would say Jess Aarons is their favorite middle grade character, I think Opal is mine.  So let’s make her a favorite for your kids

Because of Winn-Dixie Activities for Learning has more than 75 activities for reading comprehension and fun for the novel by Kate DiCamillo

Because of Winn-Dixie Activities

Diary entries

Write about:

  • What is was or would be like to see an animal in the grocery store
  • Your favorite pet or a pet you would like to have
  • Have you ever moved to a new place? Write about what it was like or what you imagine it would be like
  • What it is or would be like not to know one of your parents
  • A time when you had to ask for something you really wanted but were afraid to ask
  • List 10 things about your parent or caretaker
  • A time when you felt especially lonely
  • Describe your local public or school library.  What does it look like?  What’s good about it?  What’s bad?
  • Imagine you were doing your favorite activity and  a bear walked up to you.  Tell the story
  • Tell everything about yourself
  • Is there something you’re very afraid of?  How do you feel and what do you do when you encounter it?
  • How it would feel to live in a cage all the time
  • Your favorite place to be in the summer
  • The kinds of ghosts that might be kept away from your own bottle tree
  • How you would feel if you had to go to war
  • Your biggest sadness
  • A time when you had to apologize for something even though you didn’t feel like you were in the wrong
  • Someone you know who seems lonely
  • The best party you’ve ever attended
  • Describe 5 people you know and why they would be or are good friends to each other
  • A time that you cried really hard
  • A time you saw your parents cry
  • A time you lost a pet or how you would feel if you lost a pet

Write a letter

  • From Opal to the manager of the Winn-Dixie store explaining that the dog wasn’t trying to cause trouble
  • From Opal to the preacher thanking him for letting her keep Winn-Dixie
  • From Winn-Dixie to Opal thanking her for taking him in and being his friend
  • From Mrs. Nordley to the preacher telling him how much she enjoyed watching Winn-Dixie catch the mouse in church
  • From Opal to her mama telling the story of Winn-Dixie catching the mouse
  • from Opal to Miss Franny Block telling her she was Opal’s first friend in Naomi and thanking her
  • From Miss Franny to Amanda Wilkinson telling her which dogs are allowed in the library and why
  • From you to a store owner persuading him/her to let you buy a particular thing on installments
  • From Opal to Sweetie Pie thanking her for the party invitation
  • From Opal to the Dewberry boys telling them to stop following behind her and whispering
  • From Opal to the preacher asking him to come out of his turtle shell
  • From the preacher to Opal telling how they can keep Winn-Dixie safe in a thunderstorm
  • From Opal to Otis telling him how pretty his music is
  • From Opal to her mama telling about Otis charming the animals
  • From Gloria to Opal telling her why she should be friends with the Dewberries
  • From Amanda Wilkinson to Miss Franny apologizing for how rudely she acts when she comes to the library
  • From Opal to Stevie Dewberry apologizing for calling him a bald-headed baby
  • From Otis to the police officer apologizing for hitting him and explaining why he liked to play his music on the streets
  • From Gloria to Opal explaining why she wanted her to invite the Dewberry boys to the party
  • From the party guests to Opal and Gloria thanking them for the party
  • From the preacher to Opal telling her all the reasons he’s glad her mama left her with him
  • From Sweetie Pie to her mama begging for a dog of her own
  • From Opal to the party guests thanking them for finding Winn-Dixie


  • What your name means
  • Missionary work in India
  • India
  • Pathological fears
  • Thunderstorms
  • Alcoholism
  • The Civil War
  • Fort Sumter
  • Typhoid fever
  • Constellations


  • Write an opinion paper about people who have been in jail.  Do you think they are all dangerous and should be avoided or do you think each case should be judged on its own?
  • Write about what you think ‘the most important thing’ is
  • Write about why you should judge people by who they are now rather than who they may have been in the past
  • Write a persuasion paper about why war is not fun
  • Explain why it was important to Opal to learn why Littmus W. Block “survived after losing everything he loved”
  • Write about why it’s important that everyone has something to feel sad about the same as everyone has something they love
  • Explain how life has the sweet and the sad all mixed up together.  Give examples from your own life or the lives of people you know
  • Write about the reasons it’s good to make friends in all sorts of different places



  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Peanut butter sandwiches
  • Hard candy (I’m thinking Jolly Ranchers.  Because yum.)
  • Egg salad sandwiches
  • Punch
  • Pickles


  • Visit a dog kennel
  • Read Gone with the Wind
  • Have a barbecue
  • Plan a party with a theme
  • Sing songs together

Free Printable

Need a space to do the work on?  Just want to print out all these yummy ideas?  Grab the free printable!

You may know that I read the books again to come up with these activities.  No matter how many times I’ve read them in the past, I want to glean as much from them as I can to pass on to you and your young readers.

So you’ll forgive me if I close out right now and cry these happy, hopeful tears to myself.

I dare you to try not to cry at the end of this book.

Love wins,



KT Brison
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About KT Brison

KT Brison is a former children’s librarian and educator who gave all that up for the most important job in her life—homeschooling her boys. Though she loves the outdoors and rambling around her farm, she can usually be found with her nose in a book. Any book. As long as it has words.
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  1. Nice post. Love Winn Dixie!

  2. I love this story, and your ideas for extension activities are so fabulous! Pinning! Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday on Mommynificent.com!
    Tina at Mommynificent recently posted…Booknificent Thursday Link Up Party #214My Profile

  3. I have never read this story but it sounds so touching and sweet. This might just have to become our next family read aloud.

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