July 28, 2012

A Ball For Daisy

Title: A Ball for Daisy
Chris Raschka (Illustrator)

Comprehension Strategies:
Making Connections
Art Modalities:

Any child who has ever had a beloved toy break will relate to Daisy's anguish when her favorite ball is destroyed by a bigger dog. In the tradition of his nearly wordless picture book Yo! Yes?, Caldecott Medalist Chris Raschka explores in pictures the joy and sadness that having a special toy can bring. Raschka's signature swirling, impressionistic illustrations and his affectionate story will particularly appeal to young dog lovers and teachers and parents who have children dealing with the loss of something special. (Summary from Random House.)

A Ball for Daisy
red ball

Here’s a book for the dog days of summer. In fact, here’s a book for any day that has been just plain  “ruff.”

There are a couple of reasons you might want to share this book first with a small group. As you know, wordless picture books can be powerful literacy tools. As students “read” the pictures, allow time for them to create narration. Encourage students to look at the pictures and retell the events to partners. As they retell, help students discover the elements of story and the sequence of events. Another reason to start with a small group is the opportunity for sharing personal connections. You little ones are sure to connect to how Daisy felt about the new toy, the broken toy and the new friendship.

To encourage students to make connections to the events and Daisy’s feelings, find a red ball and gather your group into a circle. Gently toss the ball to a volunteer who is ready to tell about a time that he experienced a loss such as a broken toy. (Older students may be able to make the connection to more significant life losses.) After the student shares his connection, have him toss the ball to another friend in the group.

Try these drama activities to help students infer what Daisy is thinking and how she is feeling throughout the story. Begin by asking each child to pretend she is Daisy. As you show each illustration, have each child say out loud what she (as Daisy) is thinking. Don’t worry about everyone talking at once...simply encourage students to think about the events and carefully study the details in the illustrations to narrate the story from the dog’s point of view.

Older students will enjoy retelling the story with this second drama extension. Put students in groups of four. Each child will play a character (Daisy, Daisy’s owner, the second dog, or the second dog’s owner). Direct the students to act out the story, saying what they think their characters would say in each scene. You might want to guide students in acting out the story with these parts:
Scene 1: Daisy gets the red ball.
Scene 2: Daisy goes to the park with the ball.
Scene 3: The second dog pops the ball.
Scene 4: Daisy misses her ball.
Scene 5: Daisy gets a new ball at the park.

Finally, here are some graphic organizers and writing frames for this story. They were designed to help your youngest readers turn their thinking into writing, but they are useful with older students as well. Just click on the links to download them for free. (If you like these graphic organizers and writing frames, be sure to check out my Smart Charts store on Teachers Pay Teachers or Teachers Notebook.)

Having a ball with this book? Catch this teacher guide provided by Random House:



  1. I Love dog books and I love your ideas :) I'm pinning this!

    Grade ONEderful
    Ruby Slippers Blog Designs

  2. I have passed along 2 awards to you! Swing by my blog to check them out. :)

    Kindergarten SuperKids


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