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There is really only one suggestion. Love That Dog is a shorter book, which can be read in a single sitting, and should not be stretched out for more than two weeks. It is recommended that it be undertaken during National Poetry Month (April) when most schools are already exploring poetry units. It is only natrual then that Love That Dog can provide a jumping off point to explore poetry, especially as poetry is not only the subject and form of Love That Dog, but also because convincing a child who does not think he likes poetry to come to appreciate it is in fact the subject and story of Love That Dog.
So, students can be invited and encouraged to read more poetry, to write their own poetry, and to illlustrate poems. Many students take to the poems written in the form of objects presented in Love That Dog. (There is an example, “The Apple,” by S.C. Rigg, at the back of the book.) They might be asked to read more poems like this and they will need little encouragement to begin writing their own.
The poems selected by Sharon Creech might provide an entree to explore some of the poets used by Miss Stretchberry in the story: William Carlos Williams, Robert Frost, Walter Dean Meyers. These are authors who many teachers are already probably using in poetry units. But it may be that seeing them in the alternate context of Love That Dog increases interest anew.
Teachers may also be able to use Miss Stretchberry’s method of taking students’ simple prose-like statements and observations, and turning them into poetry. This is the method of Love That Dog and it should be inspirational to many students for interested teachers.
Finally, students will need little encouragement to make illustrations of poems that spark their imagination: poems from Love That Dog; poems exposed by their teachers; or poems of their very own composition.
There are no rules or limits.