The Old Man and His Door by Gary Soto

Enhance reading abilities with an activity that enriches and expands children's language and emergent literacy skills.
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Use the following questions after the second or third reading of The Old Man and His Door. There are questions for every one or two pages of the story

  1. Where is the old man? (He is in his garden.)
  2. What does he have in his garden? (He has tomatoes, peppers, a pig, a dog, and a hen.)
  3. What is happening in this picture? (The old man's wife is telling the old man not to be late for the barbecue.)
  4. What is the old man doing? (He is giving Coco a bath.)
  5. What is happening in this picture? (The old man is chasing Coco around the yard.)
  6. Who is this? (the old man's wife)
  7. Where is she going? (She is going to the barbecue.)
  8. Why does the old man take the door off the house? (He thinks his wife asked him to bring the door — la puerta.)
  9. What did she ask him to bring? (She told him to bring the pig — el puerco.)
  10. Who does the old man see first on his way to the barbecue? (He sees a little girl and her baby sister.)
  11. What is happening in this picture? (The old man is playing peek-a-boo through the door with the baby.)
  12. Have you ever played this game with a baby? Did the baby like it?
  13. What is buzzing all around the man? (bees)
  14. Why is the man under the door? (He is hiding from the bees.)
  15. What does the old man take from the beehive? (honey)
  16. Who does the man help next? (He helps a goose who is tired.)
  17. What is happening in these pictures? (The goose has given the old man an egg.)
  18. Do you remember what is in the hat? (He put the honey from the beehive in his hat.)
  19. What is happening in these pictures? (A boy is drowning, and the old man uses the door as a raft and paddles out to save him.)
  20. What does the young man want to move? (a piano)
  21. How does the old man help? (They use the door as a ramp and push the piano up the ramp.)
  22. What does the man have on his door now? Where did he get these things? (He has an egg from the goose, honey from the bees, a fish from the lake, and two watermelons from the man with the piano.)
  23. Does the old man bring what his wife wanted him to? (No, he brings the door — la puerta, and she asked him to bring the pig — el puerco.)
  24. What happens at the end of the story? (The people at the party use the door as a table and eat the food he has brought.)


The words listed below come from the story and its pictures. As you page through the book, ask children to name the objects listed or talk about the actions portrayed. Words are listed for every two pages of story. Ask about other objects and actions shown in the pictures as you see fit.

  • tomatoes, red peppers, dog, hen, pig, hoe, overalls, tie
  • wife, purse, soapsuds, scrub brush
  • chasing, running away, bird house
  • fence
  • door, rope
  • crying
  • peephole, playing peek-a-boo
  • beehive, bees, hiding, kneeling
  • honey, hat, goose
  • egg
  • lake, drowning, fish
  • piano, ramp, helping
  • watermelons, crow
  • tortilla, rolling pin, barbecue, kiss
  • table, beans, hotdogs, plates, cups, party

Excerpted from

Read Together, Talk Together
Pearson Early Childhood

Excerpted from Read Together, Talk Together, the Pearson Early Childhood research-based program that makes reading aloud even more effective!

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