Spike in the City by Paulette Bogan

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Summary of the Story

Shannon brings her dog Spike to the big city for the first time. It is a clash of cultures for Spike, who sees many unusual things as Shannon walks him through the streets and takes him up in an elevator. He begins to enjoy himself at the park, but soon loses track of Shannon. Spike gets scared when he cannot find her, but they are reunited when he retraces his steps.

Introducing the Story
  • Read the title of the book on the cover, pointing to each word as you say it. Have children repeat the title as you point to each word.
  • Point to the dog on the cover. Ask children what the dog is doing. (He is hiding in a manhole.) Can real dogs do this?

Reading the Story for the First Time

  • Read the story, moving your finger under the words as you read.
  • After reading, ask: What does Spike like about the big city? What doesn't he like?

Recalling the Story

  • After you have finished reading, ask children the recall questions below. Continue to ask these questions when you reread the book, until he or she knows the answers.

Reading the Story Again and Again

  • Give open-ended prompts on each page. For example, ask: What's happening on this page? What is Spike doing? Do less reading of the words to the story each time you read, leaving more and more of the "reading" or retelling to the children.
  • Give prompts about objects or activities in the pictures. For example, ask: What does Spike step on? (He steps on someone's gum.) Use your finger to point to what you are asking about. Evaluate the child's response. Expand it by giving more information, or gently correct it by giving the correct word. Ask children to repeat the answer. If he or she needs help answering a question, ask that question again the next time you read the book.
  • You may wish to discuss the prompts shown below.

Extra Activities

  • Children can read Spike in the City to each other.
  • Have children draw pictures of their favorite scenes from the book. If they choose, the children can draw their own pet instead of Spike.
  • Children can draw simple maps that show Spike's trip to the city. Help them label the places he visits.

Recall Questions
Ask the following questions to check the children's understanding of the story.

  1. What is the title of the book? (The book is called Spike in the City.)
  2. Who are the main characters in the book? (The main characters are Spike the dog and his owner Shannon.)
  3. How does Spike get to the big city? (Shannon drives him in her car.)
  4. What happens to Spike in the elevator? (Someone steps on his tail.)
  5. What happens to Spike when Shannon ties him to a parking meter? (A big truck splashes mud all over him.)
  6. What happens when Spike goes to the park? (He catches another dog's Frisbee.)
  7. What happens when Spike chases the dog on the skateboard? (He becomes separated from Shannon.)
  8. What happens at the end of the book? (Spike retraces his steps and finds Shannon.)

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

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