The Dinosaur Who Lived in My Backyard by B. G. Hennessy

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Summary of the Story

A little boy describes the dinosaur who lived in his backyard a long time before the town was even built. The boy tells what the dinosaur ate, how big it was, and how heavy it was. He tells about the dinosaur's friends and the games they played.

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 picture on the cover. Ask: What do you think this story is about? What do you think is happening in this picture? (Accept any responses.)

Reading the Story for the First Time

  • Read the story, moving your finger under the words as you read.
  • After reading, ask: Does the dinosaur live with the boy and girl now? (No, the dinosaur lived a long time ago. The boy wishes it still lived there.)

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 is happening in this picture? Where is the dinosaur in this picture? Do less reading of the words to the story each time you read, leaving more and more of the "reading" or retelling to the child.
  • Give prompts about objects or activities in the pictures. For example, ask: What do the children have in their backyard? (They have swings, a slide, a birdbath, trees, grass, a fence, and so on.) Use your finger to point to what you are asking about. Evaluate the child's response. Expand it and ask children to repeat it. If he or she needs help in answering a question, ask that question again the next time you read the book.

Extra Activities

  • Children can demonstrate how the different dinosaurs walked.
  • Some children may be able to name some of the dinosaurs. Write the names of the dinosaurs children know and have everyone say them.

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

  1. Who lived in the boy's backyard? (A dinosaur lived in his backyard a long time ago.)
  2. How was the dinosaur hatched? (It hatched out of a big egg.)
  3. How big did the dinosaur grow to be? (First, it was as big as a car, and then it grew bigger than the school bus and the house.)
  4. What did the dinosaur eat? (He only ate vegetables.)
  5. What did the dinosaur do with his dinosaur friends? (They played hide-and-seek and had fights.)
  6. What did the boy's town look like when the dinosaurs lived there? (The town was a big swamp.)
  7. At the end of the book, what does the boy wish for? (He wishes the dinosaur still lived in his backyard.)
  8. Why do the boy and girl save all their lima beans? (They save them in case the dinosaur comes back.)

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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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