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The BFG: Reader Response Pack

EDUC 4112-02

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Book Summary
The BFG by Roald Dahl is the story of an eight-year-old orphan girl named Sophie and her giant friend, the BFG (Big Friendly Giant). Together, they save the world from a group of man-eating giants. Unable to sleep, Sophie looks out her window and sees a giant walking down her street, looking into the windows of other houses. The BFG notices this little girl and in order to keep the giants existence a secret, he must snatch her, sweeping her off to Giant Country. Luckily for Sophie, the BFG does not eat humans. Back in the land of the giants, though, Sophie sees nine other giants who are in fact flesh-eaters. Theres the Fleshlumpeater, the Bonecruncher, the Manhugger, the Childchewer, the Meatdripper, the Gizzardgulper, the Maidmasher, the Bloodbottler, and the Butcherboy. The BFG explains that he only eats terrible tasting snozzcucumbers and that hes a dream-blowing giant. Each night he visits the homes of children and blows wonderful dreams into their tired little minds. The BFG takes Sophie to the land of dreams and shows her how he catches dreams and bottles them. When he catches a nightmare, he bottles it up as well to keep it from harming children. When they return to the BFGs cave, Sophie and the BFG discover that the other giants plan to go to England that evening to eat boys and girls in boarding schools. Sophie is shocked by the idea and wants to stop them. She asks the BFG to help her come up with a plan to stop the giants forever. The pair devises a plan that will get the Queen of England to help. Using his dream skills, the BFG creates a dream for the Queen that shows exactly what the other giants are doing. He includes the image of Sophie waiting in the Queens bedroom to tell her about the man-eaters. Sophie plans to do just as the dream describes to ensure that the Queen will know her dream was of real events. The BFG and Sophie travel to London and plant the nightmare in the Queens head. When she awakes and finds Sophie, she knows the giants must be real. She invites Sophie and the BFG into the palace to enjoy a great breakfast with her and together they come up with a strategy for defeating the giants. That afternoon, the BFG leads a group of army and air force helicopters and jeeps to the land of the giants to catch them while theyre sleeping. With Sophies help, the team manages to catch all nine giants and bring them back to England. There they are placed in a HUGE pit and fed only snozzcucumbers. Meanwhile, the Queen rewards the BFG with a castle and Sophie decides to

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live with him. The BFG becomes a beloved, well-known figure across the country, and children write to him asking to be visited by him and his dreams.

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Why The BFG is Classroom and Reader Friendly

Aimed at readers aged 8-12, Roald Dahl writes with the childs perspective in mind, creating an intriguing world of fantasy and adventure. The main character, Sophie, is an orphan with many admirable qualities, while the BFG is portrayed as friendly, warm and inviting. Both characters allow for a quick and easy connection to any and all readers. As a result, the reader is invited to laugh and join in the fun, participating in his or her own giant adventure. The BFG is written with expressive, even inventive, language that acknowledges the ability of a writer to have fun and be creative. This is incredibly useful in the teaching of literary expression and creative writing, allowing for the development of multiple lesson plans. Reading The BFG encourages a love of reading and teaches children many important life lessons: (1) You can accomplish anything no matter your size; (2) Never stop dreaming; (3) Respect the differences of others; (4) Stand up for your beliefs; and (5) Find value in friendship. In a grade 4 classroom, much can be taught through the reading of this novel, as its plot discusses numerous important topics. This novel can be used as a lead up to a discussion about sleeping and dreams, friendship, bullying and discrimination, life as an orphan, culture, royalty, and much, much more. By reading this novel, students will be able to practise and develop their skills as knowledgeable readers and expand their horizons in regard to their own writing. They will begin to understand the value and depth of language arts as they are exposed to all 6 dimensions (reading, writing, representing, listening, speaking, and viewing) and encouraged to use their imagination.

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Six Response Activities

Name Dream Jar1
Writing Representing Speaking Viewing Listening

Imagine a dream that has been caught by the BFG. In a jar, include elements of the dream (e.g. objects, people, places, etc.) Attach a written description. Share with the class.

Curriculum Expectations
Extend understanding of texts by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them Produce pieces of published work to meet identified criteria based on the expectations related to content, organization, style, use of conventions, and use of presentation strategies Demonstrate an understanding of appropriate speaking behaviour in a variety of situations, including paired sharing and small- and largegroup discussions (e.g., acknowledge and extend other group members contributions; make relevant and constructive comments on the contributions of other group members) Use some appropriate elements of effective presentation in the finished product, including print, script, different fonts, graphics, and layout Produce media texts for specific purposes and audiences, using a few simple media forms and appropriate conventions and techniques Analyze texts and explain how specific elements in them contribute to meaning (e.g. characters) Identify and order main ideas and sup- porting details and

Wanted Poster
Writing Representing Viewing

Create a wanted poster for one of the 9 flesh-eating giants in the novel. (i.e. Fleshlumpeater, Bonecruncher, Manhugger, Childchewer, Meatdripper, Gizzardgulper, Maidmasher, Bloodbottler, or Butcherboy) Compare the characteristics of two major characters Sophie and BFG

Sophie vs. BFG: Venn Diagram


Reading Writing Representing

"I'm dreaming...I'm dreaming..." (n.d.). The BFG Activity Pack. Retrieved from

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group them into units that could be used to develop a summary, using a variety of graphic organizers (e.g., a Venn diagram, a paragraph frame) and organizational patterns

Word Writer2
Reading Writing

Combine prefixes and suffixes found throughout the novel. Define invented words.

Plot Climbing Timeline

Reading Writing Representing

Create a timeline highlighting all major events in the novel.

Thematic Poetry
Writing Speaking Listening

Relating it to the novel, write an acrostic poem about one of the following topics:
o o o o o Friendship Orphans Sleeping & Dreams Size (Big vs. Small) Bullying/Discrimination

Predict the meaning of and rapidly solve unfamiliar words using different types of cues, including semantic (meaning) cues, syntactic (language structure) cues, and graphophonic (phonological and graphic) cues Analyze texts and explain how specific elements in them contribute to meaning (e.g., narrative: characters, setting, main idea, problem/challenge and resolution, plot development) Sort and classify ideas and information for their writing in a variety of ways (e.g., by using graphic and print organizers such as mind maps, concept maps, timelines, jot notes, bulleted lists) Establish a personal voice in their writing, with a focus on using words and stylistic elements that convey a specific mood Use appropriate words and phrases from the full range of their vocabulary, including inclusive and nondiscriminatory terms, and appropriate elements of style, to communicate their meaning accurately and engage the interest of their audience (e.g., use evaluative terms to clarify opinions and for emphasis;

Leigh, G. (n.d.). Invent your own words. In The BFG Study Guide. Retrieved from Arden Theatre Company website:

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use descriptive words to give specificity and detail to personal anecdotes; use humour or emotive language to engage the audiences interest or sympathy)