A Dog Called Homeless

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Praised by Newbery Medal–winning author Katherine Applegate as "graceful" and "miraculous," this Schneider Family Book Award–winning novel tells how one girl's friendship with a homeless dog mends a family's heart.

Cally Fisher knows she can see her dead mother, but the only other living soul who does is a mysterious wolfhound who always seems to be there when her mom appears. How can Cally convince anyone that her mom is still with the family, or persuade her dad that the huge silver-gray dog belongs with them?

With beautiful, spare writing and adorable animals, A Dog Called Homeless is perfect for readers of favorite middle-grade novels starring dogs, such as Because of Winn-Dixie and Shiloh.

Curriculet Details
34 Questions
31 Annotations
3 Quizzes

Designed for students in the 5th grade, this free digital curriculum contains annotations explaining figurative language, vocabulary words, and events. It also contains interactive videos that support comprehension, such as videos about bullying and coping with disabilities. Over the course of the book, students will answer Common Core questions and quizzes related to the subjects of point of view, mood, and theme. This free online unit will increase student engagement while building reading comprehension.

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What did Dad most likely mean when he says "People forget birthdays aren't just about them"? 


Charlotte's Web is a classic book by E.B. White. (This annotation contains an image)
What details does Cally give that make you believe she is really seeing her mother, even though the rest of the family cannot? 


There is a pattern in Cally's behavior. Cally struggles for people to pay attention to her at home and at school. Think about why Cally may feel that she is not getting enough attention anymore. Is it related to her mom? 


Which of the following themes is beginning to appear in the story? 


Angela's Hospice is similar to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a real organization which grants wishes to sick children. Watch the video below to learn more. (This annotation contains a video)
Which of the following quotes from the chapter best describes why Cally wants to volunteer for the sponsored silence? 


Mrs. Brooks doesn't seem to trust Cally to do a good job as a sponsored silence volunteer. Think about how the way she treats Cally relates to the way that other adults also treat Cally. 
Cally describes Mrs. Brooks's touch as a "poke". This description helps show that Cally feels 
An animal can be a great friend to have, especially for someone who is feeling down. (This annotation contains an image)


Dad doesn't usually say nice things about Mrs. Brooks. Compare how his opinion of Mrs. Brooks relates to Cally's opinion. What details or events let you know how Cally feels about her? 


Sponsored silence is used by different groups to raise awareness for different causes. Participants earn money for the cause by remaining silent. Liberty Belle, a student magazine in the United Kingdom, created this video to promote a sponsored silence event for ovarian cancer awareness. (This annotation contains a video)


Which of the following quotes does not show how the teachers feel about Cally's silent behavior? 


What theme does Cally's treatment of Jed relate to? 
Life can be very hard for the homeless. (This annotation contains an image)


How does the scene of the family in the park relate to the scene of the family in the pizza restaurant? 


Body language is one way that both animals and humans can communicate without using words. 


How does Dad's announcement about the house in Chapter 12 affect Luke's behavior in Chapter 13? 


Dad doesn't say anything about Cally and Luke not talking to him, just like he doesn't talk about Mom's death. He seems to shut down and keep quiet when things make him uncomfortable. 
Irish Wolfhounds like Homeless can grow huge, but make great companions. (This annotation contains an image)


Which of the following is not revealed in Cally's description of Homeless? 
Quiz 1 


Cally associates the smell of pancakes with Mom. There might be a special smell that reminds you of a family member or loved one too. (This annotation contains an image)
Which of the following is not a clue that Sam uses his sense of touch instead of his senses of sight and sound? 


Deaf-blind children like Sam have a unique set of challenges which mean that they must learn about the world around them in alternative ways. (This annotation contains a video)
What does Cally have in common with her new friend Sam? 


How does is it make Cally feel when Dad talks about the past and how do you know she feels this way?  


An idiom is a word or phrase that has a different meaning than what it literally states. “There’s not enough room to swing a cat” is an idiom, just like “it’s raining cats and dogs,” or “keep an eye on that”. You can probably think of idioms that you use every day. 


How does Cally’s behavior at school change over the chapters of the story?  
Mr. Crisp seems to know how upset Cally still feels over the death of her mother. He tries to include her in the show by offering to let Cally play an instrument instead of singing, so that she will not have to speak. Remember that Cally’s mom never got the chance to be proud of Cally during the previous year’s show because of her fatal accident. 


Which of the following best defines “lurched”?   


What does Sam tell Dad by using his word card? 
In this sentence, Cally is comparing Dad to an angry bear. (This annotation contains a video)


Think of a character in another story who wanted something very badly, just like Cally wants Homeless very badly.  Explain how the character tried to get what he or she wanted. Was his or her behavior similar to Cally’s behavior or very different? 


Which of the following best describes the tone of Chapter 24?    


Sam's word cards would look similar to the card in this picture. Notice the raised braille that allows someone to read using touch instead of sight. (This annotation contains an image)
Which of the following words best describes Cally’s mood as she sits by Sam and imagines speaking to Mom? 


Mrs. Cooper offers to take Homeless to an animal shelter. Can you think of some reasons why Mrs. Cooper might think that a shelter would be the best place for Homeless? (This annotation contains a video)


What are some reasons why Dad may decide to take Cally to a psychologist? 


When Cally is with Sam, she learns to experience the world the way that he does, through touch and feeling. Sam helps Cally to understand multiple ways of communicating and sensing. 


An inhaler helps to open the airways of someone having an asthma attack so that he or she can breathe normally. (This annotation contains an image)
What is the significance of the quote? 


You can practice using the deaf-blind alphabet to communicate like Sam and Cally. (This annotation contains a link)
Quiz 2 


Which of the following is an important contrast in the story? 
Like Cally, many people have imagined that the stars in the sky are living creatures. There are legends from all over the world about constellations of animals and people. Click on the video below to find out more. (This annotation contains a link)


How does the scene with the tape recorder contribute to the reader's understanding of the story? 
Dad remembers a phrase that Mom would say when she was alive. Cally always seems comforted when Dad talks about Mom. 


Picture the stormy weather outside of the apartment. Do you think the weather affects the mood of Chapter 33? (This annotation contains an image)
Which of the following best describes the relationship has has developed between Sam and Cally? 
The author uses figurative language to help the reader more clearly visualize the action. The simile of "like a tiny flame" helps the reader to imagine how the moth flickers as he moves. 


How does Mr. Crisp show concern for Cally? 


Watch the video below on bullying. Could the way that Mia and Daisy treat Cally be considered bullying in your opinion?  (This annotation contains a video)
How does Cally feel about Homeless showing up at school? How do you know? 


Sam is able to find Cally when she believes that no one can. This shows both that Sam is capable despite being blind, and that Sam is a good friend to Cally. 


Which of the following does not describe Dr. Coburn? 
People use body language all of the time. Think about what it means when people roll their eye, raise their hands, or cross their arms. People often use body language to communicate without realizing that they are doing it. 


Why does Jed invite his friends to the music shop? 


People who are deaf do not experience songs the same way that people who can hear do. However, they can enjoy song lyrics and even feel the sound vibrations made by an instrument or speaker. (This annotation contains a video)


In this sentence, "like waterfalls" means that the rain is 
What do you learn only after the scene in which the family follows Jed into the shed? 


Because Sam is blind, he may not realize how rough and dangerous the flooding lake has become during the storm. (This annotation contains an image)
Give specific examples of how Cally proves to be a true friend to Sam. 


After Sam's rescue, Cally finds her voice again, but she is not the only one who is acting differently. Notice how Dad begins to change by talking about Mom. 


Which of the following best describes how Cally feels about Sam? 
Cally has made great strides since the beginning of the story. She went from not speaking at all to deciding to sing in front of the entire school. (This annotation contains an image)


What is the meaning of "beaming" in this sentence? 
Quiz 3