Where the Red Fern Grows

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Billy, Old Dan and Little Ann -- a Boy and His Two Dogs... A loving threesome, they ranged the dark hills and river bottoms of Cherokee country. Old Dan had the brawn, Little Ann had the brains -- and Billy had the will to train them to be the finest hunting team in the valley. Glory and victory were coming to them, but sadness waited too. And close by was the strange and wonderful power that's only found... An exciting tale of love and adventure you'll never forget. From the Paperback edition.
Curriculet Details
69 Questions
68 Annotations
3 Quizzes

Designed for students in 6th grade, this free digital curriculum contains annotations explaining figurative language, theme and historical content mentioned in the novel. It also contains interactive videos that support comprehension. Over the course of the book, students will answer Common Core questions and quizzes related to the subjects of point of view, setting and themes such as coming of age and perseverance. This free online unit will increase student engagement while building reading comprehension.

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Chapter I

Notice how the speaker's point of view has changed. Why do you think the speaker feels compelled to intervene now? 
Why does the speaker decide to bring the dog home? 

Chapter II

This is a coon hound. Compared to the description of the stray dog in Chapter 1, what similarities can you see? (This annotation contains an image)
What can you infer about when this story takes place based on the description of the setting? 
Daniel Boone is a famous American frontiersman. He explored the wildness looking for new land to settle. Why do you think Billy compares himself to Daniel Boone? 
What does Billy mean when he says, "I saw the hurt in his eyes." 
Billy compensates for his parent's inability to buy him a dog by listening to the hound hunt at night. What does this reveal about his character? Support your answer with examples from the text. 
Like the traps, the prospect of helping with the farm distracts Billy from his yearning for a dog. Do you think this feeling will last? 

Chapter III

How long do you think it will take Billy to earn fifty dollars? 
Why do you think Billy thinks his grandfather "paid little attention" to his plans? Use text evidence to support your response.  
Why do you think it took so long for Billy's grandfather to react positively? 
Why does Billy's grandfather suggest that Billy not mention the money to his father? 

Chapter IV

Billy has worked so hard to save money, yet he hasn't shared his news with his parents. Why do you think Billy is so hesitant to tell his father about the pups? Use examples to support your response.  
A gunny sack is a burlap bag often used to store dry goods.  (This annotation contains an image)
Billy's reaction to the sheriff is pretty extreme. What are some reasons that Billy reacts this way? Use textual evidence to support your response.  
Can you infer what Billy is watching the kids do? (This annotation contains a video)
Billy doesn't have enough experience to know that he needs to use his feet to land. Instead, he lets himself fly out of the slide and lands belly first, knocking the wind out of himself.  
In a way, Billy is as much as a spectacle to the towns people as they are to him. How are their ways of living so different? Use textual evidence to support your response.  

Chapter V

How has the figurative language used to describe Billy's voice and racing heart help you create a picture of what you are reading?  (This annotation contains a video)
Why does Billy begin to cry as he holds his pups? 
"My face was as red as a fox's tail," is an example of _______________. 
Jack Dempsey was a famous boxer in the 1920s.  (This annotation contains an image)
What does grit mean in this sentence? 
What do you think are the benefits of Billy just watching his puppy figure out how to get around the fire? What is the purpose of Billy not intervening? 
Below is a picture of a mountain lion.  (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter VI

How does the return to the fishing camp bring Billy's quest to full circle? What does he realize about his journey? Use text evidence to support your response. 
Why do you think this moment is so memorable for Billy? Use textual evidence to support your response.  
How does Billy's experience in town illustrate the importance and need for the family to live in town and expose themselves to new people and ideas? Use textual evidence to support your response. 
Why do you think Billy's father becomes so serious when he talks about the possibility of living in town? 

Chapter VII

This is what Billy's grandfather brought out. How do you think Billy can use it to trap a raccoon?  (This annotation contains an image)
Billy figures out that the raccoon will be able to remove it's hand from the trap. How does his grandfather convince Billy that the trap will work? 
Billy has grown in a lot of ways since getting the dogs. What other changes have you noticed? 
Compare and contrast Billy's persistence to saving money for his pups to his attitude towards catching a raccoon.  
Billy and his pups may have had to work extra hard to venture through the thick cane.  (This annotation contains an image)
Why do you think Mama thought Billy got bitten by a snake? 
Billy is so happy to have caught a raccoon. Why do you think his father's face is described as sorrowful? 
A muskrat is a large rodent that loves the water. They are great swimmers which explains why Billy made the comparison of Little Ann swimming like a muskrat.  (This annotation contains an image)
Explain the value of Billy's relationship with his dogs. Look beyond his ownership and focus on the dogs as being his friends. Use textual evidence to support your response.  
Chapters 1-7 Quiz 

Chapter VIII

How does the use of figurative language help create a picture of how Billy is feeling as he heads off to hunt. Describe what you see and how the text helps you create that image. Use text examples to support your response.  
What do you think the strange feeling is? 
Why is Billy so proud of his dogs? 
Billy isn't paying attention where he is going. Do you think he will get lost? 
Sycamores can grow more than 100 feet tall and 4 feet wide.  (This annotation contains an image)
What emotion can you infer Billy's father is feeling as he straightens his shoulders and lets out a deep breath? 
How did Billy's outlook change after his father leaves? Use textual evidence to explain why. 
Notice Billy's sister reaction to the old coon. Do you think the coon Billy is looking for is still in the tree? 

Chapter IX

A stone bruise is caused by stepping on a rock or hard ground.  
Billy bases his decision on his Grandpa's facial reaction. What prior experience has he had with following his Grandpa's advice? Has that experience given Billy motivation to doubt his Grandpa's advice?  
The hunting dogs will bark treed to let Billy know they have chased the raccoon into that tree. 
Billy is quick to tell his mother that his dogs have found the coon and that he expects to find it in the tree. Do you think Billy is putting too much confidence in his dogs? Support your answer with evidence from the text.  
Compare Billy's determination to his feeling of obligation to his dogs. How do the two feelings connect and grow off each other? Use text evidence to support your response.  
Billy feels guilty for assuming that Little Ann would leave Old Dan alone at the tree all night. 
Describing the wind as growing and moaning is an example of personification. Watch the clip below to learn more.  (This annotation contains a video)
Why is Billy not acting outwardly excited about catching the raccoon? 

Chapter X

Sherlock Holmes is a famous fictional detective.  
Why is Billy embarrassed when his Grandpa put soap in his pocket? 
Billy's reaction to Dan not coming is pretty harsh as he describes feeling "disgusted." Explain Billy's word choice and how it reflects on his character. Use textual evidence to support your response.  
A saw brier is a spiny, prickly plant found in the woods. The spikes are sharp and can cut through skin.  (This annotation contains an image)
Why do you think Billy considers this coon smart for pulling out his hand from a trap? 
Compare and contrast the merits of Old Dan's tenacity to find a coon. Do you think his actions create more problems for Billy or is Old Dan doing his job?  

Chapter XI

Billy has demonstrated that he is responsible and hard working; traits that he thinks make him an adult. Getting a kiss from his mom goes against that feeling, which is why he gets riled up.  
Which line contains a simile? 
Notice how Billy inserts his Grandpa's advice. Do you think Billy is hinting at what may happen in the future? Watch the video below to help you form an answer.  (This annotation contains a video)
What is getting in the way of Billy being able to help Little Ann? 
Spending too much time in freezing water can lead to Hypothermia which is when your body becomes too cold to function.  
"It seemed to be angry. It hissed and growled," is an example of what form of figurative lanugage? 
Do you think Billy's prayer was heard or was he able to save Little Ann using his knowledge of the woods and prior experience? Use textual evidence to support your claim. 

Chapter XII

Billy's success and name is travelling a wide area. Below is a map of the Ozark region. (This annotation contains an image)
Calling someone yellow is slang for saying they are a coward or afraid.  
Why do you think this bet is so important to Grandpa? Use textual evidence to support your response.  
Billy doesn't let the brothers rile him up, instead he says "dynamite [comes] in little packages." What is the meaning behind this comeback? 
Do you think Rainie and Rubin set Billy up? 
How does Little Ann's small stature make it easier for her to explore this area? 
Rainie must notice that Billy is enjoying himself and makes sure to remind Billy that the dogs haven't caught the coon yet.  

Chapter XIII

What can you infer about Rainie and Rubin's bet based on Rainie's statement? 
Do you think Rubin wanted to challenge Billy for personal pleasure or to mess with Billy's grandfather? 
Why doesn't Billy want to kill the ghost coon? 
This is what Old Blue would have looked like as a young dog.  (This annotation contains an image)
In this sentence "whipped" means to get beat up. 
What did Billy's grandpa warn the boys he would do if they cheated Billy? 
A double-bitted ax has two blades.  (This annotation contains an image)
Billy has learned a lot of life lessons from saving for his dogs to teaching them to hunt. How has his prior experiences shaped his outlook on the death of Rubin and the survival of the ghost coon? Use text examples to support your response. 
Decoration Day is now known as Memorial Day. 
Why is Billy heading over to the Pritchards' place? How do you think this visit will help Billy cope after seeing Rubin die? Use textual evidence to support your response.  

Chapter XIV

Rubin's death is taking a heavy toll on Grandpa. Notice how his appearance has changed after the accident.  
Why does Grandpa feel responsible for Rubin's death? 
Below is a picture of a Model-T Ford.  (This annotation contains an image)
Why do you think entering the contest is so appealing to Billy's Grandpa when the dogs are already being noticed?  
Notice how the use of figurative language creates an image of how Old Dan's voice carries through the scenery. 
What motivated Billy's sudden happiness and excitement? 
A banty egg is a smaller version of a chicken egg.  
What is Billy noticing when he mentions the "mysterious artist?" 
Why do Grandpa and Papa want the dogs to ride in the buggy box? 
An old codger is an eccentric.  
Chapters 8-14 Quiz 

Chapter XV

Why does Grandpa think the dogs are strange? Use textual evidence to support your response.  
Why do you think Billy is worried about hearing two screech owls? (This annotation contains an image)
How do people know about Billy and his dogs? 
This is a walker hound: (This annotation contains an image)
This is a blood hound: (This annotation contains an image)
Since day one, Billy has had to defend Little Ann because of her small size. Winning the beauty contest finally gives Little Ann the praise she deserves.  
Although Billy feels self conscious, he is accepted as an equal by most of the men. How did he achieve this? Use textual evidence to support your response.  
Why is Grandpa blowing off steam? 

Chapter XVI

Notice how Billy's role has shifted as he is now leading the hunt with his dogs using his hunting methods. 
The hunters are using bird shot to make sure the coon fur isn't torn or destroyed during the hunt.  
Why is the group rushing after the dogs? 
Notice how the tone has changed. The group has gone from laughing at everything to becoming very serious and quiet.  
Why is Grandpa throwing a fit? 
Billy is helping his own cause by strutting around looking confident. He does this to encourage the other men to put their money in.  
Papa seems to finally understand the potential of Little Ann. How does his response to the other hunter support this idea? Use text evidence to support your response.  
Why are people constantly surprised by Billy's dogs? What characteristics make Little Ann and Old Dan unique? 

Chapter XVII

Billy knows his dogs won't give up. He needs to find them before the storm gets too out of hand. 
What is Billy referring to when he says, "I could feel the silence closing in?" 
Billy's excitement and pleasure in seeing Dan is evident in his exaggeration of the volume of Dan's voice. 
What is the tone of Little Ann's bawl? 
Grandpa's injury reinvigorates the group and gives them the motivation to carry on.  
This experience brings Billy's journey to adulthood full circle. How will Grandpa's advice help Billy think and act like a man? Use textual evidence to support your response.  

Chapter XVIII

Why do you think the men seem surprised that Mr. Lathman is a doctor?  
Billy caught so many coons because he found the tree they nested in.  
Why are the men irritated with Mr. Benson? 
Dr. Lathman will make a cast for Grandpa's ankle using plaster.  
Billy's family might have enough money to finally move to town. 
Why do you think winning the hunt means so much to Grandpa? Besides being happy for his grandson, why is this win important? 
What does Mama's reaction to the money reveal about the financial situation the family is in? 
Huckleberries are a sweet fruit similar to blueberries. (This annotation contains an image)

Chapter XIX

The bobcat isn't an appealing catch for Billy. (This annotation contains an image)
What does Old Dan's silence tell Billy? 
"Throwing caution to the wind" is an idiom and it means to take a risk. 
Billy thinks of Rubin as he looks at the dead mountain lion. How does this flashback affect Billy emotionally and physically? 
Mama can't stand Billy going out hunting because it is too ______________. 
Notice how the use of simile creates a more vivid description of Billy and his Mama. 
Notice the thought and emotion Billy puts into honoring Old Dan and how Billy chooses where he will bury him. 
What is happening to Little Ann? 
Billy's hardest lesson in becoming an adult is through loss and navigating the feelings that follow.  (This annotation contains a video)
What is Papa's reasoning in explaining why both dogs were taken away? 
What does Mama say that eases Billy's pain? 

Chapter XX

What is the significance of finding the red fern for Billy? Use textual evidence to support your response.  
Finding the red ferns allows Billy closure. Billy can move forward without guilt. 
Chapters 15-20 Quiz