A Curriculum Guide for use with The Dragonling.
THE DRAGONLING is a beginning chapter book suitable for second - third grade reading level.
SUMMARY: Finding a baby dragon accidentally left alive after his older brother’s dragon quest, Darek risks
death and the anger of his people in trying to return it to the Valley of the Dragons.
RECOMMENDED BY: Kirkus, School Library Journal, Booklist, Language Arts, Notes on the Windowsill, Jim
Trelease’s Read-Aloud Handbook, The Book Report, Walter the Giant Storyteller
THE FOLLOWING Activity program was developed by Mary Akin, a second grade teacher from Laurel Hall
School in North Hollywood, California.
Evoke Empathy: In small groups, brainstorm ideas for sentence # 1 below. Next have all groups share as a
class. Teacher charts ideas. Repeat for #2.
What is something you would really like to do that people say you’re too young to do?
What is the bravest thing you think a person your age could do?
Autobiographical Incident: Write about a time when you were told that you could not do something because
you were too young. How did you feel about that? Why did you think you should be allowed to do it? Ask for
volunteers who would like to share their writing.
Map Skills: Look at a relief map of the United States. Note how different geographical features are pictured.
Class Discussion: Where do stories (legends) of dragons come from?
Shared Reading: Look up “dragon” in the encyclopedia. Discuss good and evil impressions of dragons.
THROUGH STRATEGIES: Students will keep an ongoing reading log or journal in which they record their
responses to the literature. Journals may be shared in groups, read aloud, or used to generate discussion
INTO: Refer to previous discussion on bravery. Write 2 or 3 sentences in journal on what bravery is and
how one can show that he/she is brave.
THROUGH: Under journal page entry add passage from page 4 (mother’s statement) about what it takes to
prove you are a man.
What do we find out about the villagers and their feelings for dragons?
Why is a dragon quest important to a young boy?
How did you feel about the dragon claws being made into a necklace?
How did you feel when you read that Clep’s best friend had been killed?
Does this knowledge make it hard for you to read more or are you interested in what happens next?
In your journal, draw a picture of a Yuke.
Start a diary for Darek. Write about looking forward to your first dragon quest.
Draw your impression of a Great Blue.
Have you ever been so excited about an event that you couldn’t sleep? Discuss this in a small group.
Share with whole group. Teacher chart ideas.
What do we know about Darek from pgs. 9 &10?
Chart Darek’s character traits for journal.
What do you think of Darek’s decision to be friendly to the dragonling? What do you think he should do
next? Why? Small group discussion. Whole group chart ideas. For journal write - what if you found a baby
dragon? How would you care for it? What problems might arise? Would you enjoy caring for the dragon?
Draw a baby dragon in your journal.
Begin a group mural or model project depicting Darek’s village.
You decide to return your dragonling to the Valley of the Dragons. The journey will take you about three
days. What should you take with you? Draw pictures of these things.
Have you ever had to do something that made you so nervous you almost felt sick? Share your
experiences in a small group. Volunteers may share in a large group.
THROUGH: On page 15 Darek’s stomach twists into a knot. Why does he feel this way?
Would you disobey your parents to help the dragonling if you were Darek? How could you help the
dragon and still be loyal to your parents?
Begin constructing mountains around Darek’s village. Create the mountain pass Darek will have to go
through to get to the Valley of the Dragons.
Draw a map Darek can use to get to the Valley of the Dragons. Make sure your map has a key, symbols,
and a compass rose.
INTO: Describe what you think the dragons will be like in the Valley of the Dragons. Discuss in small
groups. Share in large group. Teacher chart.
For journal, write a diary entry from Darek. Describe what he thought of dragons before he met the
dragonling? Tell about how the dragonling really behaved.
Talk about the author’s inventiveness in creating new plants and animals. How does the author help us to
understand what these things are?
Look at the illustration on page 25. Do the illustrations support the text?
If you were writing a dragon story, what sounds would your dragon make? Write a happy sound, a sad
sound, a hungry sound.
INTO: You are approaching the Valley of the Dragons. You reach the top of the pass and look down into
the Valley. What do you see? Small group discuss. Large group share.
Pg. 27, Darek grows sad at the thought of leaving Zantor behind. How have his feelings changed in the
last few days?
Pgs. 28 & 29. Read the description of the Valley of the Dragons. Compare it to what you imagined, Is it
the same or different?
How do you think Zantor feels about returning to the valley?
Continue the mural/model. Begin the Valley of the Dragons.
Darek’s diary entry - What are your thoughts when you look into the Valley of the Dragons. What do you
INTO: How do you get an animal to adopt another animal’s baby as its own? Discuss real life situations
where this has worked. What are the dangers? (Read from James Herriott’s stories.)
What do you think Darek is thinking when he sees the campfires down the hill behind him?
Add to the chart of Darek’s character traits. What have we learned about him?
Draw, paint, or construct dragons in various colors for the mural/model.
Darek’s diary entry - how does he feel when he realizes his father is probably coming after him?
INTO: Darek is about to meet the Great Blue face to face. How will he get it to accept the Zantor? Small
group discussion. Share.
Pg. 40. Why does Darek call the dragonling a traitor?
Write a letter to your cousin in the village. Tell her about your first dragon fight.
What different feelings did Darek experience in this chapter?
Read again the chart of what we expected the dragons to be like. How are the dragons like or unlike
what we predicted?
INTO: If you could imagine living in peace with wild animals around you, which animals would you choose
and why? Small group discussion. Share with large group.
How is Darek’s dream for peace with the dragon’s like our dream of peace?
What is the reality of Darek’s situation? How is it different from the life he imagines?
BEYOND: How difficult is it to face your parents when you have a disagreement? How can you overcome