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Lesson Plan for

Granny Will Your Dog Bite and Other Mountain Rhymes

Created By:

Brenda Muse

Benjamin Franklin Middle School
375 Middle School Road
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151 or

Took old Sager out a-huntin' one night. 

Blind as he could be; 

He treed eleven possums up a sour gum stump, 

I'll be danged if Sager can't see.

Granny Will Your Dog Bite and Other Mountain Rhymes


Milnes, Gerald. Granny Will Your Dog Bite and Other Mountain Rhymes. Illus. Kimberly Bulcken Root. Little Rock: August House Little Folk, 1990.


Granny Will Your Dog Bite and Other Mountain Rhymes is a fabulous Appalachia Mountain rhyme book that encompasses both visual and verbal humor. Students will be drawn to the visual illustrations displayed and the similarities of country people in rural and remote areas. Based on their own preparation and presentation of choral readings from the text, students will learn to value and appreciate where they live and respect the differences present in other regions. 

Grade Level:  6th

Subject: Language Arts

Time Frame: 2 to 5 days, 45 minutes each day

Learner Outcomes: 

  • The learner will respond to poetry in the form of oral interpretation.
  • The learner will identify the speaker(s) in the poem in preparation for a choral reading.
  • The learner will apply a variety of critical thinking strategies in preparation for a choral reading.
  • The learner will compare and contrast poems, characters, and oral interpretations.

Materials: copy of Granny Will Your Dog Bite and Other Mountain Rhymes

Book Summary:

"Gerald Milnes . . . has been collecting rhymes, ditties, verses, and riddles from his West Virginia mountain neighbors since 1975" (Note on Author). Granny Will Your Dog Bite and Other Mountain Rhymes offers a small sampling of Milnes' collection. "The rhymes, by unknown authors, have been passed down through an oral tradition that is kept alive by folks who are still using them in the traditional way" (Author's Note). Many of the poems contain first-person speakers, representing a variety of voices, character types, and experiences in mountain life.


Choral Reading

  • In a mini lesson, choral reading will be defined as an oral interpretation that is subjective (more than one way to interpret) to the reader and listener. A group or chorus takes on roles and reads aloud the lines of a poem using voice and facial expressions to bring the poem to life. Special attention will need to occur with poems that are lengthy and contain multiple characters. Students will need to know exactly where each line of the poem begins and ends.

  • Students will select a poem out of the book and reread the poem, noting which character speaks which lines. Students will choose roles and decide what type of voice and facial expressions each character should have in order to convey the poem's meaning and mood.

  • Students will present their choral reading to the class.


Musical/Rhythmic Learners

  • After students have completed the choral reading, they should be encouraged to imagine what kind of simple melody would go well with one of the poems illustrated and perform it. Alternatively, have students pick a favorite song and lip-synch or speak the poem over the melody or rhythm of the song. Those students who are musically inclined could softly play an instrument while the poem is being read.


After the readings, discuss with students which interpretation of a character's voice they especially enjoyed. The evaluations may be based on the student's level of preparation for both activities described above. Students will have guidelines in order to evaluate the readings.


Discuss the difference between poems that are written to entertain and poetry that is meant to teach a lesson.

Extending the Lesson:

Discuss the use of dialect in both the written and the oral presentation of poems.  

Additional Applit Resource:  

Appalachian Dialects by Stephanie Humphries (Includes comprehensive analysis of dialect in Cynthia Rylant's Missing May and Alan Schroeder's Smoky Mountain Rose:  An Appalachian Cinderella.)

Bibliography on Appalachian Dialects  by Stephanie Humphries

Dialect Links click on Dialect

Index of AppLit Pages by Genre: Picture Books
Index of AppLit Pages by Genre: Poetry

This Page Created: 10/31/2002   |   Top of Page   |   Site Index  |   Last Update: 03/21/2002 10:55 AM