'The dog was lying on the grass in the middle of the lawn in front of Mrs Shears' house. It looked as if it was running on its side, the way dogs run when they think they are chasing a cat in a dream. But the dog was not running or asleep. The dog was dead. There was a garden fork sticking out of the dog.'
This year I have decided that I want to read Mark Haddon's novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time with my first year students. I have heard about this novel since it was first published in 2003, but this is the first time I have read it. This is not the hardest novel to read when it comes to the language part, and I believe many will find the story quite simple. I nevertheless believe this novel can help my 16 years old students understand that a novel can be read and understood at various levels.
I have just started planning how to teach this novel (please leave a comment if you have any great tips!), and I will come back with a lesson plan later on. When searching on the internet for resources, however, I came across this Swiss page, which has various ideas for teaching literature. My plan so far is to use the audio book-version of the novel in the beginning, so that all of the students get into the novel as fast as possible. My experience is that even students at 16 like to listen when someone reads to them, and even if the language here is not a challenge, it may help them through the first pages. At Randomhouse you can also read an extract from the novel and also listen to a section from the text.
More resources on the novel: