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The dog that made a wedding

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By Rosalind Kerven — Author

This story is a retelling of a folk tale from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Typical of the genre, it reflects the values of the local society, has a repetitive structure, a pattern of three, and the story relies on an animal that talks.

Children will enjoy and appreciate this story most if they have had previous experience of hearing or reading folk and traditional tales from other cultures. They will also need a good grasp of common spelling patterns for long vowel phonemes to be able to decode this text easily. However, the repetitive structure should help.


These teachers’ notes refer to the PRINT ONLY guided reading leaflet in Literacy Time PLUS Ages 5 to 7, September 2009.

Before reading

  • Explain to the children that this is a folk tale from the African continent. Show where Africa and the Congo are on a globe or a map.
  • Discuss other folk or traditional tales the children know, particularly from parts of Africa, such as the Anansi stories.
  • Explain that these stories were originally passed on orally and this is a retelling. Ask what they might expect in the story – a talking animal, a problem to solve or a task to complete and a happy ending?

About the author

Rosalind Kerven is author of the Grim Gruesome Viking Villain series ( and has written more than 50 children’s books. Read more about her at

Further reading

Anansi’s Hat-shaking Dance by Bev Long (Leaflet 2, Literacy Time Years 1 and 2, January 2007, Issue 28).

Reading support

  • Recap phonic aspects identified through current assessment for learning – eg, common long vowel phoneme patterns, tricky words, or the suffix -ed. Model how to blend one or two of these aspects during their reading.
  • Run through which strategies to use after trying phonic approaches – eg, using context, reading on to the end of a sentence.
  • Tell the children the young man’s name.
  • Ensure the children understand the meaning of forbidden.
  • As they are reading, ask the children to write down interesting words or phrases that are new to them.

Reading the text

  • Ask the children to read as far as ‘a closely-guarded secret’ (halfway down the first page). Now ask questions 1 and 2 from the activity sheet below. Encourage the children to consider why the young man loves the girl and what sort of person she might be. Refer back to their responses to Q2b when they have read the rest of the story.
  • Ask the children to read the rest of the story individually.

Literacy Framework

See the Using this issue chart here to identify the Learning Objectives covered by these activities, to track progression from Reception through to Year 3, and to identify links with Year 1 and 2 Planning Units.


  • Use the remaining questions on the activity sheet below to support the children’s understanding of the story. Children could answer the questions orally or in writing.
  • Ask the children to think back to the description of the girl’s eyes and why they thought the writer had described them that way. Now they know more about the girl, ask what they think about the description.
  • Share any words the children found interesting – perhaps: bounded, sweetheart, overjoyed or wonderful.
  • Why do they think the girl was so happy at the end?

Follow-up to guided reading

  • Invite the children to retell the story. You could provide some prompts to structure their retelling – eg:

The beginning (young man has a problem);
Little Dog 1;
Little Dog 2;
Little Dog 3;
The happy ending.
  • Practise retelling the story several times until they feel confident, then film or record the children telling the story.


  1. hiba
    on 29 July 2012

    the book

    i really want to read this book pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease.

    1out of 5
  2. bolaji
    on 10 June 2012

    The dog that made a wedding

    Where can I buy this book?

  3. Victoria Evans
    on 13 May 2010

    finding the text

    Lovely ideas. Where can I get this text/ book/ story? Thank you

    5out of 5


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