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Mr Dog Looks For Breakfast
a children's story for learning English

by Thor May


1. Mr. Dog woke up one Spring morning and yawned.

2. He stretched his legs and wrinkled his nose.

3. Then he sniffed the breeze. There were many interesting smells in the air.

4. He could smell the jaoze* steaming in Mrs. Li's kitchen. That made his to tongue hang out, and he panted a little with pleasure.

5. Presently he caught another scent. It was that damned Tabby cat. He frowned, and growled deep in his throat.

6. The silly thing was watching him for sure, hiding behind a fence or something. He looked around suspiciously, but Tabby was not to be seen.

7. Mr. Dog remembered a scratch on his front leg from the sharp claws of Tabby. He growled again and licked the scratch morosely.

8. Just then something tickled inside his ear. He shook his head sharply, but the tickle didn't go away. Maybe it was a pesky ant.

9. It wasn't fair. Why was life full of trouble? He began to whine and brush at his ear with his right paw.

10. The aroma from Mrs. Li's jaoze drifted past his nose again. Mm, yummy. He stood up and scratched the ground a little with his paws. It felt good.

11. Then he trotted around to the back of the house where he knew Mrs. Li was cooking.

12. Mr. Dog scratched at the back door eagerly, and panted with anticipation.

13. When Mrs. Li opened the door he wagged his tail in the friendliest way, and gave a little bark to say "hello".

14. Mrs. Li was in a bad mood. Her brow was dark. When she saw Mr. Dog she gave a snort of anger.

15. "You mangy mutt!" she shouted, picking up an old shoe and throwing it at him.

16. The shoe caught Mr. Dog fairly on the snout. He yelped in surprise and pain, then shook his head. It still hurt.

17. Mrs. Li was looking for another shoe to throw, so Mr. Dog hastily ran away with his tail between his legs.

18. He began to whine softly again, looking fearfully over his shoulder. It wasn't fair. No breakfast this morning. Why was the world so cruel?



* "jaoze" is the Chinese name for a steamed bread bun with some meat inside. Most Chinese people love jaoze. In Korea this bun is called a "mandu".

Mr Dog © Thorold May 2001; all rights reserved

** Teaching Notes

Mr Dog is a story for children. However, it is good for anyone to use for learning English (the best children's stories are loved by all ages).

Mr Dog's story is full of action. It should be spoken AND acted. Over-acting it is even more fun. In student pairs, student can narrate while the other student acts.

Our brain switches on with emotion. It switches off with boredom. Acting out a story like Mr Dog gives us a chance to show emotion without risk. When we show -- and feel -- emotion, then learning becomes easy.

In this kind of teaching and learning, the teacher can be a lead actor. If the teacher acts, even a little crazily, then the students also have permission to act freely. If the teacher is without shame, then the students have permission not to feel shame when they act.

Students can be encouraged to make up their own sketches like Mr Dog. This makes an useful assignment. I have seen students create some astonishing and really excellent sketches.

Note: the principles behind Mr Dog have been strongly influenced by the T.P.R. (Total Physical Response) theory of learning.

Thor May,
Pusan, South Korea, 2001


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