Where the Red Fern Grows

by Wilson Rawls

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Ideas for Reports and Papers

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1. Rawls writes a beautiful description of Billy's home in chapter two. Make a collage using pictures from magazines that illustrate his description. Display your finished piece.

2. Find out about steel traps, the kind Billy used. Talk to a hunter/trapper who has traps. Video tape a demonstration of how to set and spring a trap. Interview the trapper to learn how he prepares traps, sets his trapping lines, prepares pelts, and markets them. Share your work with classmates.

3. Make a display of dogs who are hunting breeds. Include the redbone coonhound Billy wanted.

4. Billy saved for two full years to accumulate fifty dollars, the cost of two coon pups. Find the average cost of two coon pups today. What money-making activities could a ten-year-old do today to earn money? Make a list of them and what you think could be earned by each. How long would it take to acquire the needed money?

5. Billy hunts the river bottoms of his home. Find his home on a map. Use the Internet, encyclopedias, library books, or travel literature to learn about the Ozarks and the Cherokee lands. Share your information with your classmates.

6. Billy was a coon hunter. Write a paper on the regulations for coon hunting today. List the regulations for coon hunting gleaned from Where the Red Fern Grows. Compare and contrast present day regulations to those of the early twenties.

7. Work with a friend and prepare an interview on the social issues and public sensitivities surrounding coon hunting, or perhaps any kind of hunting, today. Prepare questions to which you find answers. Role play. One of you is the interviewer and the other the hunter being interviewed. You may audio tape or video tape your interview to share with classmates.

8. Billy believes in God and prayer. List the occasions when Billy prays, asking for help. Beside each petition write the outcome/answer to his prayers.

9. Grandpa owns and operates a general store and mill. What is his store like? Do we have anything like this today? Research merchandising at this time in history. Sears Roebuck Catalog has reprinted their old catalogs and you can sometimes find them in libraries where they are considered resources. Many people living in rural and/or remote places used the catalog and placed "mail-order requests" to get a variety of items needed for everyday living. How are general stores and the Sears Roebuck Catalog alike?
10. In chapter eighteen, Mr. Kyle said people call it loyalty when a dog lays down his life for his master, but he calls it love. What do you think about a dog showing love? Respond to what the gentleman said about love in the hearts of men and the kind of world this would be.

11. Billy enjoyed the company of his grandfather and the wisdom he shared with him. Interview an older relative or friend. What gems of wisdom can they share with you? Write a short paper about that person and talk about the influence he or she has in your life.

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