Introduction

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

by Mark Haddon

“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” is a novel written by British author Mark Haddon. The book was first published in 2003 and quickly became a critical and commercial success. The story is told from the perspective of Christopher John Francis Boone, a fifteen-year-old boy with Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism.

When Christopher discovers that his neighbour’s dog has been killed, he sets out to solve the mystery of who committed the crime. His investigation leads him on a journey that challenges him both mentally and emotionally, and ultimately uncovers uncomfortable truths about those closest to him.

The book is notable for portraying a character with autism and their challenges in navigating the world around them. Haddon’s writing style is engaging and insightful, providing readers with an intimate glimpse into the mind of someone with a unique perspective on the world.
“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” has received numerous awards and accolades, including the Whitbread Book of the Year Award and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book. The book has been adapted for the stage and screen, and its impact on the representation of autism in literature and media has been widely recognised.

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Title: Understanding Autism Through Literature

Objective: 

Students will gain a better understanding of autism through reading “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” by Mark Haddon.

Materials:

  • Copies of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” for each student
  • interactive Whiteboard – www.chatbooks.co.uk
  • Chart paper and markers
  • Handout on autism (can be found online)

Procedure:

Introduction (10 minutes)

  • Introduce the topic of autism and ask students if they have any prior knowledge or experience.
  • Today, we will explore autism through literature by reading “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” by Mark Haddon.
  • Explain that the book’s protagonist, Christopher, has Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism and that we will use the reader to understand the condition better.

Reading (40 minutes)

  • Have students read the first chapter of the book independently.
  • As they read, ask them to note any aspects of Christopher’s behaviour or thought process that they find interesting or different and to create three questions.

Discussion (40 minutes)

  • Bring the class together for a discussion on the first chapter.
  • Ask students to share their observations on Christopher’s behaviour or thought process and use the Whiteboard to write down their responses.
  • Have students work in small groups to discuss their observations and how they relate to autism.
  • Bring the class back together and ask groups to share their observations and any conclusions they drew about Christopher’s behaviour.

Questions ChatBooks (20 minutes)

  • Gather all student’s questions
  • Input into Chatbooks.co.uk

Wrap-Up (10 minutes)

  • Ask students to reflect on what they have learned about autism through reading the first chapter of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” and the handout.
  • End the lesson by asking students to share any questions about autism or the book.

Assessment:

  • Informal assessment through class participation and group discussions
  • Formal assessment through a written reflection on what they learned about autism through reading “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.”

Extensions:

  • Have students research and present a famous person with autism.
  • Invite a guest speaker with autism to speak to the class.
  • Have students write a creative piece from the perspective of someone with autism.