Island of the Blue Dolphins Activities

Activities to do with the Novel Island of the Blue Dolphins

If you are looking for some Island of the Blue Dolphins activities, you have come to the right place. This post includes novel study samples, anchor chart ideas, printables, and more.

Island of the Blue Dolphins is based on a nonfictional story of a young girl who was stranded for 18 years on an island off the coast of California during the 19th century. The story was turned into a children’s novel by Scott O’Dell in 1960. For years, students have enjoyed reading this fantastic tale of courage.

Island of the Blue Dolphins Activities

Book Unit Samples

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell Novel Study

This sample contains…

  • Vocabulary Practice for Chapter 1 
  • Constructed Response Question – Characters
  • Constructed Response Question – Point of View

Teaching Idea #1 ~ Character’s Actions Anchor Chart

Island of the Blue Dolphins Anchor Chart

Do your students need to pay closer attention to class discussions? This organizer and anchor chart pair are perfect to keep students on their toes. Have students fill out the information on their individual organizers during your class discussion of the anchor chart.   Don’t forget; by using sticky notes the anchor chart is reusable the next time you teach the novel.


Island of the Blue Dolphins Anchor Chart
Island of the Blue Dolphins Anchor Chart

Ways to Use the Graphic Organizer

Option 1

Have students use the graphic organizer for notes. Notice the notes in the photo above are not in complete sentences. Glue the organizer to the left side of the notebook page. On the right side of the notebook, students use the notes to write the details in paragraph form.

Option 2

Students complete the organizer by writing complete sentences.


Teaching Idea #2 ~ Story Illustration

Island of the Blue Dolphins Illustration

I love this illustration created by Kelley McMorris. Have students use it as a springboard to write a paragraph about the scene from the novel. 


Teaching Idea #3 ~ Research and Writing Ideas

Island of the Blue Dolphins

Cultural Understanding: Have students research the Native American tribe (Karana’s tribe) in the story and compare their culture and traditions to those of other indigenous groups.

Survival Skills: Have students analyze the survival skills Karana used on the island and compare them to modern-day survival skills.

Environmental Awareness: Have students research the wildlife and ecosystem of the island in the story and discuss the importance of preserving and protecting the environment.

Compare & Contrast: Have students compare and contrast Karana’s life on the island to their own lives and reflect on what they would do in a similar situation.

Creative Writing: Have students write a journal entry from Karana’s perspective during a specific event in the story.


Teaching Idea #4 ~ The Real Setting

This short video shows breathtaking views of the Anacapa Island as narrators describe the reliability of the novel’s history.

Teaching Idea #5 – 1964 Movie

I couldn’t find the movie online as it is copyrighted. I have not seen the film and don’t know how well it correlates with the book. The movie runs for approximately 93 minutes. Here is the link to add the movie to your Google Play wishlist.

Teaching Idea #6  – Scholastic Book Files

This free book from Scholastic provides 63 pages of ideas and information. For example, there is a full author description. Chapter-by-Chapter discussion questions are provided. Plot and theme information are also included.

Teaching Idea #7 – Activities from RIF

Island of the Blue Dolphins Activities

Check out these nine activities from Reading is Fundamental. You’ll find leveled reading passages, crossword puzzles, word searches, and memory games in both easy and hard levels.


Island of the Blue Dolphins Activities
Island of the Blue Dolphins Novel Study

See the product that inspired this post.

Island of the Blue Dolphins Novel Study includes vocabulary practice, comprehension questions, constructed response writing, and skill practice. 

Gay Miller

Permanent link to this article: