Dinosaurs Before Dark | 123Read&Write

A simple reading comprehension quiz and literacy activities for the children’s bookMagic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark, by Mary Pope Osborne.

Book Summary

The wonderfully written time-travel fantasy, Dinosaurs Before Dark is the perfect beginning chapter book, for a young child. Young Jack and his sister discover a tree house crammed with books. Jack wishes he could actually witness the Pteranodon pictured in one of the books, it suddenly appears! Somehow, both Jack and his younger sister have been taken back to the early Cretaceous period. While there, the two of them explore their surroundings and before they know it, are threatened by a ferocious Tyrannosaurus Rex. Luckily, the Pteranodon returns to rescue them. Before long, both Jack and his sister learn the magic which transported them back in time enabling them to use it to get back home. 

Reading Comprehension Quiz

After reading the story with your child, go to the following link to complete the quiz:


9-10 = Mastery

6-8 = Developing

<6 = Beginning

Follow-Up Lesson Plan Activities

Activity 1: Suffixes

Directions: Suffixes are letters added to the end of a root word that changes the tense of a verb, modifies the root word, or changes the meaning of the root word. The word run becomes running with the addition of the “ing” suffix. Read the following words from Dinosaurs Before Dark and add the suffix listed above each group. Write the new word on the line next to the original word.

Activity 2: Word Families

Directions: Just like an Anantosaurus has a family living in the nest, words also have families. Word families are sets of words that have the same root or base sound. Listed below are five different word families. Cut out the words from the word bank and determine what word family they belong to. Glue them into the correct column.

Activity 3: Problem/Solution

Directions: Every good story has a conflict. The conflict is the problem within the story. For a story to be really exciting it will also have many little problems. Each of the following is a problem faced in Dinosaurs Before Dark. Connect each problem to the solution on the right. Use a line to make a match.

Activity 4: Describing Setting

Directions: The setting is important to a story - it is the time and place of the novel. In Dinosaurs Before Dark, Jack and Annie leave Frog Creek Woods and are sent to the Cretaceous Period. These are the two main settings. Listed below are different descriptions of both of these settings. Determine if they describe Frog Creek Woods or the Cretaceous Period. Cut and paste them into the correct column.

Activity 5: Creative Writing Prompt - Time Travel

Directions: Jack and Annie travel through time to the Cretaceous Period when dinosaurs lived. If you could travel through time and space, where would you travel? On the lines below write a story about your adventures in another land. Draw a picture to go along with your story.

Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark Video