Look Out Kindergarten, Here Comes a Close Read!

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SWBAT examine the relationship between text and picture

Big Idea

What do kindergartners like about school?

Prepare the Learner

15 minutes


I explain: There are certain words that we will use in school and  several of them are in the story we are going to read.


I write each of the following words on word cards with pictures to illustrate them: letters, numbers, art 

Because these words are familiar to my students, I do not pantomime these words.  I do discuss with students how each of these are used in school.

I ask: Does anyone see 'letters' in our classroom?  Where do we have numbers in our classroom?  Can you show me 'art' in our classroom?  These prompts bring the words to life through meaningful context that is all around them!


I conclude:  As we read our story today, I want you to listen for these words and notice when Henry sees these things in his school!


While some may see this as teaching vocabulary in isolation, it really is not.  We discuss the words through context and the dictionary illustrations also challenge the kids to provide context. This allows me to check for understanding.  We further examine these words in the context of the story through the reading. 

Interacting with text/concept

30 minutes

Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come! by Nancy Carlson

2nd Read- first half of story

Because my students are second language learners and speak almost no English at the beginning of the year, reading an entire text for deeper meaning can be overwhelming to them.  For this reason, I often break reads up into manageable chunks so that my students can gain understanding without shutting down.


I ask: Who can come up and point to the title of the story on the cover?  I prompt: Remember, the title is the NAME of the book.   


I point to the author’s name and ask: Does anyone remember what the author's job is?  If students do not recall, I prompt:  The author is the person who writes the words.  The words in this book are under the pictures. 


As I read, I model how we track words when reading.  I point out early on how we return sweep at the end of the line.  I say:  Boys and girls, when we get to the end of a line in a book we go around and down to continue reading if we see more words.  Everybody say “around and down.”  (students repeat)

I read the story and stop at the following stopping points to check for understanding:


page 5: What is happening in the picture?   Can you tell from the picture how Henry feels? 

page 9:  What is Henry’s mom doing?   What else is happening in the picture?   


page 10:  Does the picture add some information to the text?   Does the text explain everything that is happening in the picture?    I like to point out that good readers use both the pictures and the words to gain meaning from the story.  


page 13:  Point out the thought cloud and say:  Illustrators can SHOW us what the characters are thinking by using thought clouds.  Everyone say ‘thought clouds.’   ( Students repeat)  Can somebody come up and point to the thought cloud and describe what is happening-what Henry is thinking about? 

pages 14, 15, 16, 18  I repeat this for the next several pages that have thought clouds on them.

Extending understanding

20 minutes

Collaborative Conversations

I ask:  What is your favorite part of the story so far?  I want you to THINK about what part you like the best.  Don't tell me, THINK.  As I say this, I am touching my head with my finger to indicate thinking.  I have the students do the same and prompt: SHOW me you are thinking like this.  I give students wait time before I continue, so they have time to recall story events.


They can use specific items in the story or pictures to support their thinking.    For my second language learners  language learners I provide linguistic patterns that they can use to help in their discussion. 


I think aloud:  My favorite part of the story is when Henry packs his backpack.  I liked this part because it reminds me that we need to come prepared to learn!  

I prompt:   Boys and girls, you can use those sentence starters to help you talk about your favorite part.  Students echo me to practice the linguistic patterns:  "My favorite part of the story is when _____.  I liked this part because ____."


As students are talking, I try to listen to most or all of the converstations and have a few students model their conversations for the group after the activity.  This allows the kids to see and hear what a productive conversation looks and sounds like!


Here is a great video that models how to teach children collaborative conversation strategies: