Print Awareness Matters When Reading

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SWBAT read the story Hats Off for the Fourth of July and build print awareness concepts that help them gain meaning. SWBAT answer two focus questions that help them gain broad meaning of and a sense of a purpose to the story. SWBAT create an art project that will accompany their President writing.

Big Idea

Patriotism is love of and loyalty to our country.

Prepare the Learner

10 minutes

I read America the Beautiful  sing and read storybook that is published by Scholastic.  I like this one because the illustrations help students understand the song and what is happening in it.  If you do not have the storybook,  you could use this video and song



After I read the book, I let the kids listen to the song on either a CD or with the video.  I practice the first few lines with the kids using echo reading of the book.  


Using video is something I am incorporating in my classroom much more with Common Core.  As students get older, they will be expected to listen to learn in addition to read to learn.  Using this video with the support of the book sets the stage for just that!

I say:  Oh beautiful  Kids repeat Oh beautiful.  I say: for spacious skies  Kids repeat: for spacious skies    I do this through the song line  …for amber waves of grain.  We then practice that far with the music or video.  If I am using a CD, I will flip through the book and show the pictures that go with the music so the kids have visual clues for the words. 


I tell the kids that we will continue to practice this song and learn more words tomorrow.

Interact with text/concept

45 minutes


Print Awareness

I review front cover, back cover and table of contents with students.  We read the title, Hats Off for the Fourth of July!.  

We then read and discuss the focus questions: Why is there a parade?  What is special about this date?   I say: As we are reading, everybody listen for those two pieces of information-why is this parade happening and why the date is special.

pp. 1-4

II ask volunteers to show me where to start reading on pages 1 and 2.  I ask them how they know that is where to start. (left side of page, capital letter)  I also ask volunteers to show me where to stop reading. (end mark, right side of page)

I read pages 1-4.  After I read each page I say: Did you hear the rhyming words?  What were they?  Turn to your partner and tell your partner the rhyming words you heard.


pp. 5-8

I read pages 5-8.  I stop on pages 7-8 and point to the signs on the float and band’s banner.  We talk about what information we can get from each of those signs. (name of float and band, what kids on float are “doing”)

After I read each page I say: Did you hear the rhyming words?  What were they?  Turn to your partner and tell your partner the rhyming words you heard.


pp. 9-12

I read pages 9-12.  I remind the students that we have been practicing three types of end marks.  I ask: What are the three types of end marks we have been practicing and what do they mean?  (period=telling,  question mark=asking,  exclamation mark= strong emotion)

On page 12  I point out the exclamation marks and ask students: Who remembers what that means? (strong emotion) I then read the sentences in a normal voice and in an excited voice.  I let the kids practice doing the same.  We also practice saying familiar phrases in normal and excited voices.  (Help!  Watch out!)


pp. 13-16

I read pages 13-16.  I ask volunteers to come and point to and name letters with rounded shapes.  I do the same for the letters with straight lines.



I read pages 17-20.  I invite students to point to the first word in each sentence on each page.  I ask: What kind of letter do we use at the beginning of a sentence?  What letter does each sentence begin with?


pp. 21-24

I read pages 21-24.  I ask students: What does the sign on the back of the bicycle tell us? (the parade is over)  What is the skywriting telling us? (Happy 4th of July)


I review the focus questions Why is there a parade? (to celebrate the 4th of July)  What is special about this date? (It is the day we gained our independence from England)


Student answers to these questions and all of the questions in this lesson give me a good idea of what the kids are grasping.  Student answers give me the opportunity to offer immediate corrective feedback or quick opportunities to reteach in context.

Extend Understanding

20 minutes

American Symbols book-supporting and extending the theme of Patriotism


President art

Students each get a picture of our president.  Students color the picture and we frame the picture with torn brown construction paper.

There are two ways to create the book and glue the writing with the art project:

  1.  Glue art and writing on an 11 x 18 sheet of construction paper either side by side or by placing art on top and writing on bottom.
  2. Cut 11 x18 sheets of construction paper in half and create a book with enough pages that will hold writing and art for entire unit.  Writing and art can be glued on facing pages.


I have made the book in two different sized versions over the years and here is how they both lay out!  Both sizes look great when done.  It is personal preference on which way you want to construct the book.


Lessons and learnings connect to each other within a lesson and/or throughout a lesson series.  This part of this lesson springboards from the text because the topic of the text is Patriotism.  Almost every picture has an American symbol in it.  This  art will be the picture representation of the  writing page in their book.  The rigor of creating this book is high. It cannot be done in one lesson or one day.  It must be taught in a series.  Also, it requires students to retain learning from day to day!