Dragon Comprehends Keys Ideas & Details (Reading Comprehension Lesson Plan)

Author: Ken Baker
Lesson Plan:

Objective of Reading Comprehension lesson plan: Help teachers achieve reading literature common core standards on key ideas and details by practicing reading comprehension skills.

Reading Comprehension lesson plan materials required:

Preparation for Reading Comprehension lesson
: Make enough copies of the Comprehension Forms/Handouts for each student.

Plot Comprehension
Read the picture book Old MacDonald had a Dragon to the whole class. After reading the book, discuss with the class the problems that the farmer faced in the story. What problem did he have in the beginning of the book? What choices did he have? Did he remain happy with his choice? How did the problem get worse? How did he finally resolve the problem? Ask the students in the class if they liked the farmer's resolution to the problem. If desired, ask the students how they would have resolved the problem.

Discuss how most traditional stories follow a similar predictable pattern. The main character faces a problem that he or she must resolve, and often the problem gets worse until the main character ultimately resolves the problem. Ask the students if they can think of examples of other stories that they've read or heard that follows this pattern. If desired, you can put the students in groups or team them up with partners to talk about and think of examples of other stories. After a few minutes, bring them back together to discuss their ideas or present your own story examples. Examples of stories might include the following:

  • Jack and the Beanstalk: Jack's family is poor. He trades cow for magic beans. Mom gets mad and throws beans away. Jack climbs beanstalk and steals giant's treasure. Giant tries to eat Jack. Jack chops down beanstalk.
  • The Three Pigs: Wolf wants to eat pigs. Pigs build houses. Wolf blows down straw and stick houses (in some versions eats the pigs). Pig in the brick house is safe until wolf goes down chimney. Pig cooks wolf in big pot of water.

Have the students answer the questions in the story comprehension forms to practice their story comprehension abilities and assess their comprehension.

Character Comprehension
Who are the main characters of the story? Ask and discus with the students what are some of the things they know about the main characters. Have the students answer the questions in the character comprehension forms to practice their character comprehension abilities and assess their comprehension.

Setting Comprehension
Discuss the setting for Old MacDonald had a dragon. Ask the students the types of things that are usually found on a farm. Discuss the different types of farms (i.e., farms with different animals, dairy farms, farms that only grow crops, farms that have animals and crops, etc.). Talk about how the use of adjectives helps readers better visualize the setting in a story. Have the students answer questions in the setting comprehension form to practice their setting comprehension abilities and assess their comprehension, as well as to experiment with descriptive language to describe a setting of their choice.

Optional Activity: Think-Aloud Comprehension Skill Development
Think-aloud strategies can help student's comprehension on tests. By verbalizing their thoughts with a think-aloud process students have to occasionally stop and reflect upon what they're reading or hearing, which ultimately helps them develop their comprehension skills.

To conduct this think-aloud activity, the first time you read Old MacDonald had a Dragon to the students, do not show them the pictures on each page of the book until you have 1) Read the text on the page, 2) Asked the students the questions listed below associated with the pages indicated, and 3) The students have had a chance to respond out loud to the questions.

  • Page w/ farmer singing on porch - What do you think the farmer looks like? Does the cow sound happy, sad, or mad?
  • Page that first shows the dragon - What do you picture the dragon doing on this page?
  • Page showing the pig leaving - How do you think the pig is planning to leave?
  • Page w/ farmer singing about the dog - What do you picture the dog doing?
  • Page singing moo-oink-baa-woof - What do you picture the farmer and animals doing?

Additional Optional Reading Comprehension and Writing Activities

Alternative Ending: Have the students think of their own alternative ending for the story and ask them to write that ending.

Imaginative Writing: Ask the students to write about the problems and/or good things that would happen if they had a dragon at their house.

More on Adjectives: Discuss some the "descriptive" language used in the story by the dragon and have the students write sentences using some of those adjectives or adjectives of your choice. (Delightful Dairy/Savory Swine/Marvelous Mutton/Terrible Tummy Ache). This could also be an opportunity to discuss alliteration.

Story Comparison: Read to the class the picture book Cow Can't Sleep by Ken Baker. Ask about and discuss with the class the similarities between this book and Old MacDonald had a Dragon (i.e., It's on a farm, animals, farmer, etc.). Discuss and ask about how they're different. (i.e., different plot, no dragon, daytime vs nighttime, etc.)