An Elementary Reading Literacy Development Lesson

Author: Yiwen Bi
Lesson Plan:

Target Group: 10 second-grade students in a class, both English native students (different ethnics and races) and ESL learners (2 persons)

(Although the ESL students are in a minority group, as a teacher I should positively know, respect and teach each of them rather than ignoring their behaviors or assuming their understandings as good as those of native speakers. In general, when an ESL student feels boring or confused about the vocabulary and text, I may combine his/her life and background knowledge with text-talk strategy to motivate him/her) 

General Information: This lesson (executed by one teacher who is knowledgeable about the easy-reader books in this lesson, students’ literacy development and reading, and word instruction) is designed and practiced for 10 second-grade young children in a common class and intends to develop their literacy capabilities. It also focuses on reading instruction and study of words.

Objectives and principles of the Lesson: this comprehensive literacy instruction lesson aims at:

(1)     Developing students’ reading and text-comprehension capabilities in a generally interactive way so that the students are able to read and comprehend the story.

(2)     Fostering their Phonemic Awareness to advance their literacy development

(3)     Enriching their common knowledge and steering ESL students to actively get to know a typical story under U.S. culture so that the ESL students are able to culturally understand the story

(4)     Having students study 2 specific words and correcting their specific errors so that they are able to correctly use the 2 new words

(5)     Improving their writing by understanding and rewriting a story

(6)     Guaranteeing that all students have fair access to the lesson

(7)     Paying more attention to the theme and practice and emphasizing students’ thinking and problem-solving


Materials and Equipment Needed:

(1)   A Pocket for Corduroy (Freeman, 1978)

This book appropriate for first/second graders relates a story about a teddy bear (Corduroy) spending a night at a Laundromat. Each student in class has his/her own book supply.

(Although the book is generally designed for K-2 graders, I should not overlook different English language levels of students, particularly the 2 ESLs. Not all of the students are able to comprehend the story and the word knowledge in the same degree. Even introducing directions of my activities, I should be prepared to spend more time on it if ESL students do not understand them) 


(2)   My First Look At Clothes—A preschool picture book that makes finding out fun (Random House, 1991). Text and photographs depict what clothes are worn when it is hot, when it is cold, when people go to bed, when people go to seashore, and what clothes people put on first when getting dressed)

(3) Sam’s Teddy Bear (Barbro Lindgren, 1982) (an easy-reader picture book for kindergarteners-1 graders)

(3)   Students’ other stationery and notebooks

(4)   Moveable alphabetic cards and paper whiteboard in front of class

(ESL students are not given special wordlist or study content in order not to generate a wrong collective self-esteem. ESL students will not over-depend on the worth of certain minority group they belong to if only they feel they do the same tasks as others do. When I group students, the two ESL students are not in the same group normally so that they have more inter-cultural interaction opportunities. But basically I group students according to their levels; if one of the ESLs proves to have a little bit better or very good command in English literacy, he/she can help the other ESL with shared culture in the same group)


Procedures: (60 minutes) 

1) Warm-up activity (4 minutes):

Begin this lesson by a whole-class discussion about what students know about Laundromat, teddy bear and different types of clothes with showing the books Sam’s Teddy Bear and My First Look At Clothes.

(“What is this picture of?” “When do you put on football jersey?” “Do you find any clothes that you never saw before?”)

 (I will encourage each student to talk and bring them into class situation)

2) Reading the book (12 minutes):

(1) After a natural transition, model reading the text (32 pages, 874 words, 85 sentences, with many big pictures) (9 minutes)

(If a student follows my reading by whispering himself/herself and private speech, I will allow him/her to do it; if a student does not follow my reading I will remind him/her. My reading intends to draw students’ attention and during this process I pay attention to displaying pictures in the book, highlighting some key spoken words and changing voice level. Before this class, I try to form Cognitive Apprenticeship for the 2 ESL students by suggesting their parents telling the story in their families if possible so that the ESL children may know it and learn something from interacting with their parents)

(2) Lead all to follow my pronunciation and read aloud 2 key words they would concentrate on later (several times for each) (1 minute)

(3) Ask for opinions and ideas after reading the story and particularly invite the two ESL students to say their feelings (2 minutes)

        (If one of the ESL student has reading problem, for example, frequently losing his or her place    

         or omitting a word, besides working with the special education teachers in my school to design   

         appropriate instruction for him/her, in this lesson I will remind him/her many times how to   

         read sedulously and carefully for instance, trying to pay more attention to meaning groups  

         than  isolated words, and keep observing his/her behaviors)

3) Introduce the story (12 minutes):

(1) Guide the students in going through what the story briefly talks about by an instructional conversation (4 minutes)

(What happened at the beginning of the story? Who are the main characters? What happened next? Do you remember why Corduroy felt scared?)

(2) Use graphic organizer (Sequence Chart) as a visual tool to scaffold students’ reading comprehension about the story; show a blank chart and guide students in going through the text (3 minutes) 

     (3) Require students to from groups, discuss and help answer to each other questions that I give on the front whiteboard in

       order to make sure everybody understands plot and details of the story by interacting with each other. (5 minutes)

(If a child talks with himself/herself or uses private speech to communicate with himself/herself, I consider his/her self-directed and self-guided muttering to be representative of his/her externalized thoughts and allow it. Definitely, I will keep observing his/her self-talk to help when needed)

(But if a child insists on total silence, the work might be difficult for him/her; I will again adopt instructional conversations and talk with him/her to lead him/her to incorporate the topic )

(During the process, I note down students’ errors)

4) Phonemic Awareness (6 minutes):

(1) After a transition (from general look at the text to specific pronunciation section), phonemes blending and segmentation activities for the key single-syllable words of the text. I read each phoneme of a word slowly and explicitly, at the same time establish visual impression for the word. For example, I write down laun and dry respectively on separate two cards (with a background picture laundry) and make the cards approach each other gradually when pronouncing the word. Students pronounce the word by following my moveable alphabetic cards and by answering my questions like “what is the word combining the two parts?”  (4 minutes)

(2) Ask the students to write down the words several times in notebooks and invite one student to write in front of class, on the whiteboard. (2 minute)

(If students make mistakes in writing the words, I ask others to give feedbacks to them)

5) Words study (8 minutes):

(1) After a transition (let’s come together to see 2 words we met in the text), choose the 2 words that Beck et al authoritatively summarized before (they selected three words to study in each of many easy-reader story books for students): insisted and drowsy. For each word, I lead the students to read it first, then supply a student-centered explanation or analogy combining the use of this word in story context.  (2 minutes)

(for ESL students, I use cognates to help them understand the words)

(2) Ask the students to form shoulder groups, interact with each other and give me sentence examples different from those in the story context.  (4 minutes)

6) Consolidation (7 minutes):

(1) Group the students according to their levels (form 3-4 students with different English literacy levels but who can help each other into a group), set group discussions on questions I give (ESL students cannot form a group together themselves. The questions are no longer about what happens in the story; instead, they are extensional and serve students’ deeper understanding), and emphasize how they reach their conclusions. (5 minutes)

(During this process, I invite 1-2 fifth graders to participate in each group and talk with second graders about my questions like: what kind of person do you think Lisa is? Do you like the story and why? )

(2) Explain some misunderstandings and errors that were noted down before. (2 minute)

7) Evaluation: (12 minutes)

(1) A story-rewriting assignment: After class, students will rewrite the story and supplement their brief reflections including the 2 key words in the story. I will provide with a frame of writing including “when, where, who, what, why and how” and demonstrate how to rewrite by sampling first 2 sentences. The rubric of this assignment is that excellent work accurately contains plot and details as many as possible and is rewritten in a logical and personal way (3 minutes)

(2) Act-out activities: the students act out the main 4-5 characters, rehearse language of the text (ESL students must practice their oral language in this activity), and enjoy this product by working together in a friendly atmosphere. (9 minutes)

  (Cooperative working is the main purpose of this activity. The whole class forms two groups and students discuss to arrange how to proceed their act-out. During their acting process, students in the other group may provide clue and feedbacks about how the story goes if there is pause)

8) Summary and closure (1 minute)


7.8 磅



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Beck, I. L., Kucsan, L., & McKeown, M. G. (2002). Bringing Words To Life: Robust 

     Vocabulary Instruction. New York: The Guilford Press.

Freeman, D. (1978). A Pocket for Corduroy. New York: Viking Press.

Lindgren, B. (1982). Sam’s Teddy Bear. Harpercollins Children’s Books

My First Look At Clothes. (1991). New York: Random House.

Woolfolk, A. (2001). Educational Psychology (8th Ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.