My Teacher Can Teach…Anyone!

By W. Nikola-Lisa
Illustrations by Felipe Galindo

In this unusual alphabet book, a young boy boasts about his new teacher who is “so good, she can teach . . . anyone.” Told in rhyme, the book runs through a list of occupations telling how this teacher can instruct everyone, starting with an astronaut all the way through to a zillionaire. Bold, bright illustrations show children role-playing a variety of jobs found in fields mentioned, such as medicine, sports, the arts, government, and everyday services. The boy’s enthusiasm for learning conveys an uplifting message for students and teachers alike.

The inspiration for this book came to the author when he visited an elementary school class. The teacher and students were all eager to show him the writing and pictures they had done as a result of reading another of his books, called Can You Top That? Says Nikola-Lisa, “As the teacher and students shared their work, I could just see the love and respect these children had for their teacher. Bingo! That was the beginning of this story.” He says this book is “a celebration of both teachers and kids, but also a tribute to all the teachers in the world who have devoted themselves to public service, because that’s what teaching is.”

Teaching Tip
[My Teacher Can Teach. . . Anyone!][1] is an excellent choice for a back-to-school book that engages students and develops enthusiasm and respect.

Before Reading
Prereading Focus Questions
Before reading the book, you may wish to have students discuss one or more of the following questions as a motivation for reading.

1.What are some good ways to learn new things?
2.What do you expect to learn in school this year?
3.Why is school a good place to learn? Where else can you learn things?
4.Who are the people that teach you?
5.What are some things you could teach someone else?

Exploring the Book
Display the book and read aloud the title. Ask students if they think the title sounds like someone is bragging. Why, or why not?

Talk about the front cover illustration. Ask students why there are so many things on the table. What do you think the teacher is teaching?

Setting a Purpose for Reading
Have students read to find out what is happening on the cover and why the boy might brag about his teacher.

Write each of the occupation words from the book on the chalkboard. Then assign one word to each student to look up in a dictionary. Have students make cards for their words. Each card should include the name of the occupation, the definition, and an illustration of someone doing the job. Display the cards on a bulletin board so students can refer to them as they read the book.

Astronaut Heavyweight Opera singer Umpire
Ballet dancer  Illustrator President Veterinarian
Carpenter Janitor Quarterback Woodworker
Dentist Kayaker Rodeo clown Xylophonist
Engineer Logger Sailor Yodeler
Firefighter Mechanic Trucker Zillionair
Governor Novelist

Many of the words in the book are homographs. Explain that a homograph is a word that is spelled the same as another word, but has a different meaning and sometimes a different pronunciation. Using the following words, create a chart to fill in with the class. (See sample below for the first word.)

float land nail pouch         top
draw         stroke         hose         note cast
ball fall jig rig out
 Word   Meaning in Book   Another Meaning 
 float   move easily in air   a vehicle that carries an 
 exhibit in a parade     

After Reading
Discussion Questions
After students have read the book, use these or similar questions to generate discussion, enhance comprehension, and develop appreciation. Encourage students to refer to back to verses and illustrations in the book to support their responses.

1.Who is speaking (telling the story) in this book? How do you know?
2.How does the speaker feel about the teacher? How do you know this?
3.How do the illustrations add to the story?
4.Why does the name of the occupation in each sentence begin with a capital letter?
5.Why does the author use the alphabet to tell what the teacher can do?
6.How likely is it that one person could teach all these things? Why does the boy exaggerate?
7.What do you think the students will really learn in school? 8.What is the message of this book?

Literature Circles
If you use literature circles during reading time, students might find the following suggestions helpful in focusing on the different roles of the group members.

  • The Questioner might use questions similar to those in the Discussion Questions section of this guide.
  • The Passage Locator might look for the lines that tell what different workers do.
  • The Illustrator might make alternate pictures in different styles or media for some of the occupations.
  • The Connector might find other books set in a school.
  • The Summarizer might provide a brief summary of the group’s reading and discussion points for each meeting.
  • The Investigator might look for other books on careers and occupations, or other unique alphabet books.

There are many resource books available with more information about organizing and implementing literature circles. Three such books you may wish to refer to are: Getting Started with Literature Circles by Katherine L. Schlick Noe and Nancy J. Johnson (Christopher-Gordon, 1999), Literature Circles: Voice And Choice in Book Clubs and Reading Groups by Harvey Daniels (Stenhouse, 2002), and Literature Circles Resource Guide by Bonnie Campbell Hill, Katherine L. Schlick Noe, and Nancy J. Johnson (Christopher-Gordon, 2000).

Reader's Response
Use the following questions or similar ones to help students practice active reading and personalize their responses to what they have read. Suggest that students respond in reader’s journals, oral discussion, or drawings.

1.Which kind of work mentioned in the book do you think would be the most fun to learn? Why do you think so?
2.How would you compare your feelings about learning to those of the boy in the book?
3.What are some things you learned from this book? 4.What does your teacher help you learn? What is your favorite subject?

ELL/ESL Teaching Strategies
These strategies might be helpful to use with students who are English language learners or who are learning to speak English as a second language.

1.Use the alphabetical list of occupations in the book to initiate other alphabet activities for beginning English speakers.
2.Offer frequent praise and support for English language learners as they read the book. Make key words as concrete as possible by pointing to objects in the illustrations or the classroom.
3.Have students work with strong English readers to act out different pages of the book. (See the drama activity below.)

Interdisciplinary Activities
To help students integrate their reading experiences with other curriculum areas, you might try some of the following activities.

Social Studies
This book provides a good opportunity to pair nonfiction with fiction. Collect appropriate nonfiction titles about various kinds of occupations and workers. Place these on a table along with [My Teacher Can Teach
. . . Anyone!][1]
and encourage students to read further to learn more about some of the jobs mentioned in the book.

Have students work in teams to dramatize different pages of the book. Without telling the class which page they have chosen, students can act out the occupation. The audience must guess the job that each group is portraying.

Language Arts

1.Write these rhyming pairs of words from the book on the chalkboard. Then challenge students to add other rhyming words to each group. Encourage students to use the rhyming words in original poems.

space/grace hole/pole lunch/punch top/mop
stroke/oak hose/prose note/vote ball/fall
jig/rig out/snout trap/snap mile/style

2.Draw attention to how some words in the book are used as verbs, but can also be nouns. Have students use each of the italicized words in the left column below as a noun in a sentence.

Used as a Verb Used as a Noun
"how to land with grace"  
"how to nail a roof"  
"how to slide the pole"  
"how to host a lunch"  


About This Title

Guided Reading:




Interest Level:

Grades PreK - 2

Reading Level:

Grades 1 - 2


Classroom Activities, Occupations, Multiethnic interest, Imagination, Friendship, Education, Dreams & Aspirations, Cultural Diversity, Childhood Experiences and Memories, Optimism/Enthusiasm, Identity/Self Esteem/Confidence, Mentors


Emergent English, English Fiction Grades PreK-2, Bebop English Guided Reading Level I, Appendix B Diverse Collection Grades K-2, Back to School Collection Grades PreK-2, Emergent Dual Language, Diverse Backgrounds Collection English 6PK, Reading Recovery Bebop Books collection, Multicultural ABC Alphabet Books

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