At the Park

By Judy Nayer
Illustrations by Kayeri Akweks

Focus: Concepts of Print and Reading Strategies

  • using the picture clues and beginning sounds
  • applying prior knowledge about the senses (semantic knowledge)
  • using an exclamation point

Supportive Text Features

  • familiar concept
  • strong picture/text match

High-frequency Words: I, have, the, my, you, do, too

Concept Words: hear, smell, taste, touch, see

Getting Ready to Read

  1. Introduce the concept and vocabulary by asking open-ended questions:
    • How do we collect information about a place we are visiting?
    • Tell me what you know about visiting a park.
    • What might you see, hear, feel, touch, and smell at the park?
  2. Connect children’s past experiences with the book vocabulary:
    • Hold the book. Call children’s attention to the title. Read: “At the Park.”
    • Have them predict what might happen in the story and suggest some story words.
    • Give children the book and have them look at the pictures.
    • Ask them what they see happening.
  3. Remind children of the strategies they know and can use with unfamiliar words:
    • Ask them, “What will you do if you come to a word you don’t know?”
    • Encourage children to look at the pictures and the beginning sound of the word.
  4. Be aware of the following text features:
    • The sentence pattern is not as obvious, but it is supportive: “I hear the birds. I smell the flowers. I taste the ice cream.”
    • Concept words are in bold print.
    • There are two lines of text on the last page.
    • The book relies on children knowing the five senses.

Reading the Book

  1. Set a purpose by telling children to read about the boy’s visit to the park.

  2. Have children read quietly, but out loud. Each child should be reading at his or her own pace. Children should not read in chorus. Listen to children as they read by leaning close or bending down beside each child.

  3. Look for these reading behaviors during the first reading:
    • Do the words they say match the printed words in the book? (voice to print match)
    • Do they look at the pictures before they read the text or after they read?
    • What do they do if they encounter an unfamiliar word? (appeal to you, try a strategy)
    • Do their eyes go up to the picture before reading the new word in the pattern?
    • Are they saying the initial sounds of words before saying the whole word?
    • Are they saying the individual letter sounds /t/ - /o/ - /u/ - /c/ - /h/ or blending the sounds?
    • Do they reread if they come to an unfamiliar or unknown word?
    • Have they self-corrected any mistakes?
    • Do they use the question mark to affect how they read the sentences?
    • Is there any inflection or speech-like sound to their reading?
    • Have they responded with a laugh or other sound as they read the text?
    • Do they make comments as they read?
  4. As children read, suggest a reading strategy if they are struggling: “Try looking at the picture to make sense of the print.” Encourage children to take a guess or use the beginning letter sound.

  5. Possible teaching points to address based on your observations:
    • Reread sentences and emphasize the words in bold type.
    • Focus on the “s” ending in flowers, birds, etc. and talk about making a word mean more than one by adding “s.” Introduce the word “plural.”
    • Explore the verb/noun match. Ask: “What other things do you smell? hear? etc?”
    • Examine how the pictures and words work together to tell the story.

After the First Reading

  1. Have children retell the story in their own words. They will be making inferences and drawing conclusions based on the pictures and the words read.

  2. Look at each page and brainstorm some other things the boy might hear, smell, taste, feel, and see at the park.

  3. Reflect on the mother and children’s experience at the park. Ask: “Why would they want to go back to the park another day?”

  4. Make connections between this boy’s visit to the park and children’s experiences.

Second Reading

  1. Have children reread the book in a whisper voice or to a partner.

  2. This is a time for assessment. While they are reading, watch what children do and what they use from the teaching time. Alternatively, you might take a running record on one student as an assessment of the student’s reading behavior.

Cross-Curricular Activities

Music: Have available recordings by Hap Palmer, Red Grammar, or other performing artists who sing songs about the five senses. Play the songs and ask children to sing along.         
Art: Children create a senses collage made out of real items or magazine pictures. Children choose items or pictures that can be touched, smelled, heard, tasted or seen. For example, children could glue pictures of pepper, cotton, leaves, sticks, flowers, birds, fire engines, etc. Then they tell another child about the items on the collage.

Math: Make a five-column chart with a picture and word representing one of the senses at the top of each column. Have children go on a sensory walk. Carry the chart with you and have children make a tally each time they use a sense. At the end of the walk, children count the number of tally marks and write the total number at the bottom of each column. Children can compare the number of times they used each sense and try to explain why one or more was used the most.

Science: Gather five boxes or paper bags with a different sense written on each one. On a tray, place items that could be sorted by senses into each of the boxes. Items might include a picture of a bird, flower, ice cream, grass and other things found in a park setting.    

Social Studies: Visit a park and encourage children to use their five senses. Then explore ways people who are deaf, blind, or handicapped might experience the park. Consider guide dogs, wheelchairs, signing, and other ways we support people who do not have the use of one or more of the senses.

Writing: Children can create individual “Five Senses” books based on the class walk. Have them draw pictures or write about the things they saw, heard, smelled, felt, and tasted.

Guided Reading™: D        DRA: 4        Reading Recovery®: 5

The book introduction and guided reading lesson follow the outline for the English edition. Children need exactly the same support and strategy instruction as their English-speaking classmates.

Be aware that many children speak dialects or may mix Spanish and English. During the introduction, help children understand that “book language” does not always match the words we use every day. In this story, the verb forms may need to be reviewed during the introduction: oigo, huelo, saboreo, toco, veo.

If children have difficulty with concepts or words in the story, see the article “Guided Reading with Emergent Readers” for suggestions.

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About This Title

Guided Reading:




Interest Level:

Grades PreK - 1

Reading Level:

Grades K - 1


Animal/Biodiversity/Plant Adaptations, Nature/Science, Five Senses / Body Parts, Weather/Seasons/Clothing, Native American Interest, Families, Environment/Nature, Beginning Concepts, Animals, Human Impact On Environment/Environmental Sustainability , Realistic Fiction, Water, Childhood Experiences and Memories


Emergent Dual Language, Emergent English, Bebop English Guided Reading Level D, Bebop Native American English Grades PreK-2, Bebop Realistic Fiction Collection Grades PreK-2, Dual Language Levels D-I Collection, Native American Collection English 6PK, Reading Recovery Bebop Books collection, Native American and Indigenous Booklist , Bebop English Fiction, PreK Instructional Interactions

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