Batter Up

By Sue Muller Hacking
Illustrations by Don Tate

Guided Reading: B
DRA: 2
Intervention: 1

Genre: Realistic Fiction

8 Pages
8 Words

Overview: An African American girl scores for her team by hitting a home run.

Focus: Concepts of Print and Reading Strategies:
* one-to-one matching * using the picture clues * using an exclamation point

Supportive Text Features
* familiar words and concept * strong picture-text match

Concept Words: pitch, hit, run, throw

National Standards
Social Studies: Sports
Science: People in Motion

ELL/ESL: Al bate

Getting Ready to Read
1. Introduce the concept and vocabulary through by asking open-ended questions: * Tell me some things children do when they are playing baseball. * What do you have to do to get a home run in baseball?

  1. Connect children’s past experiences with the story and vocabulary:
    • Hold the book, calling children’s attention to the title. Read: "Batter Up."
    • Ask them to predict what they would expect to see happen as the girl bats.
    • Have children suggest some words they might read in the story.
    • Give children the book and have them look at the pictures.
    • Ask them to notice what this girl did during the baseball game.
  1. 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.
  1. Be aware of the following text features:
    • The book contains some less familiar words: pitch, throw, miss.
    • There is only one word on each page
    • The last sentence of the book is a response: "Home run!"

Reading the Book
1. Set a purpose by telling children to read the book and find out what happened when it was the girl’s turn at bat.

  1. 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.

  2. Look for these reading behaviors during the first reading:

    • Do the words the children 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/ - /h/ - /r/ - /o/ - /w/ or blending the sounds?
    • Do they reread if they come to an unfamiliar or unknown word?
    • Have they self-corrected any mistakes?
    • 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?
  1. 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.

  2. Possible teaching points to address based on your observations:

    • Review using the picture to help with each new word.
    • Review using the beginning sound or blend.

After the First Reading
1. Have children confirm their predictions about how to get a home run.

  1. Discuss what each player did and how the girl got her home run.

  2. Reflect on how the other players tried to get the girl out and why she succeeded.

  3. Brainstorm what the girl’s teammates might say to her as she comes back to the bench.

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

  1. 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 child as an assessment of the child’s reading behavior.

Cross-Curricular Activities
Teach children the song "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." Listen for any words that were read in the story. Change the song to include other words.

Design a baseball team T-shirt with a logo and a name on it.

Use the newspaper scores box to read the results of a series of baseball games. Read the score "Yankees 8 and Cardinals 7." Have children tell which team won. This would be good practice with choosing the higher or larger number.

Show children a wooden bat, a plastic bat, and an aluminum bat. Have them describe what they see and tell what purpose the bat serves. Then have them pick up and feel each bat. Have them describe the differences and similarities between the bats. Discuss how much force (push) you would need to hit a home run with each bat. If possible, take children to a place where they can try out each bat and experiment with different swing speeds and force to discover which bat is most efficient and easiest to swing.

Social Studies
Discuss the rules for baseball. Then make a list of rules that other groups of people have, such as classroom rules, school rules, playground rules, etc. Reflect on why we have rules.

Children write about a time they made a goal or scored a run during a game. As an alternative, have them write about a time that they felt the same way the girl felt the story.

Al bate

Guided Reading: B
DRA: 2
Intervention: 2

The Spanish edition also uses a patterned sentence and familiar words: corre, tira. Some of the other words may be less familiar: lanza, golpea, falla.. Because many children speak dialects or may mix Spanish and English, you may need to help children understand that “book language” does not always match the words we use every day.

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.

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 - K

Reading Level:

Grades PreK - K


Sports, Overcoming Obstacles, African/African American Interest, Persistence/Grit, Pride, Breaking Gender Barriers, Childhood Experiences and Memories, Identity/Self Esteem/Confidence, Optimism/Enthusiasm


Bebop African American English Grades PreK-2, Early Emergent Dual Language, Early Emergent English , Bebop English Guided Reading Level B, Bebop Realistic Fiction Collection Grades PreK-2, Dual Language Levels A-C Collection, African American Collection English 6PK, Diverse Backgrounds Collection English 6PK, Reading Recovery Bebop Books collection, Bebop English Fiction, Infant Toddler Instructional Interactions

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