Can You Eat a Rainbow?

By Anastasia Suen
Illustrations by Paul Colin

Focus: Concepts of Print
* one-to-one matching * using the picture clues * reading a patterned sentence * noticing a change at the end of a patterned sentence

Supportive Text Features
* familiar words and concept * patterned sentence * strong picture/text match

Essential Components of Reading Instruction:
* Phonemic Awareness: concept of word * Phonics: initial /r/, /y/, /p/; initial consonant blends and digraphs /gr/, /wh/; long /i/ vowel sound; long /e/ vowel sound spelled “ee”; long /a/ vowel sound spelled “ai”; long /o/ vowel sound spelled “ow” * Vocabulary: red, orange, yellow, green, purple, white, eat, rainbow * Fluency: reread the story independently or with a partner * Comprehension: determine what is important, make connections, ask questions

High-frequency Words: can, you, a

Getting Ready to Read
1. Introduce the concept and vocabulary by asking open-ended questions: * Have you ever seen a rainbow? What colors did you see in the rainbow? * When do rainbows appear? * What foods do you like that are red? orange? green? purple?

  1. Connect children’s past experiences with the story and vocabulary:
    • Hold the book, calling children’s attention to the title. Read: "Can You Eat a Rainbow?"
    • Ask children to predict what the boy on the cover is thinking.
    • Show the back cover and read the copy. Ask children whether or not they think a person can really eat a rainbow. Why or why not?
    • Have children predict some words they might read in the story.
    • Give children the book and have them look at the photographs.
    • Ask them to notice some of the fruits and vegetables surrounding the children.
  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 photographs and the beginning sound of the word.
  1. Be aware of the following book/text features:
    • The title ends with a question mark.
    • The book contains familiar words: eat, rainbow.
    • The text is on the page facing the photograph.
    • There is a patterned sentence: “You can eat ___.”
    • Only one word changes on each page. The exception is page 14, where two words are added at the end of the sentence pattern.
    • There is no sentence on the last page, but the photo presents the overall concept of the book.

Reading the Book
1. Set a purpose by telling children to read the book and find out whether or not a person can eat a rainbow.

  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 children say match the printed words in the book? (voice-to-print match)
    • Do children look at the photographs 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 over to the photos 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
      /r/ - /e/ - /d/ 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 photograph 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 photograph to help with each new word.
    • Review using initial consonants, blends, and digraphs; and long-vowel sounds to read new words.
    • Model how to reread the sentence if it does not sound right or make sense.
    • Call attention to all the high-frequency words children have learned and used.
    • Provide help with reading two-syllable words.
    • Talk about the photograph on page 16 and how it is different from the rest of the photos.
    • Call attention to the question mark in the title.

After the First Reading
1. Have children confirm their predictions and talk about whether or not a person can eat a rainbow.

  1. Model how the title should be read differently because of the question mark.

  2. Ask children what kind of rainbow the story is really about. Help them see the connection between the colors of the foods in each photo and the colors of the rainbow on the front cover.

  3. Have children look at each photograph in the book and name as many of the foods as they can. Have them vote on which food is their favorite for each color.

  4. Ask children to look at the child in each photo and suggest what the child might say about the food he or she is holding.

  5. Focus children’s attention on the last page and talk about the rainbow of fruits and vegetables shown. Have children suggest some text that might accompany the photo.

  6. Discuss why it is a good idea to try and eat a rainbow.

  7. Compare the rainbow on the last page to the rainbow on the front cover of the book. How are the rainbows the same? How are they different?

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

  1. This is a time for assessment. While children are reading, watch what they 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
Make several sentence strips of the sentence pattern in the story: “You can eat ___.” Also make a set of cards for the color words and another set of cards with pictures of fruits and vegetables. As a class activity, complete the sentence strips using the word cards to make a series of sentences. Then have children match each picture card to the sentence with the correct color word. Children may also write their own sentences using their favorite colors.

Give each child a piece of white construction paper on which to draw a rainbow. Using small squares of colored tissue paper, let children scrunch the paper squares into balls and glue them in rows, by color, onto the construction paper to fill in the colors of their rainbows. (Packets of precut tissue paper can be found at craft shops.)

Research rainbows with children. Help them find the answers to the following questions: What colors are in rainbows? Do all rainbows have the same colors? Are the colors always in the same order? What order are they in?

If possible, borrow or purchase a prism. Hold it between a light source and a plain surface such as a ceiling, wall, or white paper to show children how you can see the colors of the rainbow in the prism. Explain that light is really made up of many colors and that the prism allows us to see the colors separately. (Prisms are available in teacher supply stores.)

Challenge children to count the number of different fruits and vegetables shown in each photograph in the book. They should count just the types of food, not individual items. Divide the class into six groups and assign each group to count red, orange, yellow, green, purple, or white foods. After each group has its total, record the results on a bar graph.

Social Studies
Plan a trip to a local fruit market, farmers market, or grocery store and arrange in advance for someone to talk to children about the fruits and vegetables that are for sale. At the market or store, have children see how many fruits and vegetables from the book they can find. Then have the speaker tell children about some of the foods that may be unfamiliar to them. If it is possible to sample some of the foods, that would be an added bonus.

Make a list with children of descriptive words for the different fruits and vegetables in the book. (Even if children have not tasted some of the fruits and vegetables, they can describe the physical aspects of the foods.) As a whole class-directed writing lesson, develop a simple, free verse poem about each color food utilizing descriptive words from the list. Write each finished poem on chart paper. Divide children into groups and have them add illustrations to the poems.

Hold a health fair and invite other classes to sample fresh fruits and vegetables of different colors that the class arranges in a rainbow display. Have children explain to the visitors why it is important to eat a rainbow.

¿Puedes comer el arco iris? Can You Eat a Rainbow in Spanish # ¿Puedes comer el arco iris?

Guided Reading: A
Intervention: 1

16 Pages
29 Words <div style="line-height:10pt">


The Spanish edition also uses a patterned sentence and familiar words: comer, rojo, anaranjado, amarillo, verde, morado, blanco, arco iris. 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.

Guided reading levels were assigned by certified Reading Recovery® teachers and literacy experts using the guidelines identified in Guided Reading and Matching Books to Readers by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell (Heinemann).

Intervention levels were assigned by certified Reading Recovery® teachers and literacy experts and are intended for use in early intervention and one-on-one tutorial programs, including Reading Recovery® programs. These levels were not officially authorized by Reading Recovery®. Reading Recovery® is a registered servicemark of The Ohio State University.

DRA (Developmental Reading Assessment)/EDL (Evaluación del desarrollo de la lectura) levels were determined using information in the Developmental Reading Assessment Resource Guide and EDL Resource Guide by Joetta Beaver (Celebration Press).

All level placements may vary and are subject to revision. Teachers may adjust the assigned levels in accordance with their own evaluations.

Copyright © 2011 by Bebop Books®, an imprint of Lee & Low Books Inc. Used with permission. </small>

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About This Title

Guided Reading:




Interest Level:

Grades PreK - K

Reading Level:

Grades PreK - K


Colors, Photographic Illustrations, Nonfiction, Multiethnic interest, Food, Beginning Concepts, Comparing/Classifying/Measuring, Cultural Diversity, Environment/Nature, Farming


Early Emergent Dual Language, Early Emergent English , English Informational Text Grades PreK-2, Bebop English Guided Reading Level A, Bebop Nonfiction Grades PreK-2, Dual Language Levels A-C Collection, Diverse Backgrounds Collection English 6PK, Reading Recovery Bebop Books collection, Bebop English Nonfiction, Infant Toddler Instructional Interactions

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