Cleaning Day

By D. H. Figueredo
Illustrations by Loretta Lopez

Focus: Concepts of Print and Reading Strategies

  • one-to-one matching
  • using the picture and beginning sound of a word
  • using past experiences to unlock new words
  • using an exclamation point
  • using an apostrophe (contraction)

Supportive Text Features

  • familiar words and concept
  • strong picture/text match

High-frequency Words: it’s, we, the, no

Getting Ready to Read

  1. Introduce the concept and vocabulary by asking open-ended questions:
    • How might a family clean up their house?
    • What chores do children help with during house cleaning time?
    • Tell me some ways you help your family clean the house.
  2. Connect children’s past experiences with the book vocabulary:
    • Hold the book, calling children’s attention to the title. Read: “Cleaning Day.”
    • Ask them to predict what they would expect to see the father and child doing.
    • Have children suggest some words they might read in the story.
    • Give children the book and have them look at the pictures.
    • Ask them what cleaning activities they saw.
  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 book contains familiar words: floor, dishes, table, clothes, leaves.
    • Each sentence matches the action in the picture: “We sweep the floor.”
    • The sentences have two changes: We _____ the _____.
    • The first and last sentences are different: “It is cleaning day.” and “No more cleaning!”

Reading the Book

  1. Set a purpose by telling children to read about cleaning day.

  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 /d/ - /u/ - /s/ - /t/ 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 in connection with the picture.
  • Model how to reread the sentence if it doesn’t sound right or make sense.
  • Call attention to all familiar words they were able to read.

After the First Reading

  1. Have children confirm their predictions about cleaning day.

  2. Although they look worried or concerned on page 2, in the rest of the pictures they are smiling. Focus on the cause and effect relationship—it was not the cleaning activities that made them smile. Ask: “What could have made them smile?” Discuss how the father and child made the cleaning day easier or more fun.

  3. Reflect on the relationship between the father and the child. Ask: “What can we infer about them by looking at the pictures and thinking about what the words tell us they did together?”

  4. Review the use of the exclamation point on page 8 and how this punctuation mark affects the way we read the words.

  5. Talk about the action words in each sentence. Tell children these are called verbs. What other words might the author have used in a story about cleaning: mop, scrub, etc.

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: Sing “This is the Way We Wash Our Clothes.” Substitute other movements like “This is the way we sweep the floor.” Adapt the song according to what the people in the book did. Brainstorm other songs people might sing while they are cleaning and have children join in singing these songs.    
Art: Have children make a thank-you card for someone who has helped them clean up a mess. Tell them to draw a before and after picture to show what was cleaned up.    

Math: Display a collection of cleaning items: sponges, broom, pail, mop, etc. Have children put the items in order from smallest to largest or lightest to heaviest. Ask children to match the items with the jobs they can do.

Science: Have children apply common household or classroom items like ketchup, toothpaste, finger paint, etc. to muslin or any swatch of fabric. Make a chart and have children predict which items will stain the fabric. Then using dish soap, wash the fabric in a plastic tub. Check to find out if their predictions were correct.

Social Studies: In conjunction with community helpers, explore what the school custodian does. Ask: “How can each student show respect for what the school custodian does?” Children draw pictures of ways that help and ways that do not help. Have them sort the pictures on two paper plates.

Writing: Brainstorm with children a list of items that need to be cleaned in school or at home. Have children generate his or her own list of items that they could clean by themselves. Make an “I Can Clean” book.    

Guided Reading™: C        DRA: 3        Reading Recovery®: 4

The Spanish edition also uses a patterned sentence and familiar words: piso, platos, mesa, ropa, hojas. Because many children speak dialects or may mix Spanish and English, it will be important to address the verb form used during the introduction. Help children understand that “book language” does not always match the words we use every day.

Call children’s attention to the use of the exclamation points at the beginning and end of the last sentence. Explain what the marks mean.

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 - 1

Reading Level:

Grades K - 1


Responsibility, Latino/Hispanic/Mexican Interest, Home, Families, Beginning Concepts, How To, Human Impact On Environment/Environmental Sustainability , Realistic Fiction, Childhood Experiences and Memories, Collaboration, Fathers, Similarities and Differences


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