David's Drawings

By Cathryn Falwell
Illustrations by Cathryn Falwell

Focus: Concepts of Print and Reading Strategies:

  • understanding the author’s message
  • connecting personal experiences with a story
  • following the sequence of events
  • comparing two different variations on an initial story idea

Supportive Text Features

  • short phrasing in text
  • familiar words and concepts
  • sequential events
  • consistent placement of the text on each page

Essential Components of Reading Instruction
Phonics: /r/ consonant blends; word ending "-ed" spelling pattern/sound exploration
Vocabulary: irregular forms of the past tense: saw, got, took, hung, found, thought, made, drew, rang, wrote, came, had
Fluency: reread the story independently or with a partner
Comprehension: determine what is important, make connections, ask questions

High-frequency Words: one, day, saw, a, when, he, to, his, and, up, of, for, then, the, had, said, but, it, too, she, her, here, you, can, that, at, look, I, have, put, on, like, me, too, with, an, two, in, was, we, see, asked, day, our, from, came, over, your, so, my

Getting Ready to Read

1. Introduce the concept and vocabulary by asking open-ended questions:

  • What types of things do you like to draw?
  • Where do artists get their ideas for drawings and paintings?
  • Who might help you draw a picture? What kind of help would you like?

2. Connect children’s past experiences with the story and vocabulary:

  • Call children’s attention to the title. Read: "David’s Drawings."
  • Ask children to use the title and picture on the cover to predict what might happen in the story.
  • Have children look at the finished class picture toward the end of the book. Ask them to describe the drawing. Does it tell a story? What does it tell? Have children consider what David might have done to produce this drawing.
  • Ask children to look for some hints in the class picture that might help them figure out what happens in the story.
  • Have children suggest some words they might expect to read in the story.

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 for chunks of sounds or words they know and to blend the sounds quickly.
  • Suggest that children read on past the unfamiliar word in order to use the context of the story to unlock the word.
  • Tell children also to think about what they know about drawing. Then encourage them to choose a word that makes sense in the sentence.

4. Be aware of the following text features:

  • The book contains numerous high-frequency words and many other words which should be familiar.
  • The amount of text on each page varies.
  • There are both simple and more complex sentences in the book.
  • The events are sequential, with a bit of plot repetition toward the end of the story.
  • Quotation marks are found throughout the story to indicate dialogue.
  • Ellipses are found on pages 29 and 31.
  • Dual illustration tracks run through the story: the main illustrations on each spread, and the cumulative drawings in the upper right corner.
  • The illustrations support and extend the text, but much of the meaning is contained in the text.

Reading the Book

1. Set a purpose by reading the first three pages of the story aloud. Ask children to predict how David’s drawing becomes the one pictured later in the story. Then tell children to read the rest of the book to find out what happens to David’s drawings.

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 they rely on the print while reading?
  • Do they have a strong sight vocabulary?
  • Do they use known sound chunks to read unknown words?
  • Are they showing signs of understanding the story?
  • Are they monitoring meaning and rereading when they lose meaning?
  • Do they easily move from page to page?
  • Are they using punctuation to gain meaning?
  • Do they make accurate predictions?
  • Are they connecting the text to their own experiences?
  • Do they react to the text even though they are reading silently?

4. As children read, note what they are doing. Help them build independence by being available, but not intervening too quickly.

  • Watch for changes in children’s facial expressions and use these as signals to ask questions such as: "What made you smile?" or "Where do you need some help?"
  • Encourage children’s attempts by making comments such as: "I like how you used a different strategy when the first one you tried didn’t work."
  • If children are struggling with deciding which strategy to use, suggest a specific strategy that would help them get meaning in the most efficient way, such as, "Did you think about chunking that word?"

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

  • Review how to find a known part or sound chunk in an unknown word.
  • Show children how to use analogies to move from the known to the unknown when encountering new words.
  • Review using grammar (syntax) to unlock words by considering the sentence structure or parts of speech in the sentence.
  • Model asking questions or making "I wonder . . ." statements to extend comprehension.
  • Review how to determine what is important in a story.
  • Review the use of quotation marks and talk about how the dialogue (conversation) contributes to making the story seem "real."
  • Point out how adding an apostrophe plus "s" to nouns forms the possessive: David’s. Review how this shows belonging to or possession.
  • Review words from the story with /r/ consonant blends: Brandon, brown, crayons, drawing, drew, fresh, from, grass, gray, great, green, grinned, tree. Explore other words with /r/ blends.
  • Work with the verb ending "-ed" and explore the different sounds the spelling pattern can represent: /t/ sound is asked, /d/ sound in smiled, /ed/ sound in added. Find other words with the "-ed" ending that have the same sounds as the example words. Also explore how the "-ed" ending gives information about when an action occurred.
  • Work with the irregular past tense verb forms and review verb sets to which the irregular forms belong, For example: see, sees, seeing, saw; take, takes, taking, took; think, thinks, thinking, thought. Compare these irregular forms with regular past tense verbs created by adding "-ed."
  • Discuss the use of ellipses in the story and how they show a trailing off that leads to the next part of a thought.
  • Model how to revisit the text and illustrations to find specific examples or ideas in the story. Revisit David's Drawings to find clues that show David doesn't mind when his classmates offer to add something to his drawing. Also discuss the purpose of the cumulative drawing that appears in the upper right corner of each spread.

After the First Reading

1.Have children confirm their predictions about what happened in the story.

2.Connect the story to children’s own experiences with a discussion of where their ideas for drawings come from.

3.Elicit children’s ideas about how David felt when he first arrived at school and how he felt at the end of the school day. Also elicit ideas about how David felt when he arrived home and why he decided to make another drawing.

4.Have children take parts and read the story aloud, like a play. Encourage them to read with expression, feeling, and correct phrasing, as though they were talking to their friends.

5.Ask children to talk about what might happen after the end of the story.

6.Brainstorm with children what might happen the next time David starts a drawing in class.

Second Reading

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

2.This is a time for assessment. Keeping notes on children’s progress during guided reading session will be a helpful resource for giving children on-going feedback about themselves as readers as well as helping you record how they develop over time.

  • While they are reading, watch what children do and what they use from the teaching time.
  • You might also take a running record on one child as an assessment of the child’s reading behavior.
  • You might also listen in on each individual reader, observing as children use appropriate or inappropriate strategies. This information will be valuable for any additional strategy discussions after the second reading.

Cross-Curricular Activities
Ask each child to make a simple drawing using just a pencil. Then divide children into groups of four or five and have each child pass his or her drawing to another child in the group. Direct the second child to add to the drawing with crayons, colored pencils, or markers. Continue until each child in the group has added something to all the original drawings of the group members. Display the finished drawing under a sign entitled "Our Class Pictures."

Select two pieces of music, one calm and soothing and the other lively and energetic. Tape two mural sized pieces of paper to a table or a wall. Play the soothing music and have children listen for a few minutes. Then let them use crayons or markers to “color to the music” on one of the pieces of paper. Repeat the activity with the energetic music and the other piece of paper. Afterwards, talk about how the two pieces of music made the children feel, and how the music made a difference in their murals.

In David's Drawings children color with crayons and colored pencils, but children are also very familiar with colored paints. Introduce the primary colors: red, blue, yellow, and let children experiment mixing paints in these colors to produce the secondary colors: orange, green, purple. Have children see how many different shades of the secondary colors they can create by altering the amounts of the two colors used for each mixture. A simple chart of primary and secondary colors is available at First-School. 

Read aloud Grandfather Tang's Puzzle by Ann Tompert and talk about the different shapes of the tangram pieces. Give children a copy of the tangram puzzle at the back of the book, have them cut the pieces apart, and then use them to create their own pictures, making sure the shapes do not overlap and that they connect along a side or at a point. Talk about how putting the shapes together in different ways can create a wide variety of pictures. Children may also enjoy doing tangram puzzles online.

Social Studies
School buildings, settings, and subjects vary around the world. Read Elizabeti's School by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen. During a second reading, have children look for similarities and differences among their school, David's school, and Elizabeti's school.

Children may enjoy writing their own stories based on the completed class picture on p. 23 of David's Drawings. Children may work individually or in small groups. Encourage them to use their imaginations to create stories about what is happening and what will happen next.

Los dibujos de David

Guided Reading: H
DRA: 14
Intervention: 13

Children reading at guided reading level H are moving into an early fluent stage of reading. All the directions given for the introduction, first reading, and second reading of the English edition can be used with the Spanish edition of the book. The focus of the teacher's support should be on building comprehension, fluency, confidence, and independence. To read the book successfully, children need the same kinds of support as their English-speaking classmates. Second language learners often benefit from acting out new words, seeing pictures, and talking about them using concrete examples.

The Spanish edition contains numerous high-frequency words and many familiar words. Unfamiliar words may be presented along with synonyms, to help deepen children's comprehension of the words and the story. You might also use real objects to support the learning of new vocabulary.

For dual-language children, cognates may also be used, such as: papel/paper, creyones/crayons, color/color (colores/colors), timidez/timidly or shyly, persona/person, recreo/recess, botas/boots, mi/my.

Review the way dialogue is indicated and how exclamation points are used in written Spanish. Dashes are used to indicate dialogue and exclamation points are used at both the beginning and end of sentences. The marks appear "upside down" at the beginning of each sentence and "right side up" at the end.

The book language used may differ from children's oral language. Comparing any differences will help children read and understand the story. Also help children understand that we often speak differently than we write, and that both ways of using language are important.


About This Title

Guided Reading:




Interest Level:

Grades K - 2

Reading Level:

Grades 1 - 2


Sharing & Giving, Multiethnic interest, Imagination, Friendship, African/African American Interest, Optimism/Enthusiasm, Art, Childhood Experiences and Memories


Emergent Dual Language, Emergent English, English Fiction Grades PreK-2, Bebop English Guided Reading Level I, Diverse Background English Collection Grades PreK-2, Bilingual English/Spanish and Dual Language Books , Art and The Arts Collection , Friends & Friendship, Appendix B Diverse Collection Grades K-2, Back to School Collection Grades PreK-2, African American English Collection Grades PreK-2, Realistic Fiction Collection Grades PreK-2, Building Classroom Community for Kindergarten, Dual Language Collection English and Spanish, Dual Language Levels D-I Collection, Pedro Noguera Diverse Collection Grades PreK-2, Diverse Backgrounds Collection English 6PK, Reading Recovery Bebop Books collection, Infant Toddler Emotional Interactions, IC Welcome Collection

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