Everybody Wears Braids

By Adjoa J. Burrowes
Illustrations by Adjoa J. Burrowes

Focus: Concepts of Print

  • using the picture clues
  • reading a patterned sentence
  • reading number words
  • using a question mark

Supportive Text Features

  • familiar words and concept
  • patterned sentence
  • strong picture/text match

High-frequency Words: I, have, do

Concept Words: two, three, four, five, six, seven

Getting Ready to Read
Introduce the concept and vocabulary by asking open-ended questions:

  • Tell me some things a child might count.
  • Practice counting forward and backward, one to ten and ten to one.
  • How might a girl style her hair?
  1. Connect children’s past experiences with the book vocabulary:
    • Hold the book, calling children’s attention to the title. Read: “Everybody Wears Braids.”
    • Ask them to predict what they would expect to read about.
    • 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 make a connection between what they saw and the discussion.
  2. 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.
  3. Be aware of the following text features:
    • The book contains number words.
    •  There is a patterned sentence: “I have three braids.”
    • Only the number word changes on each page.
    • The last sentence of the book is a question: “How many braids do I have?”

Reading the Book
Set a purpose by telling children to read the book and match the words they say with the words printed on each page.

  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 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 /b/ - /r/ - /a/ - /i/
      • /d/ - /s/ 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?
  3. 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.

  4. Possible teaching points to address based on your observations:
    Review using the picture to help with each new word.
    Review using the beginning sound.
    Model how to reread the sentence if it doesn’t sound right or make sense.
    Call attention to the high-frequency words children have learned and used.

After the First Reading
Have children confirm their predictions about the story.

  1. Ask children to focus on the hair fasteners each girl uses to keep the braids in place. Ask them to name each one. Then play a question/answer game by asking “On page 2, what did the girl in the yellow dress use to fasten her braids?” The child answers in a complete sentence: “She used 13 red and pink barrettes.” etc.

Second Reading
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 student as an assessment of the student’s reading behavior.

Cross-Curricular Activities
Music: Make a song innovation about braids using the tune from a familiar counting song that has been used in the classroom.
Art: Instruct children how to make braids using yarn. When finished, glue the braids onto a paper head. Add facial features with paint, crayon, or marker.

Math: Practice counting one to 10, forward and backward. Have children come to school with braids in their hair. Count each child’s braids and write the number on a card. Put children in order based on the number of braids they have. Children with short hair can wear yarn or string braids attached to a cap. Graph the results of the counting activity.

Science: Braid different kinds of yarn and string. Compare the strengths of single strands of braided materials in a tug of war. Encourage children to think about why one is stronger than the other. Then have them experiment to make the strongest tug of war rope they can using the materials at hand.    

Social Studies: Investigate the cultural and historical reasons for braiding hair. As an alternative, look for different hair styles in magazines or books and discuss how hair is one of the things that makes each person special and unique.

Writing: Read the fairy tale RAPUNZEL. Have children draw a picture of the prince climbing up Rapunzel’s braid. Make a speech bubble for the prince. Write what he would say as he climbs the tower using the braid.

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

The Spanish edition also uses a patterned sentence and the numbers. Because many children speak dialects or may mix Spanish and English, it will be important to address the possibility that children use more than one word for braid during the introduction. 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.

Phonics Supplement


About This Title

Guided Reading:




Interest Level:

Grades PreK - 1

Reading Level:

Grades K - 1


Comparing/Classifying/Measuring, Five Senses / Body Parts, Counting Money/Everyday Math, Similarities and Differences, Multiethnic interest, Friendship, Cultural Diversity, African/African American Interest, Childhood Experiences and Memories, Identity/Self Esteem/Confidence, Pride


Bebop African American English Grades PreK-2, Early Emergent Dual Language, Early Emergent English , Bebop English Guided Reading Level C, 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, At Home Learning Collection for Grades PreK-2, Adjoa Burrowes Collection, Bebop English Fiction, PreK Instructional Interactions

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