Fish Print

By Mary Cappellini
Illustrations by Mary Cappellini

Focus: Following Written Directions and Concepts of Print

  • one-to-one matching
  • using the picture clues
  • reading a simple, patterned sentence
  • reading the color words
  • using an exclamation point

Supportive Text Features

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

High-frequency Word: the

Concept Words: orange, green, blue, yellow, pink

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

  • Tell me the names of some parts of a body.
  • What might you see if you looked at a fish’s body?
  • Name some colors you might use when you paint a fish.
  1. Connect children’s past experiences with the book vocabulary:
    • Hold the book, calling children’s attention to the title. Read: “Fish Print.”
    • Ask them to predict how children made the picture they are holding up.
    • 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 they see children doing.
  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 color words.
    • There is a patterned sentence: “Paint the mouth orange.”
    • Only one word changes on the first five pages.
    • The last two sentences are: “Press the paper.” and “Fish Print!”

Reading the Book
Set a purpose by telling children to read the book and find out how to make a fish print.

  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 /p/ - /a/ - /i/ - /n/
      • /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?
  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 and concept words children have learned and used.

After the First Reading
Have children confirm their predictions about making a fish print.

  1. Review the sequence of steps necessary for completing the fish print.

  2. Make a list of the action words or verbs that are used in the directions. Brainstorm some additional words that might be used to explain how to make a fish print.

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: Do a song innovation using the tune for “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.” (Paint, paint, paint your fish. Red and green and blue . . . . . . .) Try to get the directions into the song.    
    Art: Have children make apple or potato prints. Let them follow the directions in the book.

Math: Help each child make a pattern using the prints. They show the pattern to a partner and have him or her decide what would come next.    

Science: Draw a simple diagram of a fish and label the parts of its body. Compare the fish’s body parts to those of a human being.

Social Studies: Read the story THE RAINBOW FISH by Marcus Pfister. Have a discussion about what it might feel like to not have a friend. Ask children what kinds of things they can do to make a new friend.

Writing: Children write captions to paste under their fish prints. The captions might be a word, title, or sentence describing the print.

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

The Spanish edition also uses a patterned sentence and the color words. Because many children speak dialects or may mix Spanish and English, it will be important to address the correct words for the body parts and colors 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.


About This Title

Guided Reading:




Interest Level:

Grades PreK - 1

Reading Level:

Grades K - 1


Colors, Photographic Illustrations, Nonfiction, Five Senses / Body Parts, Classroom Activities, Latino/Hispanic/Mexican Interest, Cultural Diversity, Art, How To, Informational Text, Childhood Experiences and Memories, Collaboration, Friendship


Early Emergent Dual Language, Early Emergent English , Bebop How-to Grades PreK-2, Bebop English Guided Reading Level C, Bebop Latin American English Grades PreK-2, Bebop Nonfiction Grades PreK-2, Dual Language Levels A-C Collection, Latin American Collection English 6PK, Diverse Backgrounds Collection English 6PK, Reading Recovery Bebop Books collection, Bebop English Nonfiction

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