I Play Soccer

By Mary Cappellini
Illustrations by George Crespo

Focus: Concepts of Print and Reading Strategies

  • using the picture clues and beginning sounds
  • applying prior knowledge about soccer (semantic knowledge)
  • sequencing
  • following a story line to a conclusion
  • using an exclamation point

Supportive Text Features

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

High-frequency Words: I, the, for, a

Getting Ready to Read

  1. Introduce the concept and vocabulary by asking open-ended questions:
    • What do you know about soccer?
    • Tell me some things children do when they play soccer.
    • What do players do to the ball during a soccer game?
  2. Connect children’s past experiences with the book vocabulary:
    • Hold the book. Call children’s attention to the title. Read: “I Play Soccer.”
    • Have them predict what might happen in the story and suggest some story words.
    • Give children the book and have them look at the pictures.
    • Ask them what they see happening in the soccer game.
  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 sentence pattern is “I wait for the ball.”
    • One or more words change in each sentence. Some sentences have prepositions: I run “after” the ball and I wait “for” the ball. I call “for” the ball.
    • There is a cause and effect relationship, which brings the story to its conclusion.

Reading the Book

  1. Set a purpose by telling children to read about the soccer game.

  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 /k/ - /i/ - /c/ - /k/ or blending the sounds?
    • Do they reread if they come to an unfamiliar or unknown word?
    • Have they self-corrected any mistakes?
    • Do they use the question mark to affect how they read the sentences?
    • 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?
  4. As children read, suggest a reading strategy if they are struggling: “Try rereading the sentence.” Encourage children to take a guess based on the subject of the story or to use the beginning sounds or known parts of the word.

  5. Possible teaching points to address based on your observations:
    • Review the sequence of the story.
    • Examine prepositional phrases “for the ball” and “after the ball.”
    • Read with expression.

After the First Reading

  1. Have children retell the story in their own words. They will be making inferences and drawing conclusions based on the pictures and the words read.

  2. Look at each page and brainstorm some words that describe what each child is doing more specifically: I run after the ball (as fast as I can). I pass the ball (to my friend).

  3. Make connections between the story and children’s experiences.

  4. Review the sequence of events and discuss how the girl and her team mates worked together. Brainstorm some words for the players to be saying as they play.

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: Select and play music that has a strong beat or rhythm. Have children bounce balls to the music.

Art: Help children design a soccer team T-shirt that has a logo or team name on it. Ask: “What color would you like to wear? What animal might be your mascot?”

Math: Divide children into teams. Give each child two chances to kick a ball into a large box and make a tally mark for each goal scored. Add up the number of points each team scores and compare the scores. As an alternative, give children different sports balls and have them compare the sizes and weights. Put the balls in order.

Science: Use a long piece of wood or other object to make a ramp. Place one end of the ramp on a pile of blocks. Collect different sizes and kinds of balls– soccer ball, ball bearing, marble, softball, ping pong ball, red rubber ball, super balls, etc. Predict which balls will roll the farthest down the ramp. Mark where each ball rolls with a piece of masking tape. Graph the distance each ball rolls. Consider how the size or weight affects how far the ball rolls.

Social Studies: Have a discussion about cooperation and following the rules. Ask: “How do the members of a team work together?” Read the book FROGGY PLAYS SOCCER by Jonathan London. Then ask: “What job does each member of a team have? How is a family like a team? What jobs does each family member have?”    

Writing: Give children a piece of paper shaped like an award ribbon. Have them write on the ribbon “I can play _______.” Draw a picture of the sport or athletic activity they can do.

Guided Reading™: D        DRA: 4        Reading Recovery®: 5

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.

Be aware that many children speak dialects or may mix Spanish and English. During the introduction, help children understand that “book language” does not always match the words we use every day. In this story, the verb forms may need to be reviewed during the introduction: espero, corro, tiro, paso, pido, cabeceo, meto.

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


Sports, Overcoming Obstacles, Multiethnic interest, Latino/Hispanic/Mexican Interest, Games/Toys, Friendship, Cultural Diversity, People In Motion, Persistence/Grit


Emergent Dual Language, Emergent English, Teachers College Reading Assessment Kit for Grades K-2: Add-On Pack, Bebop English Guided Reading Level D, Bebop Latin American English Grades PreK-2, Bebop Realistic Fiction Collection Grades PreK-2, Reading Partners ER Lee & Low Kit , Dual Language Levels D-I Collection, Latin American Collection English 6PK, Diverse Backgrounds Collection English 6PK, Reading Recovery Bebop Books collection, Teachers College Reading Assessment Kit for Grades K-2: Library, Bebop English Fiction

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