Ice Cream Money

By Anastasia Suen
Illustrations by Farah Aria


  • connecting personal experiences with a story
  • understanding money values
  • comparing sizes of objects
  • reading a contraction

Supportive Text Features:

  • familiar words and concepts
  • rhyming phrases
  • repeated sentences

Essential Components of Reading Instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary development, fluency, comprehension strategies

High-frequency Words: for, a, we, I, have, one, each, this, is, you, what

Concept Words: twenty-five cents

Getting Ready to Read

  1. Introduce the concept and vocabulary by asking open-ended questions:
    • What kinds of treats do you like to eat after lunch or dinner?
    • When do you like to eat ice cream? What is your favorite kind of ice cream?
    • Display a few pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. What do you know about these coins? How can you make 25 cents with these coins?
  2. Connect children’s past experiences with the book vocabulary:
    • Call children’s attention to the title. Read: “Ice Cream Money.”
    • Ask them to predict what might happen in the story.
    • Show the back cover and read the copy. Ask children what they know about buying ice cream. If coins were used to introduce the story concept, ask children how many coins they might need to buy an ice cream treat.
    • 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 tell what is happening as they turn the pages.
  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 say the beginning sound of an unknown word and read on, returning to the word after completing the sentence.
    • Suggest that children also think about what the boys are doing in the picture and about their own experiences buying ice cream. Then encourage them to choose a word that makes sense in the sentence.
  4. Be aware of the following book and text features:
    • The book contains familiar concepts and many high-frequency words.
    • The text uses rhyme and repetition, although sentence patterns do not repeat consistently.
    • The meaning of the story is contained in both the pictures and the words.
    • Comparative words are used on pages 10, 11, and 12.
    • A contraction and hyphenated word are used on pages 13, 14, and 15.

Reading the Book

  1. Set a purpose by telling children to read and find out about the three boys and their ice cream money.

  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 children’s first reading:
    • Do they identify most words by sight?
    • Do they rely on the print and pictures together when reading?
    • Do they focus on understanding the story?
    • Do they read with increased confidence?
    • Are they self-correcting to get meaning from the story?
    • Have they begun to cross-check by using language patterns and letter sounds?
    • Do they reread to check accuracy and meaning?
    • Are they using chunks of words rather than individual letters when sounding out?
    • Are they using their fingers to point to the words or to make the return sweep at the end of the first line of text?
    • Do they get meaning from the text?
    • Do they make connections between the story and previous experiences?
    • Are they asking questions about the story?
  4. As children read, suggest reading strategies if they are struggling: “Try saying the beginning of the word. Try looking at the picture for help.” Encourage children to take a guess or read past the unknown word.

  5. Possible teaching points to address based on your observations:
    • Call attention to all the high-frequency words children have read.
    • Review how to find a known part 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.
    • Explore the story grammar—characters, setting, problem, and so on.
    • Review how to determine what is important in a picture or sentence.
    • Model asking questions or making “I wonder . . .” statements to extend comprehension.
    • Talk about the contraction “here’s” as a shortened form of “here is.”
    • Discuss the different combinations of coins the boys use to make 25 cents. Match the words on the pages with the coins in the boys’ hands. Review the relative sizes of the coins.
    • Review using punctuation marks to guide the meaning-making process. Call attention to the exclamation points on pages 3, 7, 9, and 16.
    • Model how to revisit the text to find specific examples or ideas in the story.

After the First Reading

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

  2. Discuss how the boys used different combinations of coins to buy their ice cream. Make sure children understand that the boys all paid the same amount of money.

  3. Have children examine real nickels, dimes, and quarters and then draw some conclusions about why the coins in the book look different from real coins.

  4. Reflect on how the three boys feel about each other.

  5. Make some connections to other stories in which money was spent and to children’s personal experiences buying items with coins.

  6. Talk about the setting of the story and how it is both similar to and different from your school.

Second Reading

  1. Have children reread the book in a whisper voice, silently, 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 child as an assessment of the child’s reading behavior.

Cross-Curricular Activities

Art: Have children create posters that advertise ice cream for 25 cents. Talk about making the most important information stand out by choosing the right color and making it larger than other details.

Music: Teach children all or part of the song “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” Then have children innovate on the song, beginning by changing the opening line to “Take me out to buy ice cream.” Record children’s song on chart paper and let them practice their new lyrics. Children might also enjoy having an ice cream parade. They can make signs and/or costumes, and sing their song as they march.

Science: Read FROM COW TO ICE CREAM by Bertram T. Knight. As you read the book, talk about the ingredients for making ice cream and where each one comes from. Discuss the steps for making ice cream and how the ingredients change as they mix, cook, and chill. If a portable ice cream freezer is available, have children make ice cream in the classroom.

Math: Have children examine some coins, and review the value of each. Make up some word problems that require adding and subtracting. For example, ask children how much a penny plus a nickel would be or how much a dime plus two pennies would be. Write the number sentence that represents the process and answer for each problem (1 + 5 = 6 or 10 + 1 + 1 = 12).
Have children compare the size (diameter) and thickness of the coins. Then encourage children to make statements that compare the value, size, or thickness of the coins.

Social Studies: Visit a local ice cream shop or ice cream parlor, or show children pictures representing one of these places. Discuss the different jobs of the people who work there. As an alternative, invite someone who works at an ice cream shop, parlor, or factory to visit. Prior to the visit, generate a list of questions children would like to ask their visitor. After the visit, write a language experience chart describing what children have learned.

Writing: Brainstorm a list of words children associate with buying and eating ice cream. Use the list to write descriptions of their favorite ice cream treats.
    Practice saying, “Ice cream money, ice cream money, for a treat, after we eat!” Let children innovate on this sentence to write their own story.

dinero para comprar un helado

Guided Reading™: E        DRA: 8        Intervention: 8
16 pages, 82 words

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. 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 has many familiar words, and the same text features as the English edition. The use of the pictures and discussion will support children in their reading. Children may be unfamiliar with the word “moneda.” Make sure this word is used during the introduction. Exclamation points are used on several pages at both the beginning and end of the 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.

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About This Title

Guided Reading:




Interest Level:

Grades K - 2

Reading Level:

Grades 1 - 1


Counting Money/Everyday Math, Similarities and Differences, Poetry, Multiethnic interest, Food, Cultural Diversity, Beginning Concepts, Realistic Fiction


Emergent Dual Language, Emergent English, Bebop English Guided Reading Level E, Bebop Realistic Fiction Collection Grades PreK-2, Bebop Asian American English Grades PreK-2, Dual Language Levels D-I Collection, Asian American Collection English 6PK, Latin American Collection English 6PK, Diverse Backgrounds Collection English 6PK, Multicultural Collection 10, Multicultural Collection 12, Multicultural Collection 14, Multicultural Collection 15, Multicultural Collection 11, Reading Recovery Bebop Books collection, Bebop English Fiction

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