Living in an Igloo

By Jan Reynolds
Illustrations by Jan Reynolds


  • reading about a real family
  • using a pronunciation key
  • reading a map
  • sequencing events

Supportive Text Features:

  • many high-frequency and familiar words
  • narrative sentence and text form
  • consistent placement of text

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

High-frequency Words: my, call, but, is, I, in, the, there, a, of, and, like, to, with, my, from, we, called, an, make(s), her, uses, his, up, it, has, are, made, from, go, have, would, you, one

Concept Words: caribou, igloo

Getting Ready to Read

  1. Introduce the concept and vocabulary by asking open-ended questions:
    • What would it be like to live in a place where there was always snow?
    • Tell me what kinds of things families do together.
    • Do you know what an igloo is? Tell me what you know about igloos. What do you think it would be like to live in an igloo?
  2. Connect children’s past experiences with the book vocabulary:
    • Call children’s attention to the title. Read: “Living in an Igloo.”
    • Ask them to predict what they would expect to see happen in the story.
    • Show the back cover and read the copy. Direct children to consider how the title and this sentence help them predict what the story is 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 tell what happens as they turn each page.
  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 they know about igloos and living in cold climates. Then encourage them to choose a word that would make sense in the sentence.
    • Remind children to use the pronunciation key on page 2 for help with the girl’s name.
  4. Be aware of the following book and text features:
    • The book contains numerous high-frequency words.
    • The story is written in narrative form and ends with a question.
    • All the sentences are different; there are no text patterns.
    • A pronunciation key for the girl’s name is given in the lower right corner of page 2.
    • A map is included on page 3 to show the relative location of where the family lives.
    • The photographs support and enhance the story.

Reading the Book

  1. Set a purpose by telling children to read about the family and what it is like to live in an igloo.

  2. Have children read the first few pages 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. When you hear them reading fluently, tell them to begin reading silently.

  3. Look for these reading behaviors during children’s first reading:
    • Do they use multiple sources of information?
    • Do they make predictions and confirm or revise them while reading?
    • Are they more able to monitor meaning and to self correct?
    • Do they know a large number of sight words?
    • Do they use punctuation appropriately?
    • Do they read more automatically and with fluency?
    • Have they begun to draw conclusions and make inferences?
  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:
    • 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.
    • Work with suffixes and prefixes.
    • 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.
    • Review using punctuation marks to guide the meaning-making process. Point out the hyphenated word “good-bye” on page 14 and talk about why the word is written this way.
    • Call attention to the pronunciation key as an aid to pronouncing an unknown word.
    • Review using the map on page 3 to help set the context of the story.
    • Model how to revisit the text to find specific examples or ideas in the story. Revisit LIVING IN AN IGLOO to review the sequence of events in building an igloo.

After the First Reading

  1. Have children compare their predictions with what actually happened in the story.

  2. Connect children’s own experiences with those of the family in the book. Explore the similarities and differences between Daisy’s family and the families of children in the group.

  3. Compare the family in LIVING IN THE IGLOO with the families in THE BEST THING and TUTI’S PLAY.

  4. Talk with children about what it means to live in the “far north.” (See page 3 of the story.)

  5. Call children’s attention to the steps in building an igloo. Talk about how an igloo is the same as and different from children’s homes.

  6. Elicit children’s responses to the question on page 16 and encourage them to share opinions about living in an igloo. (Make sure children understand that “one” is a pronoun that refers to an igloo.)

Second Reading

  1. Have children reread the book 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 draw pictures of their own homes. Then let volunteers describe the pictures, pointing out features such as doors, windows, steps, roof, and so on. Children might also label these features or write descriptions of their homes.

Music: Teach children the chorus and first verse of the song “Home on the Range.”
    Oh, give me a home, where the buffalo roam,
    Where the deer and the antelope play,
    Where seldom is heard a discouraging word,
    And the skies are not cloudy all day.
    Home, home on the range,
    Where the deer and the antelope play,
    Where seldom is heard a discouraging word,
    And the skies are not cloudy all day.
Once children have learned the basic tune and words, innovate on the verse to describe the setting of the story and the igloo Daisy’s family built. (The complete song lyrics can be found here)

Science: Help children build two piles of ice cubes in the shape of an igloo. Put one igloo in the refrigerator or freezer. Leave the other in the classroom. Have children observe both igloos every half hour and record what they see on a chart. At the end of the day, reread the observations and have children draw some conclusions.

Math: Look up the average summer, fall, winter, and spring temperatures in northern Canada, in the region indicated by the star on the map on page 3. Then look up the average temperatures where you live. Chart the temperatures on a graph and encourage children to make comparisons.

Social Studies: Research different kinds of homes around the world. Children may also wish to look through books in the classroom or school library for examples of different kinds of homes. Display some of the pictures and books with the pictures of children’s homes created for the art activity.

Writing: The author, Jan Reynolds, has photographed many different groups of people while living with them. (See also TUTI’S PLAY.) Have children brainstorm and record a list of questions they would like to ask the author about living with Daisy and her family.

Guided Reading with VIVO EN UN IGLÚ
Guided Reading™: G        DRA: 12        Intervention: 1216 pages, 181 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 simply constructed sentences. The book contains familiar punctuation marks. The family’s activities should be familiar to children. Discussion and rereading may be helpful to many children reading this book so they understand this family lives in a very cold place.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 PreK - 2

Reading Level:

Grades 1 - 1


Photographic Illustrations, Nature/Science, Nonfiction, Weather/Seasons/Clothing, Native American Interest, Families, Environment/Nature, Cultural Diversity, Exploring Ecosystems, Informational Text, Water


Emergent Dual Language, Emergent English, English Informational Text Grades PreK-2, Bebop English Guided Reading Level G, Bebop Native American English Grades PreK-2, Bebop Nonfiction Grades PreK-2, Dual Language Levels D-I Collection, Native American Collection English 6PK, Multicultural Collection 10, Multicultural Collection 12, Multicultural Collection 14, Multicultural Collection 11, Reading Recovery Bebop Books collection, Native American and Indigenous Booklist , Bebop English Nonfiction

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