Loose Tooth

By Margaret Yatsevitch Phinney
Illustrations by Shane W. Evans

Focus: Concepts of Print and Reading Strategies

  • one-to-one matching
  • return sweep, reading two lines of text
  • sequencing
  • using question marks and an exclamation point

Supportive Text Features

  • familiar concept
  • patterned sentence

High-frequency Words: it, come, out, on, will, no, my, yes

Concept Words: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday

Getting Ready to Read

  1. Introduce the concept and vocabulary by asking open-ended questions:
    • What do children ask when they have a loose tooth?
    • Tell me the names of the days of the week.
  2. Connect children’s past experiences with the book vocabulary:
    • Hold the book, calling children’s attention to the title. Read: “Loose Tooth.”
    • Ask them to predict what they would expect to see the child doing.
    • 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 the child doing.
  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 book contains a repeated question: “Will it come out on _____?”
    • Only one word changes on each page.
    • There are two lines of text. The second line is the word “No.”
    • The last question is answered: “Yes!

Reading the Book

  1. Set a purpose by telling children to read what the girl asks every day.

  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 children read the second line of text on each page?
    • 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 /c/ - /o/ - /m/ - /e/ 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?
  4. 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.

  5. Possible teaching points to address based on your observations:
    • Notice words with capital letters.
    • Use a finger or marker to help move from the end of one line of text to the beginning of the next line.
    • Ask and answer a question.

After the First Reading

  1. Have children confirm their predictions about the story.

  2. Discuss what the girl did on each day. Ask: “Could the activities been done on a different day? Could there have been a different order to the activities?”

  3. Connect children’s experiences with those of the girl in the book. Revisit the pictures and notice if she did anything to help the loose tooth come out. Compare what she did with what the students might have done to encourage a loose tooth to come out.

  4. Call attention to the days of the week and the capital letter at the beginning of each word. Remind children that names begin with a capital letter. This should help them remember the words and also raise their awareness that words with uppercase letters at the beginning are the specific or proper names for people, places, and things.

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

Art: Have children make tooth pillows out of felt or other cloth. A lost tooth could be placed in the pillow for the “tooth fairy” or for safe keeping if it falls out during the school day.    

Math: Make a monthly “I Lost a Tooth” chart for the classroom. Draw the outline of a tooth and label it with the current month. When a child loses a tooth, write his or her name on the chart (or put a picture of the child on the chart). Record the number of teeth lost each month.

Science: Have children investigate teeth to find out: What are teeth made of? How do you keep teeth healthy? Why do we have teeth? Why do baby teeth fall out?    

Social Studies: Have a dentist or dental hygienist visit the class and share information about his or her job. Encourage children to ask questions.

Writing: Children write about losing a tooth, telling where it happened and how the tooth came out. Have them draw a picture to go along with the story or sentence.


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

The Spanish edition also contains a repeated question and the days of the week. In Spanish the days of the week are not capitalized. Because many children speak dialects or may mix Spanish and English, it will be important to address the verb form used in the question during the introduction. Help children understand that “book language” does not always match the words we use every day.

Call children’s attention to the use of the question marks at the beginning and end of the sentences. Explain what the marks mean.

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


Five Senses / Body Parts, Time/Days Of The Week, Counting Money/Everyday Math, Childhood Experiences and Memories, African/African American Interest, Beginning Concepts, Persistence/Grit


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, Reading Recovery Bebop Books collection, Bebop English Fiction, PreK Instructional Interactions

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