Meat Pies

By Celenia Chévere, Patricia M. Herbert
Illustrations by Donna Perrone

Guided Reading: A
DRA: 1
Intervention: 1

Genre: Narrative Nonfiction/Instructions

8 Pages
7 Words
Overview: A Caribbean boy makes empanadas with his grandmother.

Focus: Concepts of Print and Reading Strategies:
* one-to-one matching * using the picture clues

Supportive Text Features
* familiar concept * strong picture/text match

High-frequency Word: you

Concept Words: spoon, cup, rolling pin

National Standards
Social Studies: Holidays and Traditions
Language Arts: Nonfiction
Science: Food

ELL/ESL: Empanadas de carne

Getting Ready to Read
1. Introduce the concept and vocabulary through demonstration and by asking open-ended questions: * Name some things people use when they are cooking. * Tell me what people do when they are making something to eat. * Display some cooking utensils and ask children to demonstrate the way a cook stirs with a spoon, pours with a cup, rolls with a rolling pin. If children are unfamiliar with the objects or the vocabulary do a shared reading activity in which the teacher assumes more of the responsibility.

  1. Connect children’s past experiences with the book vocabulary:
    • Hold the book, calling children’s attention to the title. Read: “Meat Pies.”
    • Ask them to predict what they would expect to see the woman and boy doing.
    • Have children predict some cooking words they might read in the story.
    • Give children the book and have them look at the pictures.
    • Ask them to notice all the cooking utensils and ingredients.
  1. 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.
  1. Be aware of the following book and text features:
    • The book has one-word labels for the cooking materials and actions.
    • There is a new word on each page.
    • The last sentence is not a label. It is a spoken response: “Meat Pies. Yum!”

Reading the Book
1. Set a purpose by telling children to read and find out how they made the meat pies.

  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 children’s 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 /m/ - /e/ - /a/ - /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?
  1. 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.

  2. Possible teaching points to address based on your observations:

    • Review using the picture to help with each new word.
    • Review using the beginning sound.

After the First Reading
1. Have children confirm their predictions about making meat pies.

  1. Revisit any words that children misread or forgot.

  2. Ask children to explain why they say “Meat pies. Yum!” at the end of the story.

  3. Discuss what objects might cause trouble if taken into the bathtub.
  4. Discuss the steps for making meat pies to reinforce sequencing.

Second Reading
1. 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
Teach children the song “This is the Way We _____.” Create a song innovation using the sentence frame and tune, such as “This is the Way We Make Meat Pies.” Include a set of motions to correspond with each verb: mix, roll, fill, fry, eat.

Have children make a poster advertising “Yummy Meat Pies.” Have them include the price and some words that describe the way the pies are made.

Have children trace and cut out meat pie shapes. Glue the shapes to paper plates and then use the plates to practice addition: 3 pies plus 2 pies is 5 pies.

Make meat pies with children and have them observe the changes that occur as the ingredients are mixed, rolled, and fried. Encourage the use of descriptive words and phrases as the flour blends with the other ingredients and the dough changes color, shape, and texture as it is rolled, filled, and fried.

Social Studies
Explore the meat pies or other filled foods that are eaten by different ethnic groups: ravioli, perogies, wontons, kreplach, dumplings, etc.

Children may write about making something to eat or how they helped a family member make something for the family to eat.

Empanadas de carne

Guided Reading: C
DRA: 6
Reading Recovery/Intervention: 7

The Spanish edition is also a book with labels: mezclamos, estiramos la masa, rellenamos, freímos. Because many children speak dialects or may mix Spanish and English, it will be important to address the names for the cooking actions 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.

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About This Title

Guided Reading:


Interest Level:

Grades K - K

Reading Level:

Grades K - K


Comparing/Classifying/Measuring, Nonfiction, Sharing & Giving, Latino/Hispanic/Mexican Interest, Holidays/Traditions, Grandparents, Food, Families, How To, Informational Text, Childhood Experiences and Memories, Collaboration, Pride, Responsibility


Early Emergent Dual Language, Early Emergent English , Bebop How-to Grades PreK-2, Bebop English Guided Reading Level A, Bebop Latin American English Grades PreK-2, Bebop Realistic Fiction Collection Grades PreK-2, Dual Language Levels A-C Collection, Latin American Collection English 6PK, Reading Recovery Bebop Books collection, Bebop English Nonfiction, Infant Toddler Emotional Interactions

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