Moving Day Surprise

By Tina Stolberg
Illustrations by Nicole Tadgell


  • reading and following conversation
  • following a longer story
  • maintaining meaning

Supportive Text Features:

  • familiar words and concepts
  • narrative sentence and text form
  • pictures support and extend the story

High-frequency Words: my, in, an, this, is, for, people, and, one, but, now, we, have, a, more, on, go, to, find, with, the, I, likes, his, he, will, them, if, come, they, look, are, all, get, do, not, down, up, now

Getting Ready to Read

  1. Introduce the concept and vocabulary by asking open-ended questions:
    • What happens when a family has to move?
    • How might a family have to change when a new baby arrives?
    • Tell me about what you have to do to get ready to move.
  2. Connect children’s past experiences with the book vocabulary:
    • Call children’s attention to the title. Read: “Moving Day Surprise.”
    • Tell children that the book is about a family who is moving to a new home. Ask children to predict what might happen in the story.
    • Show the back cover and read the copy. Ask children what they think the surprise could be.
    • 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 they see happening in the book.
  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.
  4. Be aware of the following book and text features:
    • The book contains numerous high-frequency words.
    • The book is written in narrative form; dialogue is interspersed with narrative.
    • All the sentences are different; there are no text patterns.
    • There are different numbers of sentences on each page; many sentences require a return sweep.
    • Several compound and multisyllabic words are used.
    • The pictures enhance the story, but most of it is told in the text.

Reading the Book

  1. Set a purpose by telling children to find out about the moving day and the surprise.

  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 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.
    • Point out the compound words and explore how they are formed from two shorter words; review how multisyllabic words are different from compound 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.
    • Review using punctuation marks to guide the meaning-making process. Call attention to the use of quotation marks, commas, and question marks in dialogue.
    • 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 and talk about the boy’s feelings about moving.

  2. Discuss why the boy tells his grandmother that his fish, Flipper, is sad about moving.

  3. Brainstorm a list of things children would like to take with them if they moved to a new home.

  4. Elicit children’s ideas about the moving day surprise.

  5. Make a list of all the characters in the story and have children tell two things about each person.

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: Make a house-shaped book. Decorate the cover and write the title. For each page, have children draw pictures of things in their homes they would want to take with them if they moved. Encourage each child to write a sentence under her or his picture explaining why these items should move with them.

Science: Give children some blocks or Legos. Challenge them to design and build a multi-story building that will be strong enough to stand even if it is hit with a rolling ball. Let children work in pairs. When they are finished, have a child roll a red playground ball toward the building to test its strength. Talk about what happens when the ball hits the building. Ask children to come up with ideas of how to make their buildings stronger and more stable.

Science: Have children investigate how to care for a pet goldfish. If possible, bring in a goldfish as a classroom pet. Children can list the tasks that need to be performed to care for the fish and assign different children to the tasks each week.

Math: Draw a 10-story apartment house on chart paper and label each floor with its floor number. Make up math problems for children to solve. For example, Rosie lived on the sixth floor, but she moved down three floors. Now what floor does he live on? Have children use manipulatives to figure out the answers. Have them record their answers using mathematical notation. For example, 6 – 3 = 3. Rosie lives on the third floor now.

Social Studies: Explore with children what a real estate agent does. If possible, invite a real estate agent to come to class and talk about how he or she helps families find new homes.

Writing: Have children write about their own experiences moving to a new home. Children who have not had to move may write an imaginary story about moving, a story about their pet, or a story about a time one of their grandparents baby-sat for them or came for a visit.


About This Title

Guided Reading:




Interest Level:

Grades 1 - 2

Reading Level:

Grades 1 - 1


Animal/Biodiversity/Plant Adaptations, Time/Days Of The Week, Home, Families, Childhood Experiences and Memories, African/African American Interest, Realistic Fiction


Emergent Dual Language, Emergent English, Teachers College Reading Assessment Kit for Grades K-2: Add-On Pack, Bebop English Guided Reading Level G, Bebop Realistic Fiction Collection Grades PreK-2, Bebop Assessment Set, Dual Language Levels D-I Collection, African American 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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