My Big Rock

By Phyllis J. Perry
Illustrations by Chih-Wei Chang

Focus: Concepts of Print

  • one-to-one matching
  • using the picture clues
  • reading a patterned sentence
  • noticing a pattern change
  • thought balloons

Supportive Text Features:

  • familiar words and concept
  • patterned sentence
  • strong picture-text match

High-frequency Words: I, on, my, is, a

Getting Ready to Read

  1. Introduce the concept and vocabulary by asking open-ended questions:
    • Tell me what you could use a big rock for when you are playing outside.
    • Tell me what you could pretend that big rock is.
    • What might a very big rock remind you of when you are playing?
  2. Connect children’s past experiences with the story and vocabulary:
    • Hold the book, calling children’s attention to the title. Read: “My Big Rock.”
    • Ask them to predict what they would expect to see happening in the story.
    • Show the back cover and read the copy. Ask children what kind of adventure they think they might have.
    • Have children predict some words they might read in the story.
    • Give children the book and have them look at the pictures.
    • Ask them what the pictures tell about the story.
  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 familiar words: play, big, rock, horse, car, ship, rocket, castle.
    • There is a patterned sentence: “My big rock is a horse.”
    • Only one word changes on each page.
    • The new word matches a picture that is highlighted in a thought balloon.
    • The first and last sentences are the same but are different from the rest of the story: “I play on my big rock.”

Reading the Book

  1. Set a purpose by telling children to read and find out what the girl is imagining.

  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 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 /p/ - /l/ - /a/ - /y/ 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 after looking at the pictures.

  5. Possible teaching points to address based on your observations:
    • Discuss what the white dots connecting the girl and the white circles mean.
    • Point out how the illustrator used a thought balloon to help with each new word.
    • Review using the beginning sound.
    • Model how to reread the sentence if it doesn’t sound right or make sense.
    • Make sure children are reading each word.

After the First Reading

  1. Have children talk about using one’s imagination during play. What objects have they used to represent other objects during play?

  2. Talk about the girl in the story and what the pictures tell us about her imagination.

  3. Brainstorm other objects the rock might represent.

  4. Point out how the picture adds details to what the sentence says on each page.

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 child as an assessment of the child’s reading behavior.

Cross-Curricular Activities

Language: Show children several boxes of different sizes or shapes. Have them decide what each one might be used for during play. Talk about how the boxes might be changed or modified.

Art: Give each child a piece of paper and have children tear their papers into a rock shape. Next, use colored paper and crayons to transform the paper rock into something else.

Science: Have children examine some rocks or pebbles. Use a hand lens to get a closer view. Discuss how the rocks are similar and different. If time permits, have children get to “know” their rocks very well by studying its shape, size, color, and so on. Put all the rocks in a pile and then have each child find his or her rock and tell the characteristics that identify the rock.

Math: Give each child two rocks of similar size. Have children decide which rock is heavier. Use a balance scale to test the two rocks. Discuss how the heavier rock will be lower on the balance scale. Have children tell whether or not their predictions were correct.

Social Studies: Go for a walk around the school and look for ways that rocks have been used. Why would a town or city use rocks for building, paving, and decorating?

Writing: Write a description of a rock that has been observed and studied.

Mi gran roca

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

The Spanish edition also uses patterned sentences, thought balloons, and familiar words: juego, roca, caballo, auto, barco, cohete, castillo. Because many children speak dialects or may mix Spanish and English they may use other words or variations for names of the objects in the story. 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 the 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


Comparing/Classifying/Measuring, Similarities and Differences, Imagination, Games/Toys, Dreams & Aspirations, Childhood Experiences and Memories, Asian/Asian American Interest, Optimism/Enthusiasm


Emergent English, Emergent Dual Language, Bebop English Guided Reading Level D, 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, Reading Recovery Bebop Books collection, Bebop English Fiction

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