My Family

By Karen Hjemboe
Illustrations by Dorothy Sullivan

Focus: Concepts of Print

  • one-to-one matching
  • reading a simple, patterned sentence
  • return sweep with two lines of text
  • using a question mark

Supportive Text Features

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

High-frequency Words: my, me, who, you

Concept Words: mother, father, sister, brother, grandmother, grandfather, family

Getting Ready to Read

  1. Introduce the concept and vocabulary by asking open-ended questions:
    • Who helps you learn new things?
    • Tell me about some things your family teaches you.
  2. Connect children’s past experiences with the book vocabulary:
    • Hold the book, calling children’s attention to the title. Read: “My Family.”
    • Ask them to predict what they would expect to see the family doing together.
    • 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 family 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:
    • There is a patterned sentence: “My mother teaches me.”
    • Only one word changes on each page.
    • There are two sentences on the last page: “My family teaches me.” Who teaches you?” The last sentence is a question.

Reading the Book

  1. Set a purpose by telling children to read the book and find out about the family.

  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 /m/ - /o/ - /t/ - /h/- /e/ - /r/ 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:
    • Review using the picture 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.
    • Call attention to the high-frequency words children have learned and used.

After the First Reading

  1. Have children confirm their predictions about the family.

  2. Discuss what each member of the family teaches the girl. Encourage children to respond with a full sentence. “What is mother teaching her? The mother teaches her to crush the corn.”

  3. Reflect on how this family is similar and different from those of children in the group.

  4. Brainstorm other things family members might teach each other.

  5. If students notice the irregular plural ending for the word “teaches,” write it on a separate chart for a mini-lesson at a later time.

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
Music: Teach children a new song and share how you intend to do it. As they learn the song, remind them of how you are teaching it to them. Then have them share how they learned the song.
Art: Teach children a new craft. Explain the steps as they learn and then have them teach it to someone else.        

Math: Teach children how to count by twos to ten. Have them notice how you teach them and then have them design a board game using counting by twos. Let them teach the rules of the game to another child.

Science: List pet tricks or behaviors. Then interview a pet owner and ask them to explain how they taught the trick to the pet.

Social Studies: Have children come to school prepared to teach the group something they know how to do—how to play a game, recite a poem, tie shoelaces, make a bracelet, perform karate moves, etc. The other children follow the directions.

Writing: Make a class family tree. Children bring photos of their family members and write what the person taught them. The photo and description are attached to a leaf and placed on the tree.

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

The Spanish edition also uses a patterned sentence and familiar words for family members: madre, padre, hermana, hermano, abuela, abuelo. Because many children speak dialects or may mix Spanish and English, it will be important to address the words used for the family members 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 last sentence. 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.

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About This Title

Guided Reading:


Interest Level:

Grades 1 - 1

Reading Level:

Grades 1 - 1


Comparing/Classifying/Measuring, Nature/Science, Similarities and Differences, Identity/Self Esteem/Confidence, Responsibility, Native American Interest, Mentors, Home, Families, Childhood Experiences and Memories, Realistic Fiction, Pride, Collaboration, Gratitude, Optimism/Enthusiasm


Teachers College Reading Assessment Kit for Grades K-2: Add-On Pack, Early Emergent Dual Language, Early Emergent English , Bebop English Guided Reading Level B, Bebop Native American English Grades PreK-2, Bebop Realistic Fiction Collection Grades PreK-2, Bebop Assessment Set, Dual Language Levels A-C Collection, Native American Collection English 6PK, Teachers College Reading Assessment Kit for Grades K-2: Library, Native American and Indigenous Booklist , Lexile Bebop Books Decoding Collection, Bebop English Fiction

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