My Horse

By Karen Hjemboe
Illustrations by Anthony Chee Emerson

Focus: Concepts of Print

  • one-to-one matching
  • using the picture clues
  • reading a simple, patterned sentence

Supportive Text Features

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

High-frequency Words: my, me

Getting Ready to Read
Introduce the concept and vocabulary by asking open-ended questions:

  • Tell me some things a horse can do.
  • What might you see a pet horse doing?
  1. Connect children’s past experiences with the book vocabulary:
    • Hold the book, calling children’s attention to the title. Read: “My Horse.”
    • Ask them to predict what they would expect to see the boy and the horse 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 horse doing.
  2. 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.
  3. Be aware of the following text features:
    • The book contains familiar words: eats, walks, runs, jumps, loves.
    •  There is a patterned sentence: “My horse eats.”
    • Only one word changes on each page.
    • The last sentence of the book contains four words: “My horse loves me.”

Reading the Book
Set a purpose by telling children to read the book and find
out what the boy's horse does.

  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 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 /h/ - /o/ - /r/ - /s/
      • /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?
  3. 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.

  4. 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
Have children confirm their predictions about the horse.

  1. Discuss the relationship between the boy and the horse. Which sentence confirms what children think?

  2. Look at page 2 and ask children to comment on the picture. If children do not raise it, inform them that horses do not normally lay down when they sleep. Ask children why the illustrator drew the horse this way and what changes they could make so the horse would look like a real horse sleeping.

  3. Brainstorm some other words that would be appropriate in this story, such as gallops.

  4. Call children’s attention to the “s” at the end of each verb. Talk about why “s” is there and generate other sentences in which the verb has an “s” ending.

Second Reading
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
Music: Play some music and have children act out horse actions: trot, walk, gallop, run, skip, etc.

Art: Have children draw or paint a setting for a horse. Give children pre-cut pictures of horses and have them paste the horses on their papers.

Math: Compare the size of a horse to that of a child. Use string to measure the length and height of a horse. Then use string to measure children’s height and width. How much bigger is a horse than a child?    

Science: Read books about how animals sleep, such as SWEET DREAMS: HOW ANIMALS SLEEP by Kimiko Kajikawa. Help children investigate whether or not horses lay down when they sleep. Find out why most horses don’t lie down during sleep.

Social Studies: The boy in the story lives in the southwestern part of the United States. In the background you can see a pueblo. Ask: “In what other kinds of houses might a boy who owns a horse live? How is a pueblo the same and different from where you live?”

Writing: Children may write about how a horse owner takes care of his or her pet.

Guided Reading with MI CABALLO

Guided Reading™: B        DRA: 2        Reading Recovery®: 2

The Spanish edition also uses a patterned sentence and familiar words: come, bebe, and corre. Because many children speak dialects or may mix Spanish and English, it will be important to address the correct verb form 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.


About This Title

Guided Reading:


Interest Level:

Grades K - K

Reading Level:

Grades K - K


Animal/Biodiversity/Plant Adaptations, Responsibility, Native American Interest, Animals, Empathy/Compassion, Realistic Fiction, Self Control/Self Regulation, Human Impact On Environment/Environmental Sustainability , Kindness/Caring, Pride, Sharing & Giving


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, Dual Language Levels A-C Collection, Native American Collection English 6PK, Native American and Indigenous Booklist , Reading Recovery Bebop Books collection, Bebop English Fiction, Infant Toddler Instructional Interactions

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