Punched Paper

By Dani Sneed, Josie Fonseca
Illustrations by Dani Sneed


  • understanding the author’s message
  • connecting personal experiences with a story
  • reading and following conversation
  • following instructions
  • reading nonfiction information

Supportive Text Features:

  • familiar words and concepts
  • narrative sentence and text form
  • variety of sentence structures
  • sequential events

Essential Components of Reading Instruction:

Phonics: soft /g/ consonant sound
Vocabulary: decorations, scissors, punched, wavy, triangles, yarn; several words in page 16 text; prefixes: “a-,” “un-”
Fluency: reread the story independently or with a partner
Comprehension: determine what is important, make connections, ask questions

High-frequency Words: is, going, to, have, a, we, all, do, and, I, make(s), in, the, find, what, can, how, about, use, these, she, it, up, on, this, you, then, now, with, out, my, your, look, at, more, when, are, have, day, who, made, did

Getting Ready to Read

  1. Introduce the concept and vocabulary by asking open-ended questions:
    • Have you ever made decorations for a party? What did you make? How did you make it?
    • What kinds of things can you make with just some paper and a pair of scissors?
    • How might we decorate our classroom for a party?
  2. Connect children’s past experiences with the book vocabulary:
    • Call children’s attention to the title. Read: “Punched Paper.” Talk about the title and what it might really mean.
    • Ask children to use the title and picture on the cover to predict what they would expect to read about in the book.
    • Show the back cover and read the copy. Ask children to think about what the two children might make with the supplies.
    • Have children suggest some words they might read in the book.
    • Give children the book and have them look through it. Ask them to find some hints about what happens in 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 for chunks of words they know and to blend the sounds quickly.
    • Suggest that children read on past an unfamiliar word in order to use the context of the story to unlock the word.
    • Tell children also to think about what they know about making decorations for school parties and special events. Then encourage them to choose a word that makes sense in the sentence.
  4. Be aware of the following book and text features:
    • The book contains numerous high-frequency words and many other familiar words.
    • The story is written in narrative form. Quotation marks indicate what the characters say in conversation.
    • The events are sequential and provide specific instructions.
    • The photographs support the text, but most of the meaning is contained in the text.
    • The last page contains nonfiction information about the origin and uses of punched paper.
    • There is a lesson embedded in the story.

Reading the Book

  1. Set a purpose by telling children to read about how two children make decorations for a class party.

  2. Have children read the story silently. Each child should be reading at his or her own pace. After the group has read a few pages, check for understanding with simple comments such as: “What is the story about?” or “Tell me how the story begins.” Then direct children to continue reading. As they read, watch for indications of comprehension: changes in facial expressions, giggles, audible comments, rereading, turning back to a page.

  3. Look for these reading behaviors during children’s first reading:
    • Do they rely on the print while reading?
    • Do they have a strong sight vocabulary?
    • Do they use known sound chunks to read unknown words?
    • Are they showing signs of understanding the story?
    • Are they monitoring meaning and rereading when they lose meaning?
    • Do they easily move from page to page?
    • Are they using punctuation to gain meaning?
    • How are they dealing with the conversations in the text?
    • Do they make accurate predictions?
    • Are they connecting the text to their own experiences?
    • Do they react to the text even though they are reading silently?
  4. As children read, note what they are doing. Help them build independence by being available, but not intervening too quickly. Watch for changes in children’s facial expressions and use these as signals to ask questions such as: “What made you smile?” or “Do you need some help?” Also encourage children’s attempts by making comments such as: “I like how you are reading,” or “That was a good strategy.”

  5. Possible teaching points to address based on your observations:
    • Review how to find a known part or sound chunk in an unknown word.
    • Show children how to use analogies to move from the known to the unknown when encountering new words.
    • Review using grammar (syntax) to unlock words by considering the sentence structure or parts of speech in the sentence.
    • Model asking questions or making “I wonder . . .” statements to extend comprehension.
    • Review how to determine what is important in a story. Explore the lesson the author was trying to convey.
    • Determine whether or not children read and understood the copy on page
  6. Explore how this information helps readers gain more information about the topic in the story.
    • Review using punctuation marks to guide the meaning-making process. Talk about the use of quotation marks to indicate dialogue, and the role commas, question marks, and exclamation points as clues to reading with expression.
    • Work with words from the story with soft /g/ consonant sound: edge/ edges. Explore other words with this sound in initial, medial, and final positions. Also compare these words to words with the /j/ sound.
    • Work with the prefixes “a-” and “un.” Review their meanings and explore how the prefix affects the meanings of the following words in the story: across, along; unfold.
    • Model how to revisit the text to find specific examples or ideas in the story Revisit PUNCHED PAPER to review the sequence of events in the instructions for making punched paper decorations.

After the First Reading

  1. Have children compare their predictions with what they actually read about in the book.

  2. Connect the story with children’s experiences making paper crafts or decorations for parties or other events.

  3. Discuss how the children help each other as they make punched paper decorations. What can friends learn from this story?

  4. Have children take turns reading aloud the conversations in the story. Encourage children to make their reading sound like talking.

  5. Talk about the information on page 16. How does it help children understand why these decorations are special? Have volunteers tell about special decorations their families make for holidays, parties, or other special occasions.

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: Have children make punched paper decorations following the instructions in the book. Encourage them to experiment with other designs. String children’s punched paper together to make a banner for the classroom.

Music: Encourage children to learn some songs from Mexico. Lyrics and music for several children’s songs in both Spanish and English can be found here.  You may also wish to share with children some of the songs and rhymes in ARROZ CON LECHE: POPULAR SONGS AND RHYMES FROM LATIN AMERICA by Lulu Delacre.

Science: Let children experiment with several different kinds of paper (tissue paper, copy paper, construction paper, cardstock, wax paper, and so on). Have children predict how easy or hard it will be to cut each type of paper by arranging them from easiest to most difficult. Then let children try cutting the papers. Discuss the results and see how they compare to children’s predictions. Also elicit children’s ideas about why it is easier to cut some paper than others.

Math: Explain the concept of symmetry using some of children’s punched paper as examples. Then have them look for other objects that are symmetrical. For example, a human face and a heart shape are symmetrical. The letters A, H, M, O, T, U, V, W, X, and Y are symmetrical.

Social Studies: Talk about how Maria and Andy cooperated and shared as they worked on the decorations. Then read RENT PARTY JAZZ by William Miller. In this story, an entire neighborhood cooperates and shares to help pay the rent for one of the families. Elicit children’s ideas about why cooperation is so important in a community.

Writing: Have children rewrite the instructions in the book as a chart with numbered steps for making punched paper.

Guided Reading with

Guided Reading™: J        EDL/DRA: 18        Intervention: 17
16 pages, 264 words, plus Informational Note

Level J is the benchmark for the beginning of second grade. Children at this level are becoming fluent readers. All of the directions given for the introduction, first reading, and second reading of the English edition can be used with the Spanish edition of the book. The focus of the teacher’s support should be on building confidence, fluency, and comprehension. This is a time for growing independence. To read the book successfully, children need the same kinds of support as their English-speaking classmates. Second language learners often benefit from acting out new words, seeing pictures, and talking about them using concrete examples.

The Spanish edition has many familiar words. If children do not know some of the words, present them with synonyms to help deepen their comprehension of the new words and the poems. You may also use real objects to support children’s learning of new vocabulary.

Help children find a way to read the text with expression, emphasizing that poems are read differently that stories. Hand movements or props could be added to increase the students’ comprehension of the poems.

The book language used may differ from children’s oral language. Comparing any differences will help children read and understand the poems. Also help children understand that we often speak differently than we write, and that both ways of using language are important.


About This Title

Guided Reading:


Interest Level:

Grades 2 - 2

Reading Level:

Grades 2 - 2


Comparing/Classifying/Measuring, Photographic Illustrations, Nonfiction, Counting Money/Everyday Math, Classroom Activities, Similarities and Differences, Latino/Hispanic/Mexican Interest, Imagination, Holidays/Traditions, Games/Toys, Friendship, Cultural Diversity, Childhood Experiences and Memories, Art, How To, Informational Text, Pride, Collaboration


Teachers College Reading Assessment Kit for Grades K-2: Add-On Pack, Bebop How-to Grades PreK-2, Early Fluent Dual Language, Early Fluent English, Bebop Latin American English Grades PreK-2, Bebop Nonfiction Grades PreK-2, Dual Language Levels J-M Collection, Latin American Collection English 6PK, Diverse Backgrounds Collection English 6PK, English Guided Reading Level J, Multicultural Collection 10, Multicultural Collection 12, Multicultural Collection 13, Multicultural Collection 14, Multicultural Collection 15, Multicultural Collection 11, Teachers College Reading Assessment Kit for Grades K-2: Library, Bebop English Nonfiction

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