Shapes Where We Play

By Ellen B. Senisi
Illustrations by Ellen B. Senisi

Focus: Concepts of Print:

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

Supportive Text Features:

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

Essential Components of Reading Instruction:

  • Phonemic Awareness: word sense
  • Phonics: consonant blends and digraphs /tr/, /sh/, /wh/, /pl/; long /e/vowel sound
  • Vocabulary: circle, square, triangle, rectangle, oval, shapes
  • Fluency: reread the story independently or with a partner
  • Comprehension: determine meaning of each shape word, make connections, ask questions

High-frequency Words: here, is, a, can, you, where, we, play

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

  • Tell me the names of some shapes.
  • Where might you see a ___? (name each shape)
  • What is the difference between a ___ and a ___? (name two different basic shapes)

1.Connect children’s past experiences with the story and vocabulary: * Hold the book, calling children’s attention to the title. Read: “Shapes Where We Play”

  • Ask them to predict what shapes they might see on a playground.
  • Show the back cover and read the copy. Ask children to name the shapes they see in the photograph.
  • Have children predict some words they might read in the story.
  • Give children the book and have them look for at the photographs.
  • Ask them what the photographs tell about the story.

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 photographs and the beginning sound of the word.

3.Be aware of the following book/text features:

  • The book contains familiar shape names.
  • There is a patterned sentence: “Here is a ___.”
  • There is a small shape image on the page with the text and a larger picture of the shape on the page facing the text.
  • Only one word changes on each page.
  • The last page of text is different and asks a question: “Can you find shapes where we play?”

Reading the Book
Set a purpose by telling children to find out which shapes children find at the playground.

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 (/s/ - /h/ - /a/ - /p/ -  /e/ -/s/), 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 sounds 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 photographs 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 pictures to help with each new word.
  • Review using the beginning sound or blend.
  • Model how to reread the sentence if it doesn’t sound right or make sense.
  • Call attention to all the high-frequency words children have learned and used.
  • Call attention to the question mark on the last page.

After the First Reading
1.Have children confirm their predictions about the shapes found on the playground.

2.Ask children to look around the classroom and find shapes that are part of the things they see.

3.Talk about the similarities and differences among the shapes.

4.Point out the question mark on the last page and how the sentence asks a question. Model how the sentence should be read.

5.Have children name all the shapes they can find in the photograph on the last page.

6.Look at each photograph in the book and have children generate questions they could ask the child in the picture.

Second Reading
1.Have children reread the book in a whisper voice or to a partner.

2.This is a time for assessment. While children are reading, watch what they 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: Read aloud the book Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni. Talk about the story and how it connects to people being friends. Point out how the author/illustrator used a simple shape to tell the story.

Art: Have children choose one shape from the story. Tell them to draw three different sizes of that shape with a pencil. Then let them use colored pencils, crayons, or markers to turn each of their shapes into something familiar. For example, a square could be a waffle, a book, a window.

Science: Talk about how scientists use observation to find out about the world. Some scientists observe animals while others observe the weather. Give each child a paper tube and go on a shape walk. Have children use the tubes as “telescopes” to focus their observations. Each time a child finds a shape, ask him or her to record where the shape was with a drawing or a word. Use clipboards to hold the recording sheets.

Math: Create patterns using two or more shapes. Model patterns for children by using plastic or paper shapes: red triangle, blue circle, red triangle, blue circle, and so on. When children show an understanding of patterning, have them create patterns of their own. Shapes with some thickness are easier to manipulate. Children can then record their patterns on paper.

Social Studies: Display common road and traffic signs to show children how shapes are used in our environment. (Numerous images of signs can be found on the Web.) For example, a stop sign is an octagon (eight sides), a yield sign is a triangle, a curve sign is a diamond, and so on. Talk about how signs such as these help the community.

Writing: Have children look around the classroom and write sentences such as, “I see something that is a circle and is blue.” Children then take turns reading their sentences and the rest of the group tries to find the object.


Guided Reading™: B        EDL/DRA: 2        Intervention: 2
12 pages, 28 words

The Spanish edition also uses a patterned sentence and familiar words. The last page has two lines of text. Show children how to use their fingers to track the words and make the return sweep.

Many children speak dialects or may mix Spanish and English. 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.

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About This Title

Guided Reading:




Interest Level:

Grades PreK - K

Reading Level:

Grades PreK - K


Comparing/Classifying/Measuring, Photographic Illustrations, Nonfiction, Five Senses / Body Parts, Counting Money/Everyday Math, Classroom Activities, Similarities and Differences, Multiethnic interest, Games/Toys, Friendship, Environment/Nature, Childhood Experiences and Memories, African/African American Interest, Beginning Concepts, Exploring Ecosystems, Informational Text


Bebop African American English Grades PreK-2, Early Emergent Dual Language, Early Emergent English , English Informational Text Grades PreK-2, Bebop English Guided Reading Level B, Bebop Nonfiction Grades PreK-2, Dual Language Levels A-C Collection, Diverse Backgrounds Collection English 6PK, Reading Recovery Bebop Books collection, At Home Learning Collection for Grades PreK-2, Lexile Bebop Books Decoding Collection, Bebop English Nonfiction, Infant Toddler Instructional Interactions

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