Surprise Moon

By Caroline Hatton
Illustrations by Felicia Hoshino


  • understanding the author’s message
  • connecting personal experiences with a story
  • paying attention to details
  • reading and following conversation
  • reading nonfiction information
  • drawing conclusions and making inferences

Supportive Text Features:

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

Essential Components of Reading Instruction:

Phonics: /oo/ vowel sound
Vocabulary: autumn, festival, holiday, Vietnam, lanterns, neighbors, yolk; several words in page 16 text; contractions
Fluency: reread the story independently or with a partner
Comprehension: determine what is important, make connections, ask questions

High-frequency Words: time, said, is, it, your, no, the, that, a, in, where, my, from, we, can, I, you, can, make, with, they, down, out, of, their, and, but, this, not, to,

Getting Ready to Read

  1. Introduce the concept and vocabulary by asking open-ended questions:
    • What is a festival? What might you see happening at a festival?
    • What kinds of things do people celebrate?
    • Everyone likes surprises. What kinds of surprises do you like best?
  2. Connect children’s past experiences with the story:
    • Call children’s attention to the title. Read: “Surprise Moon.” 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 the fun and surprises Nick and his friends might find at the Autumn Moon festival.
    • 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 festivals and parades. 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 amount of text on each page varies.
    • The story events are sequential and real, and extend over several pages.
    • The sound words on page 8 and “this” on page 12 are written in italics.
    • The illustrations support and extend the story, but most of the meaning is contained in the text.
    • The last page contains nonfiction information about the Autumn Moon Festival.

Reading the Book

  1. Set a purpose by telling children to read about what a boy and his friends do to celebrate the Autumn Moon Festival.

  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. Review how details in the story give information about how to celebrate the Autumn Moon Festival.
    • 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.
    • Talk about the words in italic type. Point out that this type is a clue to reading the words with strong emphasis.
    • Work with words from the story with the /oo/ vowel sound: cool, moon, spoon. Explore other words with these sounds in medial and final positions.
    • Call attention to the following contractions: it’s, what’s, don’t. Review the use of an apostrophe to take the place of the missing letters.
    • Model how to revisit the text to find specific examples or ideas in the story. Revisit SURPRISE MOON to make inferences about why Nick thinks moon cakes are the best part of the Autumn Moon Festival.

After the First Reading

  1. Have children confirm their predictions with what they actually read about in the story.

  2. Connect the story with children’s experiences celebrating special holidays or festivals with their own families.

  3. Look through the book to find the places where the children say “cool!” Elicit children’s thoughts about what the expression means. What other expressions might children use in such a situation?

  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 the story? Have volunteers tell about special foods or other treats their families make for 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 create a paper lantern. Let them decorate a large sheet of white paper with small torn pieces of colored tissue paper. They can use watered down glue or paste and a brush to attach the tissue paper to the white sheet. When dry, roll the paper into a cylinder, tape it closed, and attach a string at the top for hanging the lantern in the classroom. Children may make their own lanterns using smaller sheets of paper.

Music: Using rhythm instruments, have children create music for an Autumn Moon Festival parade. If they have made their own lanterns, have some children play instruments while others carry their lanterns as they parade around the room.

Science: Teach children about the cycles of the moon. SO THAT’S HOW THE MOON CHANGES SHAPE by Allan Fowler offers a clear explanation. You may also wish to extend the activity by introducing the concept of the lunar calendar and compare it to the solar calendar.
Math: Look at a calendar that notes the phases of the moon. Count the days between each phase for the current month. Then have a volunteer mark the date for each phase on the classroom calendar. If you wish, this can become a monthly activity.

Social Studies: Locate Vietnam on a world map or globe. Then locate the state or city in which your school is located. Talk about how far apart the two places are. You might also use the map scale to determine the approximate number of miles. Then reread SURPRISE MOON and talk about how celebrating a festival so far from their homeland might make people from Vietnam feel.

Writing: Let children pretend they are Bob or Pam in the story. Have each child write a thank you note to Nick and his family for inviting them to their celebration of the Autumn Moon Festival.

Guided Reading with

Guided Reading™: I        EDL/DRA: 16        Intervention: 16
16 pages, 228 words, plus Informational Note

Guided reading level I is the benchmark for the end of first grade. Children reading at this level are in an early fluent stage. All 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 comprehension, fluency, confidence, and 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. The text is written in narrative style. If children do not know some of the words, present them with synonyms to help deepen their comprehension of the new words and the story. You may also use real objects to support their learning of new vocabulary.

Review with children the way dialogue is indicated and how question marks and exclamation points are used in written Spanish. Dashes are used to indicate dialogue and question marks and exclamation points are used at both the beginning and end of sentences. The marks appear “upside down” at the beginning of each sentence and “right side up” at the end. Have children practice reading the conversations. Encourage them to read the words so they sound like talking.

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

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About This Title

Guided Reading:




Interest Level:

Grades PreK - 2

Reading Level:

Grades 1 - 1


Comparing/Classifying/Measuring, Classroom Activities, Similarities and Differences, Sharing & Giving, Identity/Self Esteem/Confidence, Responsibility, Home, Holidays/Traditions, Games/Toys, Friendship, Fathers, Families, Cultural Diversity, Conflict resolution, Childhood Experiences and Memories, Art, Asian/Asian American Interest, Empathy/Compassion, Realistic Fiction, Respect/Citizenship, Self Control/Self Regulation, Pride, Earth/Sun/Moon System


Emergent English, Emergent Dual Language, Teachers College Reading Assessment Kit for Grades K-2: Add-On Pack, Bebop English Guided Reading Level I, 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, Diverse Backgrounds Collection English 6PK, Multicultural Collection 10, Multicultural Collection 12, Multicultural Collection 14, Multicultural Collection 15, Multicultural Collection 11, Reading Recovery Bebop Books collection, Teachers College Reading Assessment Kit for Grades K-2: Library, Chinese and Lunar New Year, Bebop English Fiction, Infant Toddler Instructional Interactions

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