Time for Tacos

By Carla Golembe
Illustrations by Carla Golembe

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

High-frequency Words: a, in, some, it

Getting Ready to Read

  1. Introduce the concept and vocabulary by asking open-ended questions:
    • Tell me what goes in a taco.
    • Tell me how you put a taco together.
    • What do people put in their tacos before they eat them?
  2. Connect children’s past experiences with the story and vocabulary:
    • Hold the book, calling children’s attention to the title. Read: “Time for Tacos.”
    • Ask them to predict what they would expect to see happening in the story.
    • Show the back cover and read the copy. Ask children why they think the boy and his father are making tacos.
    • Have children predict some words they might read in the story.
    • Give children the book and have them look at the pictures.
    • Ask them what the pictures tell about 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 at the pictures and the beginning sound of the word.
  4. Be aware of the following text features:
    • The book contains familiar words: take, taco, shell, beans, tomatoes, peppers, cheese, sauce, eat.
    • There is a patterned sentence: “Put in some beans.”
    • Only one word changes on each page.
    • The first and last sentences are different: “Take a taco shell.” and “Eat it!”

Reading the Book

  1. Set a purpose by telling children to read and find out how to make a taco.

  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 /t/ - /a/ - /k/ - /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?
  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 after looking at the pictures.

  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.
    • Discuss the exclamation mark on the last page and what it tells the reader to do.

After the First Reading

  1. Have children confirm their predictions.

  2. Ask children to decide which of the ingredients they would put in their own tacos.

  3. Discuss how the boy’s father helps him make a taco.

  4. Review the directions and generate a list of equipment that would be needed to make the tacos.

  5. Generate some words for the boy and his father to say on each page.

  6. Practice saying the last line, “Eat It!,” the way the people in the story might say it.

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 child as an assessment of the child’s reading behavior.

Cross-Curricular Activities
Language: For snack time, make some tacos together, following the directions. Talk about what children see, smell, and taste. Generate other words to use in place of “put” in each sentence.

Art: Cut pictures of foods from old magazines. Give children yellow paper circles to represent taco shells. Have them choose and paste foods of their choice on their taco shells.

Science: Investigate the food pyramid or food groups. Revisit the story TIME FOR TACOS and decide how many of the food groups are represented. Decide whether or not this would be a good meal. Does anything need to be added to make a balanced meal? What should be added?

Math: Review basic geometric shapes. Ask children to look at the pictures in the book and name the shapes they see (triangle, star, circle, diamond). You might also wish to introduce other shapes and patterns such as semicircle, line, oval, zigzag.

Social Studies: Read THE TORTILLA FACTORY by Gary Paulsen. Discuss how the people in the story make tortillas. As a group, write the directions. Talk about the different kinds of bread people eat. and that tortillas are a type of  bread made of cornmeal. Tortillas are also used to make taco shells.

Writing: Have children write about a taco or other sandwich-like food they enjoy eating.

Vamos a hacer tacos

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

The Spanish edition also uses a patterned sentence and familiar words: agarra, tortilla, frijoles, tomate, pimiento, queso, salsa, comer. Because many children speak dialects or may mix Spanish and English they may use other words or variations for the food names. 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.


About This Title

Guided Reading:




Interest Level:

Grades PreK - 1

Reading Level:

Grades K - 1


Nonfiction, Latino/Hispanic/Mexican Interest, Food, Fathers, Families, Cultural Diversity, Childhood Experiences and Memories, Beginning Concepts, How To


Early Emergent Dual Language, Early Emergent English , Bebop How-to Grades PreK-2, Bebop English Guided Reading Level C, Bebop Latin American English Grades PreK-2, Reading Partners ER Lee & Low Kit , Dual Language Levels A-C Collection, Latin American Collection English 6PK, Reading Recovery Bebop Books collection, Bebop English Nonfiction, PreK Instructional Interactions

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