Train Ride

By Candace Whitman
Illustrations by Candace Whitman

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: we, are

Getting Ready to Read

  1. Introduce the concept and vocabulary by asking open-ended questions:
    • What do people do before they go for a train ride?
    • Tell me what people do when they get on a train.
    • Tell me what you see when someone goes for a train ride.
  2. Connect children’s past experiences with the story and vocabulary:
    • Hold the book, calling children’s attention to the title. Read: “Train Ride.”
    • 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 the boy in the story might think taking a train ride is fun.
    • 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: ready, hug, wave, sit, move, train, ride.
    • There is a patterned sentence: “We hug.”
    • Only one word changes on each page.
    • The first and last sentences are different: “We are ready.” and “Train ride!”

Reading the Book

  1. Set a purpose by telling children to read about this train ride.

  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 /r/ - /e/ - /a/ - /d/ -/y/ 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.
    • Talk about how the pictures and words give us a good idea of what happened on the train ride.

After the First Reading

  1. Ask children to report about the train ride—what happened, how the people felt, who they were leaving, where the people are going, how long the trip was, and so on.

  2. Talk about how the pictures add details to the words on each page.

  3. Have children read each sentence as the people in the story might have said it aloud.

  4. Generate some other things for the people to say before getting on the train and while taking the ride.

  5. Discuss whether or not all train rides would be like this one. How would they be the same? How would they be different?

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: Make a list of activities children could do to pass the time while riding on a train. What should a child pack in a backpack or small suitcase to keep himself or herself occupied?

Art: Have children make a paper train by drawing or painting train cars and cutting them out. Hang the train cars side-by-side on the wall and add a paper track for it to sit on.

Science: Give children a toy train engine. Let them push the train across different surfaces: a table, a rug, sandpaper, wax paper, a paper bag, grass, and so on. Discuss the difference in the way the train moves on each surface.

Math: Use paper clocks to show what time a train will be leaving the station. Say a time and have children take turns moving the clock hands to show the time you mention.

Social Studies: Investigate where trains go and what they carry. Visit a train station or look at some books about trains. Brainstorm other ways to find out about trains.

Writing: Have children write about riding on a train or subway.

Viajamos en tren

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

The Spanish edition also uses a patterned sentence and familiar words: estamos, abrazamos, despedimos, sentamos, movemos, tren. Because many children speak dialects or may mix Spanish and English they may know or use the verb forms. 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 1 - 1

Reading Level:

Grades 1 - 1


Vehicles In Motion, Families, Childhood Experiences and Memories, African/African American Interest, Beginning Concepts, People In Motion


Bebop African American English Grades PreK-2, Early Emergent Dual Language, Early Emergent English , Bebop English Guided Reading Level C, Bebop Realistic Fiction Collection Grades PreK-2, Dual Language Levels A-C Collection, African American Collection English 6PK, Bebop English Fiction

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