Tuti's Play

By Jan Reynolds
Illustrations by Jan Reynolds


  • reading about a real family
  • sequencing events

Supportive Text Features:

  • familiar words and concepts
  • narrative sentence and text form
  • photos support and enhance the story

High-frequency Words: is, going, to, be, in, a, the, will, makes, with, from, her, and, for, look, they, can, see, how, their, on, she, has, it, now

Getting Ready to Read

  1. Introduce the concept and vocabulary by asking open-ended questions:
    • What do people do to get ready to be in a play?
    • What might you see people doing on a stage?
    • Tell me what you know about being in a play or a show.
  2. Connect children’s past experiences with the book vocabulary:
    • Call children’s attention to the title. Read: “Tuti’s Play.”
    • Tell children that the book is the story of a family getting ready to perform a play on a stage.
    • Show the back cover and read the copy. Have children predict what they think Tuti does to get ready for the play.
    • Have children suggest some words they might read in the story.
    • Give children the book and have them look at the pictures.
    • Ask them to tell where they think the story takes place.
  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 say the beginning sound of an unknown word and read on, returning to the word after completing the sentence.
  4. Be aware of the following book and text features:
    • The book contains numerous high-frequency words.
    • The story is written in narrative form.
    • All the sentences are different but they are simple constructions.
    • Some pages have one sentence and some pages have two sentences.
    • Commas are used in a series of three words on page 9.
    • Text on pages 9 and 12 requires a return sweep.
    • The photographs enhance the story, but most of it is told in the text.

Reading the Book

  1. Set a purpose by telling children to find out what Tuti does to get ready for the play.

  2. Have children read the first few pages 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. When you hear them reading fluently, tell them to begin reading silently.

  3. Look for these reading behaviors during children’s first reading:
    • Do they use multiple sources of information?
    • Do they make predictions and confirm or revise them while reading?
    • Are they more able to monitor meaning and self correct?
    • Do they know a large number of sight words?
    • Do they use punctuation appropriately?
    • Do they read more automatically and with fluency?
    • Have they begun to draw conclusions and make inferences?
  4. As children read, suggest reading strategies if they are struggling: “Try saying the beginning of the word. Try looking at the picture for help.” Encourage children to take a guess or read past the unknown word.

  5. Possible teaching points to address based on your observations:
    • Review how to find a known part in an unknown word.
    • Show children how to use analogies to move from the known to the unknown when encountering new words.
    • Work with suffixes and prefixes.
    • Review using grammar (syntax) to unlock words by considering the sentence structure or parts of speech in the sentence.
    • Explore the story grammar—characters, setting, problem, and so on.
    • Review how to determine what is important in a picture or sentence.
    • Model asking questions or making “I wonder . . .” statements to extend comprehension.
    • Review using punctuation marks to guide the meaning-making process. Point out the use of an apostrophe in the possessive form of Tuti (Tuti’s) and the use of commas in a series (page 9).
    • Model how to revisit the text to find specific examples or ideas in the story.

After the First Reading

  1. Have children talk about the activities of Tuti and her family and confirm their predictions about what Tuti did to get ready for the play.

  2. Review the sequence of the family’s activities and talk about why this particular sequence is necessary.

  3. Discuss why each member of the family did what is shown in the photographs.

  4. Brainstorm and generate questions to ask the family about its play.

  5. If children are comfortable talking about their families, have them compare Tuti’s family with their own.

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: Brainstorm with children what the play will be about, and talk about the special costumes the dancers wear. Have children draw pictures of scenery for the play and/or costumes for some of the other characters.

Music: Listen to some Asian dance music, or specifically music from Bali, which is where Tuti lives. Have children try to move their arms and legs in the same way as Tuti and her friends in the story.

Dance/Social Studies: Explore different dances from around the world. Teach children a dance from another county and have them perform it as a play for other classes. 

Math: Create some patterns using finger, hand, and arm movements. For example, two finger snaps, three claps, one wave. Let children create the patterns and then show them how to record the patterns using numbers, words, and pictures. Use the recorded directions to teach each other the patterns.

Science: Have children put their hands on their hearts and feel the beat. Then have children exercise or dance for a few minutes. Have them feel their heartbeats again and compare them to the first ones. Investigate how exercise, including dance, can help our bodies stay healthy.

Social Studies: Have children learn more about Bali. Locate it on a world map and have children generate a list of questions they would like to answer. Enlist the help of the school librarian to help children find the answers to their questions. If computers are available, children can also do some research on the Internet.

Writing: Have children write about a play or show they have seen or in which they have performed.

Guided Reading with La obra de Tuti

Guided Reading™: F        DRA: 10        Reading Recovery®: 10
16 pages, 143 words

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. 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 story is about a family getting ready for a play. Although the sentence constructions sound like speech, some of them may be unfamiliar to children. The text on several pages requires a return sweep, page 9 contains a comma in a series, and exclamation points are used on the last page.

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.


About This Title

Guided Reading:




Interest Level:

Grades 1 - 1

Reading Level:

Grades 1 - 1


Photographic Illustrations, Nonfiction, Five Senses / Body Parts, Weather/Seasons/Clothing, Sports, Friendship, Families, Cultural Diversity, Art, Asian/Asian American Interest, How To, Informational Text


Emergent English, Emergent Dual Language, English Informational Text Grades PreK-2, Bebop English Guided Reading Level G, Bebop Nonfiction Grades PreK-2, Bebop Asian American English Grades PreK-2, Dual Language Levels D-I Collection, Asian American Collection English 6PK, Reading Recovery Bebop Books collection, Bebop English Nonfiction

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