We Eat Rice

By Min Hong
Illustrations by Grace Lin

Focus: Concepts of Print and Reading Strategies

  • using the picture clues and beginning sounds
  • applying prior knowledge about eating rice (semantic knowledge)
  • following a story line to a conclusion

Supportive Text Features

  • familiar words and concepts
  • patterned sentence
  • strong picture to text match

High-frequency Words: we, like, to, and, day

Getting Ready to Read

  1. Introduce the concept and vocabulary by asking open-ended questions:
    • Tell me about some things you eat with rice?
    • What other foods might be served with rice?
    • What kinds of things do you like to eat with rice?
  2. Connect children’s past experiences with the book vocabulary:
    • Hold the book. Call children’s attention to the title. Read: “We Eat Rice.”
    • Have them predict what might happen in the story and suggest some story words.
    • Give children the book and have them look at the pictures.
    • Ask them what they see children eating 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 at the pictures and the beginning sound of the word.
  4. Be aware of the following text features:
    • The words are printed at the top of the page.
    • There are four sentence patterns that use the same beginning
    • The sentence pattern “ We like to eat rice soup.” changes to “We like to eat rice and chicken.” Four of the sentences contain two items * connected with the word “and.”
    • The last sentence changes: “We like to eat rice every day.”
    • The sentences in this book are longer than in the other books in the series.

Reading the Book

  1. Set a purpose by telling children to read about eating rice.

  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/ - /i/ - /c/ - /e/ or blending the sounds?
    • Do they reread if they come to an unfamiliar or unknown word?
    • Have they self-corrected any mistakes?
    • Do they use the question mark to affect how they read the sentences?
    • 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 rereading the sentence.” Encourage children to take a guess based on the subject of the story or to use the beginning sounds or known parts of the word.

  5. Possible teaching points to address based on your observations:
    • Say one word for each printed word.
    • Cross check to make sure what is said matches what is printed.
    • Cross check using the picture clues and beginning sounds.

After the First Reading

  1. Have children retell the story in their own words. They will be making inferences and drawing conclusions based on the pictures and the words read.

  2. Look at each page and brainstorm some things children might say as they eat rice.

  3. Make connections between the story and children’s experiences.

  4. Review the sequence of events and discuss what children mean when they say “We like to eat rice every day.”  Ask: “What are children saying about eating rice? How do we know they like rice? What else might they say after eating the different kinds of rice?” Explore the conclusions children make and have them support the conclusions with evidence from the story.

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

  1. 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 student as an assessment of the student’s reading behavior.

Cross-Curricular Activities

Music: Have the group create a musical rice shaker band. Children make shakers out of different materials—empty film canisters, soda cans, food containers, toilet tubes, etc. Vary the containers and amounts of rice to produce different sounds. Children can improvise songs using the different shakers.    
Art: Give children different types of rice—yellow, long grain, wild, etc. Have children draw patterns or pictures and then glue the rice on the pictures. Allow the pictures to dry before displaying.

Math: Fill a large bucket or plastic tub with rice. For exploration of volume and conservation, have children work with a variety of measuring cups and containers. Have them record their findings: 2 small cups of rice is equal to one large bowl, etc.

Science: Allow children to examine uncooked rice with a magnifying glass. Record the information gained from seeing and touching the rice. Then have them examine cooked rice. Record this information and talk about the differences they observed.

Social Studies: Look at pictures of places where rice grows. Ask: “What kind of habitat is needed? What countries would have the right kind of habitat for rice?” Explore the tools used for growing, cooking, and eating rice.     

Writing: Keep a food diary. Draw pictures of any foods that are eaten with rice.

Guided Reading™: C        DRA: 3        Reading Recovery®: 4

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.

Be aware that many children speak dialects or may mix Spanish and English. During the introduction, help children understand that “book language” does not always match the words we use every day. In this story, make sure children know the words: sopa, pollo, carne, pescado, cualquier cosa. The English edition reads rice and chicken while the Spanish edition reads arroz con pollo, which translates as rice with chicken.

If children have difficulty with 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


Sharing & Giving, Food, Cultural Diversity, Asian/Asian American Interest, Pride, Home, Optimism/Enthusiasm, Siblings, Similarities and Differences


Early Emergent Dual Language, Early Emergent English , Bebop English Guided Reading Level C, Bebop Realistic Fiction Collection Grades PreK-2, Bebop Asian American English Grades PreK-2, Dual Language Levels A-C Collection, Asian American Collection English 6PK, Reading Recovery Bebop Books collection, Bebop English Fiction, PreK Instructional Interactions

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