What Time Is It?

By Christine Taylor-Butler
Illustrations by Sylvia Walker

Focus: Concepts of Print

  • one-to-one matching
  • using the picture clues
  • reading patterned sentences
  • noticing changes in a patterned sentence

Supportive Text Features

  • familiar words and concept
  • patterned sentences
  • two alternating sentence patterns
  • strong picture/text match

Essential Components of Reading Instruction:

  • Phonemic Awareness: concept of word
  • Phonics: initial consonant blends and digraphs /wh/, /br/, /sc/, /pl/, /sl/; long /a/vowel sound spelled “a-consonant-e” and “ay”; long /e/ vowel sound spelled “ea” and “ee”
  • Vocabulary: time, wake, eat, breakfast, school, lunch, home, dinner, sleep
  • Fluency: reread the story independently or with a partner
  • Comprehension: determine what is important, make connections, ask questions

High-frequency Words: what, is, it, to, up, be, in, go, play

Getting Ready to Read
1. Introduce the concept and vocabulary by asking open-ended questions: * Tell me how we use time at school. * What are some things people use to tell the time? * Why do you think it is important to know the time?

  1. Connect children’s past experiences with the story and vocabulary:
    • Hold the book, calling children’s attention to the title. Read: "What Time Is It?"
    • Ask children to predict how time might be important in the story.
    • Show the back cover and read the copy. Ask children what they think the boy will do during the day.
    • Have children predict some words they might read in the story.
    • Give children the book and have them look at the pictures.
    • Ask them to notice what the children are doing and the clock in each picture.
  1. 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.
  1. Be aware of the following book/text features:
    • The title ends with a question mark.
    • The book contains familiar words: time, wake, eat, breakfast, school, lunch, home, dinner, sleep.
    • The text is on the page facing the picture. The exception is page 16, where the text is below the picture.
    • There are two patterned sentences: “What time is it?” “It is time to ___.”
    • The first sentence asks a question; the second sentence provides the answer.
    • One to three words change at the end of the second sentence.

Reading the Book
1. Set a purpose by telling children to read the book and find out what the boy does at different times during the day.

  1. 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.

  2. Look for these reading behaviors during the first reading:

    • Do the words children say match the printed words in the book? (voice-to-print match)
    • Do children 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 over 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
      /s/-/c/-/h/-/o/-/o/-/l/ 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?
  1. 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 or use the beginning letter sound.

  2. Possible teaching points to address based on your observations:

    • Review using the picture to help with each new word.
    • Review using initial consonant blends and digraphs, and long-vowel sounds to read new words.
    • Model how to reread the sentence if it does not sound right or make sense.
    • Model how to make a return sweep to the second line of text.
    • Call attention to all the high-frequency words children have learned and used.
    • Provide help with reading two-syllable words.
    • Call attention to the question on each page.
    • Point out that the clock in each picture shows the time of day at which the boy does the activity.

After the First Reading
1. Have children confirm their predictions about what the boy does at different times during the day.

  1. Ask children to read the time on the clock in each picture. If necessary, focus their attention on the hour hand as a clue to the time. Talk about the connection between the time shown and what the boy is doing.

  2. Revisit the pictures on pages 5 and 16. Have children read the time on each clock, then tell what the boy is doing. What time of day is shown in each picture? Talk about how the same numbers (1–12) are used to tell time in the morning and in the afternoon.

  3. Model how the first sentence on each page should be read because of the question mark.

  4. Ask children to suggest other things the boy might do during the day and the time at which he would do them.

  5. Let volunteers tell about some of the things they do when not in school and, if possible, at what time they do the activities.

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

  1. This is a time for assessment. While children are reading, watch what they 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
Starting with the title page, have children look at the pictures and tell the story of the boy’s day in their own words. Encourage them to expand the story beyond the text and to include the time at which each activity occurs. Record children’s retelling on chart paper. Then reread the story with children several times, pointing to each word as you read.

Read aloud the story Telling Time with Big Mama Cat by Dan Harper, about a cat’s busy schedule of napping, stretching, eating, and waiting. Clocks showing the times noted in the text are clearly visible on every page.

Children may make their own clocks. Give each child a paper plate on which the numerals 1 through 12 have been written around the edge, or let children write the numerals themselves using the classroom clock as a guide. Then give each child two construction paper arrows of different lengths and help them attach the arrows to the center with a paper (brad) fastener. Children may wish to decorate their clocks using markers and/or crayons.

Have children use their clocks to practice telling time. Start with the hours, then progress to half hours and quarter hours as children begin to understand the concept of telling time. When children can skip count by fives, you may also wish to begin working with telling time at five-minute intervals.

Ask children if they have noticed the clock on the microwave oven at home. Tell them that kind of clock is called a digital clock and the time is shown just with numbers. On the chalkboard, draw a column of four digital clocks (simple rectangles) with four different times. To the right, draw a column of four traditional clock faces with the same times in a different order. Have children match up the digital clocks and the traditional clocks with the same times. Repeat with different sets of times.

Draw a food rainbow on the board with colored chalk or on chart paper with colored crayons or markers (see Can You Eat a Rainbow?). Then revisit the pictures on pages 5, 9, and 15. Ask children to name the foods they see and tell you where they belong on the rainbow. Write the name of each food on the appropriate color of the rainbow. Then let children name other foods they sometimes eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and add those to the rainbow. Talk about which are the healthiest foods and which should be eaten less often.

Social Studies
Give children a set of ten cards showing different activities that would likely occur at different times during the day, such as waking up, playing a sport, watching fireworks, going fishing, and so on. On another set of ten cards, show clocks with different times. Let children decide when each activity might occur and find a clock that shows the time.

Have children write stories about their favorite time of day. They may also wish to decorate their stories with a clock showing the time they have chosen.

¿Qué hora es?

Guided Reading: B
Intervention: 2

16 Pages
65 Words

The Spanish edition also uses two patterned sentences and familiar words: hora, despertarse, desayunar, escuela, almorzar, casa, jugar, cenar, dormir. Because many children speak dialects or may mix Spanish and English, you may need to 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 concepts or words in the story, see the article "Guided Reading with Emergent Readers" for suggestions.

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About This Title

Guided Reading:




Interest Level:

Grades PreK - K

Reading Level:

Grades PreK - K


Comparing/Classifying/Measuring, Nature/Science, Time/Days Of The Week, Home, Childhood Experiences and Memories, African/African American Interest, Beginning Concepts


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

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