"I have always imagined that Paradise will be some kind of library." ~ Jorge Luis Borges

Thursday, March 12, 2015

How To Read A Story

Written by Kate Messner 
Illustrated by Mark Siegel

Step One: Find a story. (A good one.)
Step Two: Find a reading buddy. (Someone nice.)
Step Three: Find a reading spot. (Couches are cozy.)
Now: Begin.

I decided to use this book as a mentor text for the "How To" books the students have to write for their ELA units.

We began the unit by activating prior knowledge about How To books and about reading a story. First, we jogged their memories about the How To books they wrote in first grade. Second, they each got a pad of paper and with step one up on the screen added the steps required for reading a story. 

We then brainstormed, as whole group, the steps required to read a story. Students added ideas before and after those already on the screen, it was interesting to watch them think forward and backward in the process. Here are the whole group brainstorm steps from each of the classes:

2T: How to Read a Story

Step 1: Ask a friend for a recommendation

Step 2: Ask a teacher for help

Step 3: Find a story

Step 4: Read the blurb on the flap or on the back

Step 5: Look through the book/picture walk

Step Six: decide if you like the book

Step 7: Read part of the book

Step 8: Think about the book

Step 9: Stop and think about what is happening

Step 10: Sound out words you don’t know

Step 11: Look at pictures for clues

Step 12: Make a prediction about the story

Step 13: Think about what a character should sound like

Step 14: Wonder about the book

Step 15: Watch out for mistakes

Step 16: See if the story makes sense – check for comprehension

Step 17: Imagine what the setting and characters look like

2J: How to Read a Story

Step 1: Find a book

Step 2: Find a reading buddy

Step 3: Take a picture walk

Step 4: Read the title and author/illustrator and look at the picture

Step 5: Read the summary on the flap or back

Step 6: Find a quiet place where nothing can distract you

Step 7: Dig into the story and take notice of the plot

Step 8: Try to read the book, if you need help ask your friends

Step 9: If you come across a hard word, skip it, and come back to it

Step 10: Try strategies to figure out a word, Does it look right, does it sound right, does it make sense.

Step 11: Read the pages

Step 12: Take serious notes

Step 13: Focus on your reading

Step 14: Do what the book says

Step 15: Compare the characters and settings

Step 16: Take a break if you need it

Step 17: If people are loud, ask them nicely to be quiet

Step 18: Read until you fall asleep

Step 19: At the end of the book, think about whether you liked it or not

2R -How to Read a Story

Step 1: Learn how to read

Step 2: Explore the library

Step 3: Find a book that interests you

Step 4: Find a cozy spot to read

Step 5: Make sure it is fit for your level

Step 6: Open the book to the first page

Step 7: Scan the pictures

Step 8: Read the first page

Step 9: Look at the table of contents

Step 10: Read all the pages

Step 11: Make sure to thank your friend for reading with you

Step 12: Repeat Steps 1-… again

Step 13: Read another book, maybe by the same author

2C - How to Read a Story

Step 1: Go to the library

Step 2: Find a Book

Step 3: Get the book from a bookshelf

Step 4: Read the title

Step 5: Read the description on the flap/back

Step 6: Read the table of contents, if it has one

Step 7: Take the plastic off the book

Step 8: Open the cover

Step 9: Check it out

Step 10: Find a comfortable place to sit

Step 11: Begin to read

Step 12: Read with enthusiasm and expression

Step 13: Enjoy the adventure

Step 14: If you liked the book, suggest it to a friend

After the whole group activity, I showed the students the book and explained that we would read it the next class and compare and contrast the steps to reading a story.  

The week after that, we'll fine tune our steps. The students will each get one of the steps in the How To book from their class and write and illustrate that page. Eventually, the pages will be put it together as a class book.

This is going to be fun!


  1. How did you get your hands on this book already since it isn't released til May 5th? Do you have connections?

  2. I was able to get my hands on a copy. :)