Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog

Pairing Leveled Books in a Thematic Unit on Farms

By Paula Dugger, M. Ed., Guest Blogger

If you're planning a thematic unit to teach kids about farms, you can engage kids with a wide range of leveled books in your guided reading lessons. In today's blog post, I'll explain which informational texts at levels C–G that you can pair with narrative texts I mentioned in Reading Comprehension Strategies and Narrative Texts About Farms . Keep reading to find out how you can help kids have fun learning about farms with animal books for kids and fun nonfiction books.

Hilda Hen is a narrative text that is helpful for kids who are learning to count from one to five. Below is a list of nonfiction books that you can pair with the fictional leveled reader to practice specific language skills.

  • Chicken is a level D guided reading book from the Zoozoo Animal World Farm Set that provides interesting facts in a simple sentence structure about this familiar farm animal. Some students may know that hens are female or mother chickens, and they can learn more details about chickens with this book. You can download the Teacher’s Guide and go to page 15 to help students understand action verbs and consonant digraphs.
  • Where Does it Come From? is a great level D book from the Kaleidoscope Collection that teaches kids about foods that are produced on farms, including eggs from chickens. Reading comprehension will improve when students make real-world connections to foods grown on farms and Hilda Hen and Chicken . After downloading the Teacher's Guide , you can use page 175 to help kids understand the plural form of words using -s as well as noun and verb agreement.

A second fiction book for kids mentioned in the first part of this blog was Hay! , which is a level D narrative text. This book is about a trick that a farmer uses with his tractor to rein in his farm animals. The following list of informational leveled books includes ways you can build students' background knowledge and develop specific skills after reading Hay! .

  • Horse is another level C guided reading book from the Zoozoo Animal World Farm Set that uses a variety of actions that horses can do. After downloading the Teacher’s Guide , you can use page 35 for ideas to help students practice r -controlled vowels and learn about capitalization and punctuation.
  • Sheep is a level D nonfiction animal book from the Zoozoo Animal World Farm Set that explains how sheep spend their time together. You can use page 65 in the Teacher’s Guide to help students understand how an action word is used to show what the subject is doing. This page also provides guidance on teaching kids about vowel digraphs.
  • Pig is another level D nonfiction book from the Zoozoo Animal World Farm Set that helps kids learn the difference between this and these . After downloading the Teacher’s Guide , go to page 49 to help students understand that nouns name a person, place, thing, or an idea.
  • Longhorn is a level D guided reading book about a specific breed of cattle from the Kaleidoscope Collection . The way that their horns stand out from other types of cattle will fascinate students. If you go to page 98 in the Teacher's Guide , you'll find great ways to help students strengthen their understanding of the long vowel sound of the letter y .

The last fiction book that I mentioned in Reading Comprehension Strategies and Narrative Texts About Farms was The Farmer and the Groundhog . This story features a pesky groundhog that causes problems for a farmer and his crops, which can lead to interesting discussions about things that are grown on farms for food. The next two nonfiction books for kids about crops are good selections to pair with the narrative text to build reading comprehension and word skills:

  • Potatoes is a level E book that teaches students about how potatoes are planted and grown on farms. You can facilitate a discussion about potatoes to other foods that kids are familiar to increase comprehension of this text. You can also go to page 124 in the Teacher's Guide for ideas to help students understand consonant diagraphs as well as past and present verb tenses.
  • Corn is a level D informational book that gives readers facts about how corn goes from the farm to our plates. Once again, when readers can link this farm crop to other foods they love, you'll notice an increase in comprehension. Go to page 35 in the Teacher's Guide to find more ideas to help kids with reading comprehension practice, r -controlled vowels, and verbs.

Readers learn best when they can link something new to their prior knowledge. As stated at the beginning of this blog, learning through thematic units can be powerful for students especially when they have leveled narrative and informational books available to read. A mixture of both text types is important for students who need to practice reading.

Don’t forget to visit our blog soon for more lesson ideas and teaching tips!

Paula is an educational consultant who has previously served as a Reading Recovery Teacher/Teacher Leader, first grade teacher, Title I and high school reading teacher, and a Reading Coordinator. If you like what you read here, you can enjoy  more from Paula on our blog .