Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog

Questions That Prompt Real-World Connections [First Grade]

By Dr. Geraldine Haggard, Reading Recovery Teacher Leader, Guest Blogger

Theme sets of leveled books provide excellent opportunities for you to help kids achieve standards across more than one content area. The integration of paired fiction and nonfiction books for kids makes it possible for all first graders to improve vocabulary and explore content-area concepts in guided and shared reading. In today's blog post, I'll explain how you can use questions with a level I theme set of paired texts to help kids practice standards in multiple content areas.

Hints for Meeting the Needs of All Students

The time needed for some of the ideas mentioned in today's blog post will probably be more than one day. When shared reading is done with each of the books, students reading at a lower guided reading level will also need a fifteen- to twenty-minute block of time for guided reading. Students reading on and above level can also read books from the classroom library or school library about homes during independent reading.

Where Would You Like to Live? is an informational text that pairs with the narrative text Three Little Pigs . You can use this book in a read-aloud or shared reading within the following contexts:

Science:  Discuss the special needs of living things.
Social Studies:  Explore basic needs for living at home; use of information from pictures, practice problem-solving skills.
Language Arts:  Practice compound words; draw and write about students' homes for a classroom library book; introduce to new vocabulary; discuss suggested questions in the free teacher's guide .
Suggested Discussion Questions: Why do living things need homes? How is your home different? What is special about your home?

Our New House is the second book that pairs with Three Little Pigs . You can read this leveled book to students and then encourage students to the second reading.

Science: Review how needs are met for us in our homes throughout different seasons.
Social Studies:  Distinguish the roles of community helpers who make our homes possible; highlight the importance of construction workers.
Language Arts:  Have students use journals to list workers who made their homes possible; encourage students to write sentences to describe how homes help them during the winter.
Suggested Discussion Questions: How did we get our homes? What community helpers made our homes possible? How are our homes special?

All About Pigs is the third informational text that corresponds with Three Little Pigs . It's an interesting book that helps kids improve vocabulary with the help of engaging nonfiction text features.

Science:  Identify the special needs of animals.
Social Studies:  Highlight community helpers that can be found on the farm.
Language Arts:  Compare and contrast fictional characters to information presented in this nonfiction book; use a Venn diagram on the board as students share how the two kinds of living beings are the same and different.
Suggested Discussion Questions:  How are human homes and homes of pigs different? Our parents care for us and see that our needs are met; who does this for pigs?

Three Little Pigs is the narrative text in the theme set that includes the three informational texts described in this post. You can use this book to prompt real-world connections and practice the following content areas and use the list of suggested discussion questions.

Science: Needs of living things like a wolf and a pig.
Social Studies:  Needs of a family.
Language Arts:  Practice reading fluency with expression; help kids recognize elements of a fairy tale and compare to other versions of the story.
Suggested Discussion Questions: How are the traditional tale and the other three books different? Which animal caused danger for the three pigs? Is there anything in this story that could not really happen? What does the book say about the importance of homes? Are there things in the story that might threaten your home? What is different about the family of the pigs and your family?

I hope these ideas are helpful for your students and I'm sure that children will enjoy these engaging books. Please be sure to visit our blog again for more ideas that you can use to help your students!

Dr. Geraldine Haggard is a retired teacher, Reading Recovery teacher leader, author, and university teacher. She spent thirty-seven years in the Plano, TX school system. She currently tutors, chairs a committee that gifts books to low-income students, and serves as a facilitator in a program for grieving children. If you like what you read here, you can enjoy more from Dr. Haggard elsewhere on our blog .