Birthday Party
Level C

About the Book

Text Type: Fiction/Realistic
Page Count: 10
Word Count: 73

Book Summary
Two children must go shopping and gather all the things they'll need for the party. But their hard work pays off in the end. Repeated text patterns support the introduction of new vocabulary.

About the Lesson

Targeted Reading Strategy

  • Connect to prior knowledge


  • Use the strategy of connecting to prior knowledge to make sense of text
  • Sequence story events
  • Identify and produce rhyme
  • Associate the letter Ee with the short vowel sound /e/
  • Recognize pronouns
  • Categorize words


  • Book -- Birthday Party (copy for each student)
  • Chalkboard or dry erase board
  • Sequence events, rhyme worksheets
  • Word journal (optional)

Indicates an opportunity for student to mark in the book. (All activities may be completed with paper and pencil if books are reusable.)


  • High-frequency words: the, we
  • Content words: birthday, party, balloon, bakery

Before Reading

Build Background

  • Ask students to tell about birthday parties they have been to. Ask what they do, what they eat, what kinds of games they play, and what is used to decorate the party room.
  • Have students tell the things they would do to get ready for a party they were having.

Book Walk

Introduce the Book
  • Show students the front and back covers of the book and read the title with them. Ask what they might read about in a book called Birthday Party. (Accept any answers students can justify.) Ask students what the children are doing. Ask them whether they have been to a party where there were balloons.
  • Show students the title page. Discuss the information on the page (title of book, author's name, illustrator's name).
Introduce the Reading Strategy: Connect to prior knowledge
  • Explain that good readers make connections between what they already know and new information they read. Remind students that thinking about what they already know about the topic of the book will help them understand what they read.
  • Model making connections to prior knowledge.
    Think-aloud: When I look at the front cover, it reminds me of birthday parties I have been to before. I know people like to decorate with balloons. Sometimes streamers are hung from the ceiling. I expect that some of the things I will read about in this book will be things I have seen at a party before. I will remember what I know about birthdays to help me read the book.
  • Have students preview the covers and title page of the book. Invite them to share how they connected to something they already know.
  • As students read, encourage them to use other reading strategies in addition to the targeted strategy presented in this section. For tips on additional reading strategies, click here.
Introduce the Vocabulary
  • Use the book walk as an opportunity to introduce unfamiliar vocabulary to students and to model language patterns. For example, on page 3, ask: Where do you think the children are going? I wonder whether they are going shopping. On page 4, ask students what they see in the picture and where they think the children are going now. Say: I see some shops. I think they are going to get a card at the card shop. What do you think?
  • As vocabulary words are mentioned, have students point to the corresponding word to help them make the picture/word connection. For example, ask: Which word on this page do you think says card? How do you know it says card and not car?
  • Encourage students to add the new vocabulary words to their word journals.
  • For additional tips on teaching high-frequency words or word-attack strategies, click here.

Set the Purpose

  • Have students think about birthday parties they've been to and what they know about them. Explain that this will help them figure out what is happening in the book.

During Reading

Student Reading

  • Guide the reading: Give students their copy of the book. Have a volunteer point to the first word on page 3. Read the word together (We). Point to where to begin reading on each page. Remind students to read words from left to right. Point to each word as you read it aloud while students follow along in their own book.
  • Ask students to place a finger on the page number in the bottom corner of the page. Have them read to the end of page 5, using their finger to point to each word as they read. Encourage students who finish before others to reread the text.
  • Model making connections to prior knowledge.
    Think-aloud: When I read page 6, I looked at the picture and saw lots of round objects. They looked like cakes. I know that people often have a cake with candles at their birthday. Then they blow out the candles while making a wish. This information helped me figure out the word cake.
  • Ask students what things in the book are familiar to them already. Talk about how this helps them understand what is happening in the story. Ask whether their prior knowledge has helped them read any new words.
  • Have students read the remainder of the story. Remind them to think about what they already know about birthdays as they read.

Have students make a small question mark in their book beside any word they do not understand or cannot pronounce. These can be addressed in the discussion that follows.

After Reading

Reflect on the Reading Strategy

  • Ask students what words, if any, they marked in their book. Use this opportunity to model how to read these words using decoding strategies and context clues.
  • Discuss how using what they already know about birthday parties and getting ready for a party helped them understand what they read. Invite students to share additional examples of how they connected to prior knowledge.
  • Think-aloud: When I looked at the picture on page 8, I thought about what someone would bring to a birthday party. I saw a truck on the page. I knew that people often bring a present for the birthday boy or girl. Children often bring toys as presents. Using what I already know about birthday parties I've given or had helped me understand what the book was about. I wanted to read it to find out what kinds of things the boy and girl were getting for the birthday party.
  • Discuss additional strategies students used to gain meaning from the book.

Teach the Comprehension Skill: Sequence events

  • Discussion: Ask students what part of the story they liked best and why.
  • Introduce and model the skill: Tell students that a story is a series of events that happen in a particular order. First one thing happens, then something else, and so on. Explain that the order in which events happen is called the sequence. Point out the sequence in this story.
  • Think-aloud: In this story, the girl and boy went shopping to get ready for the party. First, they got a card. Next, they got balloons.
  • Check for understanding: Ask students to tell you the next thing the children got.
  • Independent practice: Introduce, explain, and have students complete the sequence events worksheet. If time allows, discuss their responses.

Extend the discussion: Instruct students to use the last page of their book to draw a picture of something they would get for a birthday party. Ask students to share their pictures with the group.

Build Skills

Phonological Awareness: Discriminate rhyme

  • Say the words shop and pop. Tell students that the words rhyme because they end with the same sound: /op/. Ask students to name some words that rhyme with shop and pop (example words: top, stop, bop, drop, crop, slop, and so on).
  • Repeat with the words get and bet.
  • Independent practice: Introduce, explain, and have students complete the rhyme worksheet. Name the pictures with them: cap, hive, bat, rope, dog, sled, king, key, map, five, cat, soap, frog, bed, ring, and bee.
  • If time allows, pair students and have them play Concentration with the picture cards. Have them spread a set of cards face down on the desk. One student turns over two cards and says the picture names. If the cards rhyme, the student keeps the cards and takes another turn. If not, the student turns the cards back over and it is the other student's turn.

Phonics: Short /e/

  • Have students turn to page 4 and put their finger on the word get. Ask them what sound they hear in the middle of the word. Have them put their finger on the letter in the word get that stands for the /e/ sound.
  • Tell students they are going to read some words with the short /e/ vowel sound. Write the following words on the board: set, met, pen, hen, red, bed. Have students follow along as you sound out each word while running your finger under each letter in the word. Have volunteers circle the letter in each word that stands for the short /e/ vowel sound.

Grammar and Mechanics: Pronouns

  • Tell students to look at page 3 of the book. Ask students to tell whom the word we is referring to (the kids in the car). Ask four students to come to the front of the room. Using their names, say (Name), (Name), (Name), and (Name) are going shopping. Then have the four students choral read the sentence from the book. Explain that the little word we stands for the two children in the car and for all four students in the front of the room.
  • Ask one student to sit down. Again, use the students' names, and repeat the above procedure. Ask another student to sit down. Repeat the process for two students.
  • Ask one of the two students to sit down. Ask the group how the sentence should be read if there is only one student left. Have the student who is standing repeat: I go shopping.
  • Ask another student to come up and join the student already standing. Ask the rest of the group how they would tell someone about what these two students are doing. Model the sentence: They go shopping. Tell students that the word they stands for both students.
  • Have one of the students sit down and repeat with the pronoun he or she.

  Instruct students to go back to their books and underline all of the pronouns that stand for the children's names.

Word Work: Categorize words

  • Ask students what all of the words in the book were about (things for a birthday party). Review the naming words (card, balloons, cake, ice cream, toy, games). Tell students that these words can be put into a group called Things for a Birthday Party.
  • Tell students that other words can also be put into groups. Explain that you want to make a group of words that name games. Have students brainstorm games they know. Then have students refer to the list of games as they sort the games into those that are suitable for an indoor birthday party and those that are not.

Build Fluency

Independent Reading

  • Allow students to read their book independently or with a partner. Additionally, partners can take turns reading parts of the book.

Home Connection

  • Give students their book to take home to read with parents, caregivers, siblings, or friends.

Extend the Reading

Writing Connection
Write the sentence We go to the _____. on the board. Ask students to name the place they would go to get things for a birthday party. Ask students to choose one place, write the sentence, and illustrate it. Display these on a bulletin board titled We Go.

    Social Studies Connection
    Make a simple map of the places students would go to purchase items for a birthday party in the town in which you live. Ask the students to work together to make word or picture labels for the map.


      Monitor students to determine if they can:

      • consistently use prior knowledge as they read the book
      • accurately sequence events by listing them in order during discussion and on a worksheet
      • correctly name words that rhyme with pairs of spoken words during discussion and on a worksheet
      • read words with the short /e/ vowel sound during discussion
      • use pronouns correctly during discussion
      • categorize words associated with parties during discussion

      Comprehension Checks

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