I Fly Hot-Air Balloons
Level K

About the Book 

Text Type: Nonfiction/Interview
Page Count: 16
Word Count: 419

Book Summary
Have you ever seen beautiful hot-air balloons floating through the sky? Did you ever wonder how they fly or how the big balloons are steered? Learn the answers to these questions and many more in an interview format with balloonist Dan Saul. Sidebars provide more information for the reader. Photographs support the text.

About the Lesson

Targeted Reading Strategy

  • Summarize


  • Use the reading strategy of summarizing to understand the text
  • Identify main idea and details
  • Discriminate variant vowel /oo/
  • Identify and use adjectives
  • Practice alphabetizing


  • Book -- I Fly Hot-Air Balloons (copy for each student)
  • Chalkboard or dry erase board
  • Main idea and details, variant /oo/ vowel, adjectives worksheets
  • Discussion cards

      Indicates an opportunity for students to mark in the book. (All activities may be demonstrated by projecting book on interactive whiteboard or completed with paper and pencil if books are reused.)


  • Content words: fuel, nylon, oxygen, satellites, scenery

Before Reading 

Build Background

  • Ask students whether they have ever seen hot-air balloons in the sky. Discuss where and when students have seen them.
  • Ask students whether they have questions about hot-air balloons. Discuss the fact that one way to find out the answers to questions is to do an interview. Explain that an interview involves asking a person questions about a topic he or she knows a lot about, and then recording the questions and answers for others to read.
  • Together with students, write down questions they would ask about hot-air balloons.

Book Walk

Introduce the Book

  • Show students the front and back covers of the book and read the title with them. Have students discuss what they see on the covers. Encourage them to offer ideas as to what type of book it is and what it might be about.
  • Show students the title page. Discuss the information on the page (title of book, author's name).

Introduce the Reading Strategy: Summarize

  • Explain to students that a tool readers use to understand and remember what they read is to summarize in their mind as they read. Explain that a summary consists of the main idea or ideas and does not include all of the little details.
  • Help students understand how to summarize by explaining that a summary does not include all the information they read in the book. Students must decide what information in the book is most important to know and remember.
  • Model how to summarize information in a book.
    Think-aloud: As I read this book, I am going to look at the illustrations and think about the answers to the questions I have read. I will stop at the end of the first two pages and ask myself what information was the most important in that section. To do this, I can identify the main idea of the section and look for important details. When I create a summary in my mind, I will put the ideas together in my own words. I will do that after every couple of pages or so.
  • Read page 4 together. To provide an example of a summary, say: The sport of flying hot-air balloons is fun and beautiful. Since 1979, Dan Saul has been flying hot-air balloons. This is important information for me to know and remember as I continue to read the book.
  • 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 Comprehension Skill: Main idea and details

  • Explain to students that sometimes the amount of information about a topic is so large that it is grouped into sections. Each section has its own main idea, and the information within each section contains details that describe, explain, or clarify the main idea.
  • Explain to students that when reading a book, readers can do things to help them understand what they read. One way to remember new information is to think or take notes about the details in each section. Remind students that details tell specific information about the main idea.
  • Read page 5 with students. Introduce and model the skill of identifying the main idea and details.
    Think-aloud: I know the section headings help to identify the main idea, and each section has details to explain and describe the main idea. I see the first section is called "The Balloon." When I read the question the interviewer asked on page 5, I know the answer will provide details about the main idea of the balloon.
  • Write the main idea The Balloon on the board. As a group, record the details of this section: How does a balloon fly? It is full of hot air that rises. The air inside the balloon is heated by large burners.

Introduce the Vocabulary

  • While previewing the book, ask students to talk about what they see in the photographs and use the vocabulary they will encounter in the text. Point out that all of the words that appear in bold print can be found in the glossary at the back of the book.
  • Reinforce new vocabulary by incorporating it into the discussion of the photographs. Use as much language from the text as possible. For example, on page 3 you might say: This book is based on an interview with Dan Saul. He has been flying hot-air balloons since 1979. Flying hot-air balloons is a fun and beautiful sport. Ask: Who are we going to learn about today? Continue by having students repeat the language you used. On page 6, you might say: Have you ever heard of nylon? Say it with me. Repeating the book language will support readers when they come to difficult parts of the text.
  • For additional tips on teaching word-attack strategies, click here.

Set the Purpose

  • Have students read the book to learn more about hot-air balloons. Remind them to stop and summarize as they read to help them remember important information from the book.

During Reading 

Student Reading

  • Guide the reading: Give students their copy of the book and have them put a sticky note on page 8. Have them read to the end of this page. Remind them to summarize in their mind as they read about hot-air balloons. Have students reread the pages if they finish before everyone else.
  • When they have finished reading, ask students what words they had trouble with. Ask if they summarized the sections as they read, and have them tell how this activity helped them understand the information they read.
  • Think-aloud: As I read page 7, I was thinking about what I was reading and summarizing in my mind. I thought about the most important information to remember. I thought one of the most important things to know about the basket was that it carries fuel tanks, tools, and people. When I read on page 7 that there are no chairs or bathrooms, I thought this would be important information to know before riding in a hot-air balloon.
  • Check for understanding: Have students share some of the things they thought about as they read the information on the pages so far. Select volunteers to share summaries they created in their mind as they read the text.
  • Have students read the remainder of the book. Encourage them to summarize the sections as they read. Remind them to also look for details relating to the main idea of each section of the book. Remind them that noting the details will help them to remember and better understand what they read.

      Have students make a question mark in their book beside any word they do not understand or cannot pronounce. Encourage them to use the strategies they have learned to read each word and figure out its meaning.

After Reading 

  • Ask students what words, if any, they marked in their book. Use this opportunity to model how they can read these words using decoding strategies and context clues.

Reflect on the Reading Strategy

  • Have students share important information they summarized while reading. Reinforce that using this strategy as they read helps them make meaning from text and stay involved in the reading process.
  • Think aloud: When I came to the section titled "Adventure," the text box helped me summarize the facts about hot-air balloon festivals. I understood how beautiful it must be to see all those balloons floating slowly across the sky at once!
  • Have students share some of the details they remembered as they read.

Reflect on the Comprehension Skill

  • Discussion: Remind students that one way to better understand and remember new information is to think or take notes about the details related to the main idea or main ideas in a book. Have students choose a partner and discuss the main idea and supporting details on page 8. Have each pair share with the group what they thought the main idea and supporting details were on the page.
  • Independent practice: Introduce, explain, and have students complete the main idea and details worksheet. Have them list one of the main ideas and supporting details from pages 5 and 6 in the first two boxes. Check to make sure all students understand the worksheet instructions. Then have them use the worksheet to record details and main ideas from other sections of the book.
  • Enduring understanding: In the story, the author interviewed an expert on hot-air balloons. The expert said that flying hot-air balloons is a safe sport, but he must check the weather before flying. He also mentioned several types of equipment taken on flights to check the wind and temperature. Balloonists must plan carefully before taking off in hot-air balloons. Now that you know this information, why would it be important to plan carefully before taking any type of trip?

Build Skills 

Phonics: Variant vowel /oo/

  • Ask students to listen carefully as you say words that contain the /oo/ sound (balloon, zoom, soon). Stretch the words out as you say them and then have students repeat the words. Ask students what letters they think make the sound in the middle of these words.
  • Write the words balloon, too, and baboon on the board and say them aloud with students. Have a volunteer come to the board to circle the letters that make the vowel sound (oo). Ask students to identify what all of the words have in common (oo). Have students brainstorm other words that fit the same pattern. Write them on the board.

      Have students turn to page 5 and highlight or circle the words that contain the /oo/ sound. Write the words on the board. Have students go through the book and find other words with the /oo/ sound.

  • Independent practice: Introduce, explain, and have students complete the variant vowel /oo/ worksheet. If time allows, discuss their answers.

Grammar and Mechanics: Adjectives

  • Review or explain that adjectives are words that describe nouns or pronouns. An adjective tells which one, how many, or what kind.
  • Write the following sentences on the board. Ask students to locate the adjectives in each sentence.
    Flying hot-air balloons is a fun and beautiful sport.
    The baskets carry three to five people.
    My first flight was so much fun.
  • Have individual students come to the board and underline the adjectives in each sentence (fun, beautiful, three, five, first, and much). Then have different volunteers circle the noun that each adjective describes (sport, people, flight, and fun). Discuss how sometimes writers use two or three adjectives to describe one noun (for example, fun and beautiful both describe sport).
  • Point to the circled adjectives in the first sentence (fun and beautiful). Ask students to determine whether the adjectives are telling which one, how many, or what kind (they describe what kind of sport). Repeat the exercise with the other two sentences.

      Check for understanding: Have students work with a partner to locate all of the adjectives in the first section and underline them. Discuss the results as a group and make a chart on the board with the following headings: Which One?, What Kind?, How Many? List each adjective and the noun it describes under each heading.

  • Independent practice: Introduce, explain, and have students complete the adjectives worksheet. If time allows, discuss their responses.

Word Work: Alphabetizing

  • Remind students that alphabetical order is a tool people use for organizing a list of information. Write the words sport and balloon on the board. Underline the first letter of each word and ask students to tell which comes first in the alphabet, s or b. Tell them that the words, if listed in alphabetical order, would be balloon and sport.
  • Write the words sport, tanks, and tools on the board. Underline the first letter of each word and ask students to identify the letters (s, t). Lead students to notice that two of the words begin with the same letter. Explain that when alphabetizing words that begin with the same letter, the second letter is used to determine in which order the words come if placed in alphabetical order. Underline the second letter in the words tanks and tools (a, o). Ask students which of the two words come first in alphabetical order and to then put all three in the correct order (sport, tanks, tools).
  • Check for understanding: Write the following words on the board: nylon, satellites, scenery, weather, oxygen, temperature, and pilot. Have volunteers come to the board and number them in alphabetical order.

Build Fluency 

Independent Reading

  • Allow students to read their book independently. Additionally, partners can take turns reading parts of the book to each other.

Home Connection

  • Give students their book to take home to read with parents, caregivers, siblings, or friends. Have students retell the events of the book to someone at home. Remind them to locate the main idea and important details. Have them use these to write a summary with someone at home.

Extend the Reading 

Interview Writing Connection
Pair two students with another teacher in the school. Have students make a list of interview questions and work with the teachers to set up interview times. Once an interview is complete, have students write a paper in the same format as in the book. Allow students to share information from their interview with the class.

Visit Writing A-Z for a lesson and leveled materials on transactional writing.

Social Studies Connection
Discuss the sport of hot-air ballooning and reasons people might want to do it. Make a list of the equipment needed to fly hot-air balloons. Discuss other sports and together make a list of them. Provide books, magazines, and Internet resources about these sports. Have groups of students research the equipment needed and reasons people might want to participate in these sports.

Skill Review
Discussion cards covering comprehension skills and strategies not explicitly taught with the book are provided as an extension activity. The following is a list of some ways these cards can be used with students:

  • Use as discussion starters for literature circles.
  • Have students choose one or more card and write a response, either as an essay or a journal entry.
  • Distribute before reading the book and have students use one of the questions as a purpose for reading.
  • Cut apart and use the cards as game cards with a board game.
  • Conduct a class discussion as a review before the book quiz.


Monitor students to determine if they can:

  • accurately and consistently summarize during discussion to understand text
  • accurately identify main idea and details during discussion and on a worksheet
  • identify and write the letter symbol that stands for the variant vowel /oo/ sound during discussion and on a worksheet
  • accurately identify and understand the use of adjectives during discussion and on a worksheet
  • accurately alphabetize words during discussion

Comprehension Checks

Go to "I Fly Hot-Air Balloons" main page

© Learning A-Z, Inc.  All rights reserved.