How To Make Ice Cream
Level L

About the Book 

Text Type: Nonfiction/How-To
Page Count: 16
Word Count: 518

Book Summary
There's nothing like cool, tasty ice cream on a hot day! But what can you do when the ice cream truck comes by and you don't have any money? Don't worry, you can make your own ice cream, and this book will tell you how. Follow the list of ingredients and the five easy steps, and soon you will be eating your own homemade ice cream!

About the Lesson

Targeted Reading Strategy

  • Visualize


  • Use the reading strategy of visualizing to understand text
  • Sequence events in the text
  • Identify and read long /e/ vowel digraph
  • Identify and use commas after introductory words
  • Identify common synonyms


  • Book -- How to Make Ice Cream (copy for each student)
  • Chalkboard or dry erase board
  • Dictionaries
  • Visualize/sequence, long /e/ vowel digraph, synonyms 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: creation, ingredients, mixture, remember, toppings, vanilla

Before Reading 

Build Background

  • Create a large word web on the board with the words Ice Cream in the center. Ask students to share what they already know about ice cream, as well as the words they would use to describe it. Record their responses on the spokes of the web. Then show them the cover of the book. Ask them if they ever think about the ingredients in ice cream. Tell them this is one interesting piece of information they will learn in this book. Based on the title, ask students what else they think they might learn from this book.

Preview the Book

Introduce the Book

  • Give students their copy of the book. Guide them to the front and back covers and read the title. Have students discuss what they see on the covers. Encourage them to offer ideas as to what type of book it is (genre, text type, fiction or nonfiction, and so on) and what it might be about.
  • Show students the title page. Discuss the information on the page (title of book, author's name).
  • Preview the table of contents on page 3. Remind students that the table of contents provides an overview of what the book is about. Ask students what they expect to read about in the book based on what they see in the table of contents. (Accept any answers students can justify.)

Introduce the Reading Strategy: Visualize

  • Explain that good readers often visualize, or make pictures in their mind, as they read. Readers often use what they already know about a topic to make the pictures in their mind.
  • Read page 4 aloud to students. Model how to visualize.
    Think-aloud: When I read a book, I pause after a few pages or after reading a description of something to create a picture in my mind of the information I've just read. This helps me understand and enjoy reading the information in the book. For example, when I read about the ice cream truck, its music, and the sweet taste of ice cream on a hot summer day, I pictured myself standing at the truck and holding my delicious ice cream. I can almost taste it.
  • Have students turn to the table of contents. Read the section headings together. Explain to students that you will be showing them how to stop and visualize what they have read as a strategy for understanding and remembering the content of the book. This is especially important when the text is giving them directions to follow.
  • 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: Sequence events

  • Review or explain to students that steps explaining how to do something are told in order from beginning to end.
  • Model sequencing the main steps of a familiar process, such as making a sandwich. Write key words about each event in order on the board as you describe them to students.
    Think-aloud: When I make something, I usually follow certain steps in a specific order. For example, when I make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I first take out the bread, peanut butter, and jelly. Next, I get a butter knife out of the drawer. Then, I use the knife to spread the peanut butter on one piece of bread and the jelly on the other piece of bread. Last, I put the pieces of bread together and eat the sandwich. This is my plan for how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Since I think this book is about how to make ice cream, I will think about the steps I will need to take in order to make ice cream and the sequence in which the steps must happen. As I read, I will look for words that describe these steps.
  • Explain to students that certain words are often used to explain a sequence of events. Read the list of events for making a sandwich on the board to students in order, using words such as first, second, next, then, and last.
  • Have a volunteer use the key words on the board to sequence the events out of order. Ask students to explain why the order of the steps is important (the process does not make sense if it's out of order). Discuss with students that a process for doing something makes sense only if the events are in the correct order.

Introduce the Vocabulary

  • Write the content vocabulary words on the whiteboard or chart paper. Point out to students that all of the words are multisyllabic words--or have more than one syllable. Model how to break the words into syllable "chunks" for easier reading.
  • Remind students to look for clues to a word's meaning in the sentence that contains the unfamiliar word, as well as in sentences before and after. For example, point out the word ingredients on page 5 and 6. Read aloud the paragraph on page 5 and the list of ingredients on page 6. Then ask students to give a description or definition of ingredients in their own words.
  • Explain to students that sometimes they will not find any context clues that define an unfamiliar word. Model how students can use the glossary or a dictionary to locate a word's meaning. Have a volunteer read the definition for ingredients in the glossary. Compare the glossary definition to the students' definitions.
  • Have students locate other content vocabulary words in the glossary and text. Read and discuss their definitions as a class.
  • For tips on teaching word-attack strategies, click here.

Set the Purpose

  • Have students read to find out how to make ice cream. Remind them to stop after every few pages to visualize the sequence of the steps to making ice cream.

During Reading 

Student Reading

  • Guide the reading: Have students read to the end of page 7. Encourage those who finish early to go back and reread.
  • Use this section to model visualizing.
    Think-aloud: Whenever I am following a recipe at home, I lay out all the ingredients. Then I read each sentence and follow the directions. Since I do not have all the ingredients in front of me, I have to "walk through" the directions in my mind. When I read page 7, I visualized the plastic bag, ice cubes, and rock salt. I "put them to one side" in my mind. Then I did the same thing with the smaller plastic bag, half and half, vanilla extract, and white sugar.
  • Have students close their eyes and mentally "walk through" moving the items into groups as you reread page 7 aloud.
  • Ask students to read Step 2 on page 8. Repeat the visualizing process. You might ask a volunteer to read the page aloud as you and the rest of the students close your eyes and mentally "walk through" the directions.
  • Tell students that visualizing the directions in Steps 1 through 5 will help them remember the sequence of directions when they make ice cream. Explain that the correct sequence is very important when following a recipe--otherwise, your recipe may not turn out right!
  • Have students continue to visualize as they read the remainder of the book. If students finish early, they may go back and reread.
  • Introduce the visualize/sequence events worksheet. Read the instructions aloud and model how to sketch a picture and write a label for Step 1.
  • Check for understanding: Allow time for students to complete the worksheet. Encourage them to return to the text and reread each step before filling in the corresponding box on their worksheet. Monitor their progress and provide assistance as needed.

      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

  • Ask students to explain how the strategy of visualizing helped them understand the steps to making ice cream.
  • Think-aloud: When I read Step 4, I could imagine myself holding that bag and shaking it all around, perhaps even standing and dancing around a little. I could feel my arms getting tired and my hands getting cold!
  • Ask volunteers to share what part or step in the book they could "visualize" best in their mind.

Reflect on the Comprehension Skill

  • Discussion: Review with students the importance of following a recipe in the correct order. Ask them what might have happened to the ice cream if the steps had not been followed in the right sequence.
  • Independent practice: Have students share their completed visualize/sequence events worksheet. Provide time for them to compare their worksheet with a partner and check each other for accuracy.
  • Enduring understanding: In this book, you read about how to make ice cream at home. You completed a worksheet with all the important steps. Knowing this information, do you think it is always necessary to follow a recipe exactly as it is written, or are there times when a cook can make changes to a receipe?

Build Skills 

Phonics: Long /e/ vowel digraph

  • Write the word treat on the board and say it aloud with students.
  • Tell students that sometimes letters combine to stand for one sound. Reread the word treat as you run your finger under the letters in the word. Ask students to identify the two letters that represent the long /e/ vowel sound in the word treat.
  • Write the ea letter combination on the board. Have students practice writing the letter combination on a separate piece of paper while saying the sound the combination represents.
  • Repeat the process with the word sweet. Explain that ea and ee are two of the letter combinations that make the long /e/ sound.
  • Check for understanding: Draw or project a two-column chart on the board. Label the columns ea and ee. Ask students to search the book for words that have the long /e/ sound. Ask them to tell you which side of the chart to record each word on. Read the word aloud and test for the long /e/ sound.
  • Independent practice: Introduce, explain, and have students complete the long /e/ vowel digraph worksheet. If time allows, discuss their answers.
Grammar and Mechanics: Commas after introductory words
  • Write the following sentence on the board: "Now, open the gallon-size plastic bag. Ask a volunteer to come to the board and circle the comma. Explain that the word Now is an introductory word leading into the sentence and that the comma separates it from the rest of the thought.
  • Have students turn to page 9. Ask them to find the following sentence: Next, open the pint-size plastic bag. Ask a volunteer to identify the introductory word (Next) Discuss the location of the comma. Read the sentence aloud, emphasizing how the comma sets off the rest of the sentence.
  • Explain that certain words are used when writing a sequence of events. Write the words first, second, next, then, and last on the board. Tell students that these words help the reader know that there is an order to the writing. These words usually come at the beginning of the sentence and are usually followed by a comma.
  • Check for understanding: Write the following sentence on the board: Then seal the larger bag again. Have students turn to a neighbor and tell where the comma should be placed. Check individual answers for understanding.
  • Independent practice: Have student pairs search the rest of the text for one more example of a sentence with an introductory word set off by a comma (page 11, Yes, shake the whole bag.). Monitor their answers and if necessary, clarify the different uses of commas found in the text (such as commas used to separate items in a list: Try using chocolate syrup, sprinkles, candy, or butterscotch.").

Word Work: Synonyms

  • Direct students to page 11. Have them find and read the sentence in which the word cold is found. Ask students to identify other words that mean the same thing (chilly, freezing, and so on).
  • Explain that a word that has the same or a very similar meaning as another word is called a synonym. Point out that writers use synonyms to add variety and avoid using the same word over and over.
  • Check for understanding: Have students read the first sentence on page 5. Ask them to think of a synonym for the word sweet (sugary, tasty, delicious, and so on).
  • Independent practice: Introduce, explain, and have students complete the synonyms worksheet. Discuss answers aloud after they are finished.

Build Fluency 

Independent Reading

  • Allow students to read their book independently. Additionally, allow partners to 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 practice visualizing the steps to making ice cream with someone at home.

Extend the Reading 

How-To Writing Connection
Have students write the steps to making their favorite snack, such as microwave popcorn or macaroni and cheese. Make sure they use order words (first, next, then, last) to show correct sequence.

Visit Writing A–Z for a lesson and leveled materials on procedural writing.

Social Studies Connection
Supply books and links to Internet websites for students to learn more about the invention of ice cream. Have them find out when, where, and how ice cream was invented. Give student pairs paper and writing supplies to create a mini-presentation to share with classmates. If computers are available, allow students to design a presentation using an appropriate program.

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 cards 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:

  • consistently use the strategy of visualizing to comprehend the text during discussion and on a worksheet
  • accurately sequence events during discussion and on a worksheet
  • correctly associate the ea and ee letter combinations with the long /e/ vowel sound during discussion and on a worksheet
  • recognize and use commas after introductory words during discussion and in the text
  • identify and understand the use of synonyms; correctly substitute synonyms into sentences on a worksheet

Comprehension Checks

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