These short fables offer children a collection of simple yet valuable life lessons. Each tale uses animal characters to tell the story, and a moral is clearly stated at the end. This book is a great introduction to fables. The classic illustrations enrich the stories.
Children should use a variety of strategies to determine word meaning and comprehend text. The target strategy for this lesson is: Decoding - Asking if it make sense, if it sounds right, if it looks right.
Word and Print Skills
r- controlled vowels
Punctuation, quotation marks
You will likely address a number of comprehension skills as children work to understand the text. The target comprehension strategy for this lesson is: Compare and contrast.
Discuss the placement of the moral at the end of each story.
Targeted Vocabulary Words
Aesop orÆsop, fable, moral
These are words that children will encounter in the text. You may want to review and discuss the words, and then have children add them to the classroom word wall or dictionary.
Introducing the Book
Show children the book and have them read the title and scan the illustrations to make initial predictions about the main idea or topic.
Ask and say: What do you see on the cover? What do you think this story is about? What do the illustrations tell you about the kind of text this is? Share with the group anything else that you can infer from the illustrations or title.
You will want to offer suggestions for eliciting prior knowledge and building background. Provide questions that get to what the child already knows about the topic. What do they know about fables?
Ask: What is a fable? What is a moral?
While doing your book walk, go through as much of the book as you feel necessary, pointing out things you believe will challenge children as they are reading. Look at the pictures with the children and discuss what they see. You may want to write down some of the words they suggest. This step helps reduce the anxiety that some children feel when they are faced with a book with unfamiliar text.
Using the worksheet
Introduce and explain the second worksheet. Children should fill in each section of the chart as they read through the text.
Remind children to use any or all of the following strategies to help them in their reading.
- Ask: Does it make sense? Does it sound right? Does it look right?
- How does what you read connect to what you already know?
- What can you do if you don't understand a passage you just read? Say: Reread any sentence or page that was difficult to make sure that you understand the text.
Ask children about the strategies they will use if they encounter a difficult word. You may want to act as a role model to show them how it might look or sound as they are reading. Pretend to read, getting confused or slowed down because you are not understanding a part. Model a strategy to help yourself gain meaning through rereading, asking yourself questions, and looking at illustrations or diagrams.
Hand out the books to children and ask them to read the introduction.
Say and ask: Let's read the first story, The Dog and His Shadow, paying attention to the characters and the events and how they lead up to the moral. Discuss each point as the story is read together. List the characters, events, and moral.
Have children read the rest of the book independently. You may suggest they read through the book once, then read again, stopping to list characters and events on the comparison chart. During this time, you may choose to work with another group or with individuals to monitor their oral reading and comprehension of parts of the text.
Say: I want you to finish reading the book at your own pace. As you read, stop at the end of each story and think about the how events in the story support the moral.
Comprehending the Text
Draw the group together to discuss the stories and morals.
Say: What do these stories have in common? Why do you think Aesop wrote the stories? Why do most of the stories have animals as characters?
After children have shared with one another, discuss as a group how the stories are similar and the importance of the stories.
Ask: Did you need to use any special strategies to understand the story? How did it help to have the moral set apart at the end of the story?
Introduce or review r-controlled vowels with children. List ar - far, er - herd, ir - bird, or - horn, and ur - turn on the board.
Say: r-controlled vowels are vowels that are paired with r, which changes the sound made by the vowel. Let's read words that have r-controlled vowels and keep brainstorming about other words containing r-controlled vowels. You can also say r-controlled vowel words at random, asking children which list the word should be added to. Discuss and search for words with r-controlled vowels in the text, making a list for the classroom.
Punctuation, quotation marks
Point out a sentence using quotation marks in the text. Ask: What kind of punctuation is in this sentence? Yes, there are quotation marks. What do the quotation marks tell you? They are at the beginning and end of words that someone is saying. Discuss and search for quotation marks in the text, making a list for the classroom. Have each child dictate or write a sentence using quotation marks.
Discuss synonym with children.
Say: Synonyms are words that have nearly the same meaning. For example, bend and curve mean similar things. Let's look for synonyms or think of synonyms for words in the text. Make a list of words from the text and suggested synonyms. Discuss how word choice can enhance a story. These words can be included in the class word wall or dictionary.
Expand the Reading
Say: Fables are simple stories that teach us a lesson through a moral. Let's think of some good morals related to school and write fables to illustrate the moral and teach a lesson. Have children brainstorm a list of morals related to school. E.g., It is better to be prepared. Always do your homework. Taking turns makes friends. Have children write a short story where the characters are in a situation illustrates the moral of the story.
Science/Social Studies Connection
Aesop was a real person who lived in ancient Greece. His stories have been collected and shared over many years and across many cultures. Have students read books about his life and the period in which he lived. Why have his stories lasted so long? Why have the morals remained true throughout the years?
Invite children to reread the book independently or with a partner. They could then look for and read other books about fables or Aesop.
Invite the children to take the book home to read with their family and share their fables.
- Monitor children's responses in the Comprehending the Text section to assess how well they understand the text or story.
- Monitor reading to see if children are using effective reading strategies.
- Assess children's knowledge of comparing and contrasting.