Marcus Loses Patches
Level M  

About the Book  

Text Type: Fiction/Narrative
Page Count: 16
Word Count: 751  

Book Summary
Marcus Loses Patches is about a little boy who loves playing video games. One day, he gets so wrapped up in his game that he forgets to feed his dog, Patches. When he finally gets around to feeding her, he realizes that he has also forgotten to latch the gate and Patches has escaped. Mom and Grandpa helped Marcus find Patches, and he realizes that although video games are fun, they are not more important than his dog or his family. Illustrations support the text.  

About the Lesson 

Targeted Reading Strategy

  • Summarize


  • Use the reading strategy of summarizing
  • Analyze the problem and solution in the story
  • Write complete sentences
  • Recognize and use possessives


  • Book -- Marcus Loses Patches (copy for each student)
  • Chalkboard or dry erase board
  • Problem/solution, complete sentences, possessives worksheets

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


  • Content words: Egyptian, pyramid, sphinx, casserole, amulet, canine, neighbors, escaped, psyched, disappointed, irresponsible, accidentally, realized, apology

Before Reading 

Build Background

  • Discuss the responsibilities involved in owning a pet. Ask students if they have a pet and, if so, what steps are necessary to care for it. Ask if any of them have specific responsibilities in caring for their pets, such as feeding or walking it.

Preview the Book

Introduce the Book

  • Give students a copy of the book and have them preview the front and back covers and read the title. Have students discuss what they see on the covers and offer ideas as to what kind of book this is and what it might be about.
  • Show students the title page. Talk about the information on the page (title of book, author's name, illustrator's name).

Introduce the Strategy: Summarize

  • Reinforce how stopping to summarize what is happening in a book while you reading is a strategy that good readers use to make sense of text.
  • Think-aloud: To summarize what I've read, I need to decide what's important and what isn't. Then, in my mind, I organize the important information into a few sentences and think about them for a couple of moments. Since I haven't read the book yet, it's difficult to identify what's important, but as I read, I will think about the important points.
  • As students read, they should 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

  • Remind students of the strategies they can use to work out words they don't know. For example, they can use what they know about letter and sound correspondence to figure out the word. They can look for base words, prefixes, and suffixes or other word endings. They can use the context to work out meanings of unfamiliar words.
  • Model how to apply word-attack strategies. For example, have students find the word pyramid on page 3. Tell students that they can look at the letter the word begins with, and use what they know about syllables and vowels (one vowel sound per syllable) to sound out the rest of the word.
  • Remind students to check whether words make sense by rereading the sentence.
  • For additional tips on teaching word-attack strategies, click here.

Set the Purpose

  • Have students read the book to find out what happens to Marcus, stopping after every few pages to summarize the story in their minds.

During Reading 

Student Reading

  • Guide the reading: Have students read to the end of page 8. Tell them to pay attention to what happens to Marcus and his dog, Patches. If they finish before everyone else, they can go back and reread.
  • Model summarizing the story.
  • Think-aloud: I made sure to stop after the first three pages to summarize what I'd read so far. First, I decided what was important and what wasn't. Then, in my mind, I organized the important information into a few sentences and thought about them for a couple of moments. I thought about Marcus and how he was having so much fun playing video games that he forgot to feed his dog, Patches.
  • Tell students to read the remainder of the story. Remind them to think about what happens to the characters and why so they can summarize, or review, the events in their minds.

    Tell students to make a small question mark in their books 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 Strategies

  • Ask students what words they marked in their books. Use this opportunity to model how they can read these words using decoding strategies and context clues.
  • Discuss how stopping to review in their minds what is happening in the story helps them remember the events and better understand what is happening in the story.

Teach the Comprehension Skill: Analyze problem and solution

  • Discussion: Review with students what Marcus's problem was (he lost his dog). Ask students how the story ended (Mom and Grandpa helped him find Patches).
  • Introduce and model the skill: Explain that writers have reasons for what they write. Write the following words on the board: problem and solution. Tell students that a writer usually poses a problem to one or more of the characters and that the rest of the story revolves around solving the problem. Review or explain that a problem is something that is difficult to deal with or hard to understand and must be worked out or solved (such as a dog running away). A solution is an act or a process of solving the problem (such as finding the dog).
  • Explain to students that the writer may sometimes give hints about the problem by talking about it in many different ways. Ask students to identify pages in the story where the problem is talked about (page 3: I'll get past the sphinx, and then I'll feed Patches; page 4: All right, but don't forget; page 5: Gulp. I'm in BIG trouble; page 6: She's not lying under her favorite shade tree. etc.)
  • Check for understanding: Ask students to identify the point when Marcus realizes his problem and to tell the page number where it is written (page 7: Mom, Patches isn't in the yard…I think she escaped.). Ask students to identify the solution to the problem and tell the page number where it is written (page 12: I knock on Grandpa's door, and I hear barking--I hear Patches!)
  • Independent practice: Have students complete the problem/solution worksheet. Discuss their responses aloud once students have finished.
  • Extend the discussion: Tell students that a character in a story sometimes faces more than one problem. In this story, Marcus faces two problems. Ask students to identify the second problem (Marcus plays too many video games) and solution (he realizes that caring for others is more important than playing games).

Build Skills 

Grammar and Mechanics: Complete sentences

  • Write the following on the board: Making telephone calls trying to locate. Ask students if they can tell what the words mean. Explain that although they might get the idea that someone is calling to find something, they don't know who is making the calls, and they don't know who or what the person is trying to locate. Explain that the words do not form a complete thought.
  • Direct students to page 8 in the book. Read the page aloud as students follow along silently. Ask students to tell what each sentence means in their own words. Explain that the reason they can understand what the sentences mean is because each sentence tells a complete thought. In other words, each group of words gives enough information for the reader to figure out what it means. Ask students if, with the additional information, they can figure out what the phrase written on the board means. Explain that the context clues help them figure out the meaning. Ask students how the phrase is written in the book to express a complete thought. (I hear Mom making telephone calls trying to locate Patches.)
  • Check for understanding: Write the following on the board:

latch the gate
He forgot to latch the gate.
forgot to latch 

Ask students to tell which of the above tells a complete thought. Ask them to make suggestions of words to add to the other phrases to make additional complete thoughts. Remind students that complete sentences begin with a capital letter and end with punctuation, such as a period, question mark, or exclamation point.

  • Independent practice: Have students work on the complete sentences worksheet. Discuss students' answers aloud when everyone is finished.

Word Work: Possessives

  • Review or explain that a possessive is formed by adding 's to the end of a word to show ownership, or possession.
  • Direct students to page 12. Ask them to find the possessive word (Grandpa's). Explain the rule of possession indicated by an 's (the door belongs to Grandpa).
  • Review or explain that not all words with an 's are possessives. Some words are contractions, in which the 's takes the place of the word is (as in he's worried, short for he is worried).
    Check for understanding: Write a volunteer's name on the board and ask that volunteer to name something that they own. Then add an 's to the end of the name before writing the item. (For example, write Jenny. Then add 's pencil.) Repeat the example for other volunteers who would like to contribute.
  • Choose a name that ends in s to explain that the 's would follow the s. For example, Marcus would be changed to Marcus's.
  • Independent practice: Have students complete the possessives worksheet. Discuss students' answers when they have finished.

Build Fluency 

Independent Reading

  • Allow students to read their books independently or with a partner. Encourage repeated timed readings of a specific section in the book.

Home Connection

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

Extend the Reading 

Writing Connection

  • Give students an open-ended sentence starter, such as: Taking good care of pets is important because… Ask students to think about why they might think caring for pets is important and record their answers on the board under the question. Have students write the sentence starter on a piece of paper, choose the idea they like best (or make up a new one), and continue writing their own opinion paragraph.

Social Studies Connection

  • Have students find information on organizations that care for lost pets, such as the Humane Society. Have them talk to an employee or read to find answers to questions, such as: How many lost dogs/cats/etc. are found each year? How does the organization recommend that people keep their pets safe? How many lost pets are reunited with their owners? How do they go about finding a pet's owner?


Monitor students to determine if they can:

  • consistently use the strategy of summarizing as they read to understand and remember information and events in text
  • understand and effectively identify the problem and solution in the story
  • identify incomplete sentences and write complete sentences using correct capitalization and punctuation
  • recognize and use possessives 

Comprehension Checks

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