The Three Little Pigs
Level M

About the Book 

Text Type: Fiction/Fairy Tale
Page Count: 16
Word Count: 529

Book Summary
The classic folktale The Three Little Pigs is retold with rich description—featuring the big, bad wolf huffing and puffing to blow down the straw house, the stick house, and the brick house. Memorable lines such as "Not by the hair of my chinny, chin, chin!" add to the fun, and the story ends with a breathless wolf toppling over in defeat. As expected, the three little pigs live happily ever after in the brick house. Illustrations support the text. This book is one of two multilevel readers.

Book and lesson also available at Levels F and I.

About the Lesson

Targeted Reading Strategy

  • Visualize


  • Use the reading strategy of visualizing to understand text
  • Sequence events
  • Identify silent k
  • Recognize and understand the formation of past-tense verbs ending in -ed
  • Recognize and use antonyms
  • Use a thesaurus


  • Book – The Three Little Pigs (copy for each student)
  • Chalkboard or dry erase board
  • Dictionaries and thesauruses
  • Visualize, sequence events, past-tense verbs, antonyms 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: brick, budge, conversation, decide, exhale, haystack, huff, inhale, pies, puff, ravenous, slurped, sob, straw, tremble

Before Reading 

Build Background

  • Discuss traditional fairy tales that students have read or heard of, such as Goldilocks and the Three Bears or Little Red Riding Hood. Ask students to name some common elements of fairy tales (good and evil characters; magic can happen; characteristics of the plot, setting, and /or characters occur in threes; wise people or other animals help to solve a problem, and so on).

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 and what it might be about.
  • Show students the title page. Discuss the information on the page (title, author's name, illustrator's name).

Introduce the Reading Strategy: Visualize

  • Explain to students that good readers often visualize, or create pictures in their mind, while reading. Visualizing is based on the words used in the text and what a person already knows about a topic.
  • Instruct students to close their eyes and listen carefully. Read page 4 aloud to students. Model how to visualize.
    Think-aloud: Whenever I read a book, I always pause after a few pages to create a picture in my mind of the information I've read. This helps me organize the important information and understand the ideas in the book. For example, on page 4, the author tells about the three little pigs leaving home. I pictured three pink pigs, their backs to a tiny cottage as they walk toward a dirt road. I pictured each pig holding a small, brown suitcase. I pictured a mother pig and father pig standing on their doorstep, waving goodbye.
  • Reread page 4 aloud to students, asking them to use the words in the story to visualize. Introduce and explain the visualize worksheet. Have students draw what they visualized from the text on page 4 on the worksheet. Invite students to share their drawings.
  • 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 that stories are generally told in order from beginning to end.
  • Model sequencing the main events of the story Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Write key words about each event in order on the board as you describe them to students.
    Think-aloud: If I want someone to be able to retell the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, certain events need to be included in order to tell the story correctly. In this story, the first event that happens is that Goldilocks goes into the house of the three bears. Next, she tastes three bowls of porridge, but only the third bowl tastes just right. Then, she sits on three different chairs, but only the third chair feels just right. Then, she lies down on three different beds, but only the third one feels so good that she falls asleep. Last, the three bears come home and see what Goldilocks has done with the porridge and the chairs, and they find her asleep in the bed. Goldilocks wakes up and runs away. I will write these events on the board in order.
  • Explain that certain words are often used to explain a sequence of events. Read the list of events on the board in order to students, using words such as first, next, then, and last. Ask students to identify these types of sequencing words from the example.
  • Have a volunteer use the key words on the board to sequence the events of the story out of order. Ask students to explain why the order of the steps is important (the sequence does not make sense out of order).
  • Point out the difference between the sequence of events listed on the board and a retelling of Goldilocks and the Three Bears (the retelling contains more detail and description; the list shows only the events that are most important for someone to understand the story). Ask students to provide examples of details from the story that are not included in the sequence of events.

Introduce the Vocabulary

  • As students preview the book, ask them to talk about what they see in the pictures. Reinforce the vocabulary words they will encounter in the text.
  • Write the following content vocabulary words on the board: huff, slurped, and haystack.
  • Explain to students that most of the time, good readers use context clues to help figure out the meaning of an unfamiliar word in the text. However, sometimes they will not find enough context clues to clearly define the unfamiliar word. Model how students can use a dictionary to locate a word's meaning. Have a volunteer read the definition for huff in the dictionary. Have students follow along on page 6 as you read the sentence in which the word huff is found to confirm the meaning of the word.
  • Point to the word slurped on the board. Repeat the process, reading the definition of slurped in the dictionary and reading the sentence in which slurped is found on page 5. Ask a volunteer to explain why it is necessary to look up the root word slurp in the dictionary, without the suffix -ed.
  • Point to the word haystack on the board. Have students read the definition of haystack in the dictionary and locate the sentence in which haystack is found on page 7.
  • For tips on teaching high-frequency words or word-attack strategies, click here.

Set the Purpose

  • Have students read to find out more about the three little pigs. Remind them to stop after every few pages to visualize the most important information in the story and draw on their worksheet what they visualized about it.

During Reading 

Student Reading

  • Guide the reading: Have students read to the end of page 7. Have them draw what they visualized during one or more events of the story on their visualize worksheet. If they finish before everyone else, have them go back and reread.
  • Model visualizing.
    Think-aloud: On page 7, I read about the wolf blowing the straw house down. I pictured the wolf blowing all of the air out of his lungs, aimed right at the little straw house. I pictured the house falling weakly into a pile of yellow hay. I pictured the wolf smiling smugly as the house fell.
  • Invite students to share their pictures of what they visualized while reading. Have them explain their drawings aloud.
  • Write the following events on the board: Three little pigs decided to leave their home; The first pig chose to build his home out of straw; He built his house and sat down to eat his lunch of pea soup, salad, and bread; A hungry wolf knocked on his door; He demanded to be let in, but the pig refused; The wolf inhaled deeply; He blew the house down; All that remained was a haystack; The little pig went to his brother's house.
  • Discuss and circle the events that are the most important to correctly tell the story. (Three little pigs decided to leave their home; The first pig chose to build his home out of straw; A hungry wolf knocked on his door; He demanded to be let in, but the pig refused; He blew the house down; The little pig went to his brother's house.)
  • Ask students to tell what the story is mostly about so far (three little pigs trying to build a safe home of their own). Review the circled events on the board. Point out that the other information includes details that make the story interesting but are not important to the little pigs building a safe home.
  • Introduce and explain the sequence events worksheet. Have students write the circled events in order on their worksheet. Discuss the correct order and allow students time to make corrections on their worksheet as necessary.
  • Check for understanding: Have students read to the end of page 11. Have them visualize the information in the text as they read. Ask students to draw what they saw in their mind on their visualize worksheet. Invite students to share what they drew on their worksheet.
  • Ask students to write additional important story events in order on their sequence events worksheet. Discuss the important events as a class and write them on the board in order. (The second little pig chose to build his house out of sticks; He and his brother heard an angry knock on the door; The wolf demanded to be let in, but the pigs refused; The wolf blew the stick house down.) Allow students to make corrections to their worksheet.
  • Have students read the remainder of the book. Encourage them to continue to visualize as they read the rest of the story. Remind them to continue thinking about the important events of the story as 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

  • Think-aloud: On page 14, I read about the wolf trying to blow the brick house down. I pictured a big wolf huffing and puffing, blowing with all of his might. I pictured him red-faced and out of breath, frustrated that his effort was getting him nowhere. I pictured him falling over in exhaustion, a crumpled heap lying on the ground.
  • Ask students to explain how the strategy of visualizing helped them understand and enjoy the story.
  • Have students complete the visualize worksheet. Have volunteers discuss their pictures aloud after students finish.

Reflect on the Comprehension Skill

  • Discussion: Review the sequence of events students wrote on their worksheet using sequencing words (first, next, then, after that, and so on). Point out how they used their own words to write about each event.
  • Independent practice: Have students complete the sequence events worksheet by identifying the remaining important events of the story. Discuss their answers aloud after students finish.
  • Enduring understanding: In this story, three houses were built with three different materials, yielding three different results. The straw house not only was built with the weakest material, it was also constructed in haste—and was easily destroyed by the wolf. Now that you know this information, why is it important to think projects through? Why is it a good idea to take your time and do things right?

Build Skills 

Phonics: Silent letter Kk

  • Write the letter k on the board and ask students to say the sound the letter k makes.
  • Write the letter n behind the letter k and say: When the letter k is followed by the letter n the k is silenced and you hear the /n/ sound.
  • Have students turn to page 5 and have them underline the word with the silent k. (knock)
  • Check for understanding: Write the following words on the board without the initial consonant: knife, knot, kite, knight, kick, knee. Invite volunteers to come up to the board and add the initial consonant Kk to each word. Have them tell if the Kk is silent or not.

Grammar and Mechanics: Past-tense verbs (-ed)

  • Direct students to the first sentence on page 14. Ask them to identify the verbs in the sentence (huffed, puffed). Explain that these are past-tense verbs that describe something that happened in the past. Write the term past tense on the board.
  • Write the term present tense on the board. Explain that present-tense verbs describe something that is happening in the present, or right now. Ask students to name the present-tense forms of huffed and puffed (huff, puff).
  • Point out that the verbs are changed to past-tense verbs by adding the suffix -ed. Discuss how this is an example of a regular past-tense verb. Explain that not every verb is changed to its past tense by adding -d or -ed, and that irregular past-tense verbs will be studied in another lesson (for example: blow changes to blew).
  • Explain that when adding the suffix -ed to make a regular past-tense verb, sometimes it is necessary to double the consonant before adding the -ed. If the word's last two letters are a vowel followed by a consonant, the final consonant is doubled before adding the suffix. For example, the present-tense verb tug has a vowel followed by a consonant at the end. So when changing the verb to the past tense, the final consonant (g) is doubled before adding the -ed to make tugged. Create present tense and past tense categories on the board, and write the verb tug and its past-tense form, tugged, in the appropriate categories.
  • Explain that when adding the suffix -ed to a verb ending in -y, such as carry, the -y is first changed to -i before adding the -ed. Write the word carry and its past tense form, carried, in the categories on the board.
  • Explain that when adding the suffix -ed to a verb ending in -e, such as move, the -e remains, and a -d is added. Write the word move and its past-tense form, moved, in the categories on the board.
  • Have students turn to page 4 and read the first sentence. Have a volunteer identify the past-tense verb (lived). Point out that the present tense of the verb ends in -e (live) and add the examples to the chart on the board.

     Check for understanding: Ask students to turn to page 5 and underline the regular past-tense verbs (decided, slurped, chewed). Have them write the present tense of these verbs (decide, slurp, chew) in the left-hand margin. Discuss their answers aloud, and write these examples on the board under the present tense and past tense headings. Ask which present-tense verb ended in -e (decide).

  • Independent practice: Have students complete the past-tense verbs worksheet. Discuss their answers aloud after students finish.

Word Work: Antonyms

  • Write the word beautiful on the board. Ask students to suggest a word that means the opposite of beautiful (ugly, hideous). Review or explain that a word that means the opposite of another word is called an antonym.
  • Have students turn to page 12 and reread the first sentence. Write the sentence on the board: The third little pig built a brick house. Ask them to find the word that describes the size of the pig (little). Ask students to suggest a word that means the opposite of little (big, huge).
  • Show students a thesaurus. Use the example above to explain how a thesaurus is used, and write antonyms for little on the board.
  • Check for understanding: Give pairs of students a thesaurus. Ask them to find the word angry and name the antonyms listed. If needed, provide additional practice using a thesaurus.
  • Independent practice: Introduce, explain, and have students complete the antonyms worksheet. Discuss their answers aloud after students finish.

Build Fluency 

Independent Reading

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

Home Connection

  • Give students their book to take home to read with parents, caregivers, siblings, or friends. Have students practice visualizing the story with someone at home and then compare the pictures they created in their minds.

Extend the Reading 

Fairy Tale Writing and Art Connection
Encourage students to write a story about three little rabbits leaving home for the first time. Have them choose a natural predator that causes problems for the rabbits (a fox or a bear, for example). Tell them to write in the same style as The Three Little Pigs, personalizing the animals with dialogue and feelings. If time allows, encourage students to illustrate their work. Have students read their final product aloud to their classmates. Bind their final copies together, title it Our Book of Fairy Tales, and add a copy of the book to the class library.

Science Connection
Supply materials necessary for students to perform a scientific experiment to compare the strength of different building materials. Have them build four different cubes, each with one of the following materials: straws, toothpicks, modeling clay, and penne noodles. Supply materials such as: glue, masking tape, duct tape, string, and staples, and allow them to choose how to hold the individual cubes together. Have students discuss their results in a group discussion.

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 in the text during discussion and on a worksheet
  • identify and understand use of silent k during group discussion
  • identify and understand the formation of past-tense verbs during discussion and on a worksheet
  • identify, select, and use antonyms during discussion and on a worksheet
  • understand how to use a thesaurus

Comprehension Checks

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