Colleen and the Leprechaun
Level N 

About the Book 

Text Type: Fiction/Fantasy
Page Count: 16
Word Count: 608

Book Summary
Colleen and the Leprechaun is the story of an eight-year-old girl who takes a trip to Ireland to meet her grandparents for the first time. On the way to her grandparents' home, her grandfather fascinates her with stories of Celtic fairies and Irish legends, mysteriously warning her to watch for "little people." Illustrations and maps support the text.

About the Lesson

Targeted Reading Strategy

  • Make, revise, and confirm predictions


  • Use the reading strategy of making, revising, and confirming predictions to understand text
  • Sequence events in a story
  • Understand the use of quotation marks to identify dialogue
  • Recognize the difference between homophones there and their


  • Book -- Colleen and the Leprechaun (copy for each student)
  • Chalkboard or dry erase board
  • Dictionaries
  • Prediction, sequence events, quotation marks, homophones 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: Celtic, dandelions, hedgerow, Ireland, legends, leprechaun, mysteriously, suspicion, treasure

Before Reading 

Build Background

  • Write the word leprechauns on the board and read the word aloud to students. Invite students to share what they know about leprechauns. Write the details on the board.
  • Discuss the meaning of the terms reality and fantasy. Invite students to explain whether leprechauns would be considered real or fantasy.

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. Talk about the information on the page (title, author's name, illustrator's name).

Introduce the Reading Strategy: Make, revise, and confirm predictions

  • Explain to students that good readers often make predictions, or guesses, about what will happen in a story. Emphasize that knowing how to make predictions is more important than whether the prediction is right, or confirmed. Readers continue to make new predictions based on clues they read in a story.
  • Model using the table of contents to make a prediction.
    Think-aloud: When I look at the table of contents, I see that one of the chapter titles is "Colleen Goes to Ireland." If Colleen is going to Ireland, she must live somewhere else. I wonder why she would go to Ireland. I know that sometimes people leave their home to go on vacation. I also know that Ireland is a country. Maybe Colleen is going on vacation to Ireland because she has always wanted to visit there.
  • Introduce and explain the prediction worksheet. Create a similar chart on the board. Model writing a prediction in the Make column, such as Colleen is going on vacation to Ireland because she wants to visit there. Invite students to make a prediction based on the table of contents and cover illustrations, and write it on their worksheet in the Make column. Share and discuss the predictions as a group.
  • 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 sits 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 to students in order, 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 to students that the sequence of events listed on the board shows only the events that were most important for someone to understand the story. It does not include all the details of a retelling of the story.

Introduce the Vocabulary

  • Write the following words from the content vocabulary on the board: hedgerow, legends, leprechaun, and treasure.
  • Give groups of students a large piece of blank paper. Have them divide the paper into four sections. For each word, have them write or draw what they know about the word. Have groups discuss and create a definition for each word, using students' prior knowledge.
  • Review or explain that the glossary and dictionary contain a list of vocabulary words and their definitions.
  • Model to students how to use the glossary or a dictionary to find a word's meaning. Have students locate the glossary at the back of the book. Invite a volunteer to read the definition for hedgerow in the glossary. Have students compare the definition with their prior knowledge of the word. Then have students follow along on page 11 as you read the sentence in which the word hedgerow is found to confirm the meaning of the word. Repeat the exercise with the remaining vocabulary words on the board.
  • Point out that only some of the book's vocabulary words can be found in the glossary. Remind students to use a dictionary to find any other words they are having difficulty understanding.
  • For additional tips on teaching word-attack strategies, click here.

Set the Purpose

  • Have students read the book to find out more about Colleen and the leprechaun. Remind them to make, revise, and confirm predictions as they read. Have them think about the events of Colleen's trip that happened first, next, and so on.

During Reading 

Student Reading

  • Guide the reading: Have students read to the end of page 6 and then stop to think about the events that have happened so far in the story. Encourage students who finish before others to reread the text.
  • Model making and confirming a prediction.
    Think-aloud: Before reading, I predicted that Colleen was going on vacation to visit Ireland because she always wanted to go there. My prediction was partially correct. Colleen did go to Ireland, and she had never been there before. However, the reason she was going was to visit her grandparents. I will write this information in the Actual column on the chart. The story never mentioned whether Colleen always wanted to visit Ireland. However, it did say she was excited to go. I also read how her grandpa warned her about the "little people." I wonder if the little people are leprechauns. The title of the story is Colleen and the Leprechaun. In the Build Background section, we discussed how leprechauns are fantasy. I think that Colleen might think she sees a leprechaun and no one believes her. I will write this new prediction on my chart in the Make column.
  • Have students review the prediction they made before reading. Have them write a revised prediction next to their original prediction on their worksheet or place a check mark in the Confirm box if their prediction was correct. If they confirmed their prediction, have them make another prediction and write it on their worksheet in the Make column.
  • Write the following events on the board: Colleen flies to Ireland; she is excited; she meets her grandparents for the first time; her grandparents give her lots of hugs; the family drives by some fields; her grandpa warns her about little people.
  • Discuss and circle the events that are the most important to correctly tell the story. (Colleen flies to Ireland; she meets her grandparents for the first time; her grandpa warns her about the little people.) Point out that the other information is details that make the story interesting but are not important events.
  • Introduce and explain the sequence events worksheet. Have students write the events in order on their worksheet.
  • Check for understanding: Have students read to page 11. Remind them to use the illustrations, sentences, and what they already know to make predictions as they read. When they have finished reading, have them revise or confirm their prediction on their worksheet. When students have finished, discuss whether their predictions turned out to be true or whether they needed to be revised.
  • 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. (Grandpa tells Colleen about leprechauns. Colleen asks her grandpa to tell her the story about Jack Fox.) Allow students to make corrections to their worksheet.
  • Have students read the remainder of the book. Encourage them to continue to make, revise, and confirm their predictions as they read the rest of the story.

    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 

Reflect on the Reading Strategy

  • 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.
  • Have students complete their prediction worksheet. Ask them to explain other predictions they made while reading. Invite students to discuss whether their predictions turned out to be true or whether they needed to be revised.
  • Think-aloud: I predicted that Colleen thinks she sees a leprechaun and no one believes her story. This did not happen in the story. Instead, Colleen's grandpa tells her a story about a sneaky leprechaun who tricks a man named Jack Fox. I will write this information on my chart in the Actual column.
  • Independent practice: Have students complete their prediction worksheet. If time allows, ask students to explain how making, revising, and confirming predictions helped them to understand and enjoy the events of the story.

Reflect on the Comprehension Skill

  • Discussion: Review with students the sequence of events on their worksheet using sequencing words (first, next, then, after that, and so on). Point out how they used their own words to write each event. Have students work with a partner to discuss the event that happens after Colleen's grandpa tells her the story of Jack and the leprechaun (Colleen is excited to visit and learn from her grandparents). Discuss the last event and have students write it on their sequence events worksheet.
  • Independent practice: Have students complete the sequence events worksheet. If time allows, discuss their answers aloud.
  • Enduring understanding: In this story, Colleen hears a story about leprechauns, a legend of fantasy that has been around for many years. Now that you know this information, what other legends do you know and why do you think people continue to tell these types of stories?

Build Skills 

Grammar and Mechanics: Quotation marks

  • Write the following sentences on the board: "Imagine a field full of socks!" exclaimed Colleen. "What a funny story." Ask students to identify which words are being spoken and by whom.
  • Explain that quotation marks are the punctuation marks around dialogue in text. Point out the placement of the period and exclamation mark, and the quotation marks around the words.
  • Direct students to page 9 in the book. Read the page aloud as students follow along. Ask students to raise their hand in the air while dialogue is being read aloud (One of the great things..., If you find a leprechaun..., Legend says...) and to lower their hand when a character is not speaking (continued Grandma, Grandpa warned, Grandma continued).
  • Point out the different words that were used on this page to signal dialogue (continued, warned), as well as the placement and type of punctuation used after the dialogue.
  • Ask students to identify other words they've read that signal dialogue (questioned, said, exclaimed, asked, and so on). Write all of these dialogue words on a poster. Remind students that these words come directly before or after the quotation marks to show that the character is speaking.
  • Check for understanding: Ask students to provide examples of dialogue. Write each statement on the board. Have volunteers come to the board to insert the quotation marks, as well as the appropriate punctuation before or after the dialogue (comma, period, exclamation point, or question mark).
  • Independent practice: Introduce, explain, and have students complete the quotation marks worksheet.

Word Work: Homophones there and their

  • Write the following sentences on the board: We went to their house. It was nice to visit them there. Circle the words their and there. Ask students to explain the meaning of each word (there refers to the house; their shows possession).
  • Point out that the words sound the same when pronounced but are spelled differently and have different meanings. Review or explain that these words are called homophones.
  • Have students turn to pages 7 and 8. Ask them to identify the sentences that contain this homophone pair. (We have many legends and stories that tell about the fairies and their world. There are many kinds of fairies.) Discuss the meaning of each word.
  • Check for understanding: Have students use a separate piece of paper to write a sentence containing both words in correct context. For example: Their mother told them to stay away from there.
  • Independent practice: Introduce, explain, and have students complete the homophones worksheet.

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 work with someone at home to sequence the steps to complete a simple task, such as brushing teeth.

Extend the Reading 

Writing and Art Connection

  • Have students use the Internet to research other legends. Discuss the elements of a legend, and then have students write and illustrate one on their own. Allow time for them to share their work with the class.

Social Studies Connection

  • Locate Ireland on a world map. Have students use the Internet to research facts about one of the two countries, such as: the capital, the geography, the colors of the flag, the population, popular foods, music, and native dress.


Monitor students to determine if they can:

  • consistently use the strategy of making, revising, and confirming predictions to comprehend the text during discussion and on a worksheet
  • sequence story events during discussion and on a worksheet
  • understand the use of quotation marks; use them within sentences
  • identify the meanings of homophones their and there, and correctly use the words in sentences during discussion and on a worksheet

Comprehension Checks

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