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Lesson Plan

Active Reading Using The Enormous Watermelon

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Active Reading Using The Enormous Watermelon

Grades K – 2
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Three 20- to 30-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Sue Ornstein

Chappaqua, New York


International Literacy Association


Student Objectives

Session 1

Session 2

Session 3


Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will be able to

  • Identify the main character in several nursery rhymes

  • Locate the names of nursery rhyme characters within a Big Book text

  • Identify high-frequency words within a Big Book text

  • Integrate high-frequency words into their sight vocabulary

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Session 1

Seat students together in the shared reading area. Present each nursery rhyme chart to students. With each rhyme, ask the class to read chorally with you and then perhaps have some variation (e.g. "boys read the first two lines, and girls read the last two lines").

After several readings of the nursery rhymes, ask students which character is the "star" or "main character" in each of the rhymes. List each main character's name on a chart or chalkboard. After reading all five nursery rhymes, the list should include the following names:

Humpty Dumpty

Jack and Jill

Little Miss Muffet

Old Mother Hubbard

Wee Willy Winkie

After introducing each nursery rhyme, provide students with several opportunities to practice reading the nursery rhymes independently. Use the Rebus Rhymes website to provide students with visual clues and stimulating graphics to encourage independent reading.

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Session 2

Review the list of nursery rhyme characters generated by the class during Session 1. Tell students that you would like them to locate and identify the names of these characters within the text of the Big Book The Enormous Watermelon. Begin a shared reading of the story. As you read, ask students to predict what they think will happen next in the story. The illustrations offer clues to which nursery rhyme character will appear next.

Invite individual students to approach the Big Book and point out a character's name in the text. Put a star next to the name on the list of nursery rhyme characters so that the class can visually match the name in the text with the name on their list. Students will become actively engaged in the reading process as they search for the characters' names in the text, and as they predict the next part of the story. When the story is complete and all names on the list are starred, the class will feel a sense of accomplishment

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Session 3

Present the class with the sight word cards (one of each word) from the Big Book text. Hold up each card and read it aloud with the class. Then reread the Big Book, stopping after each page to match word cards with the same word in the story text. You may wish to read the Big Book again, without having to stop after each page and to engage the children in a more expressive choral reading of the story.

After reading the book, review the word cards with the class. Tell the class that they will be playing a "Matching Partners" game with these words. Send students to their seats and give each child a word card. Tell them to read the card but keep it hidden from their classmates. Ensure that there is an even number of cards so that each child will be able to find the match to his or her card. If you have only 26 students, remove two matches from the set. If you have 25 students, remove two matches from the set and you can participate in the game as the 26th person. Make sure that each child can read the word card. Then, at your signal, students should reveal their card and walk around the classroom looking for their match. When they find their match, the two children come and sit together in the shared reading area. When all students are seated, hold a "sharing session" during which each pair shows their match and reads the word aloud.

After looking for the high-frequency words in the Big Book text, searching for a specific match to their word card, and reviewing the matches during the "sharing session," students should be able to identify many of the high-frequency words independently.

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You may also add these high-frequency words to your classroom word wall to provide students with permanent visual cues. Students may continue practicing these words by writing them on individual white boards or chalk boards, recreating them with magnetic letters or letter tiles, or copying them using paint or colored pencils.

Following these sessions, students would enjoy the learning center activities suggested on the Kindergarten Rhyme Time website. Some examples include: designing a "poor dog puppet," helping to solve Old Mother Hubbard's problem, creating Little Miss Muffet spider snacks, playing a spider count game, and unscrambling the nursery rhymes.

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  • You will be able to assess the progress of your students during a guided reading group. Using multiple copies of the Big Book The Enormous Watermelon, note the following:

Can students read the text fluently?

Are students able to read the characters' names and the high-frequency words within the text?

  • If you are concerned about a student, conduct a "running record" during which you record each miscue. This will enable you to see the individual student's strengths and weaknesses.

  • You can also administer a sight word inventory (using the 15 words from the text) to assess student's individual progress.


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