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Lesson Plan

The Big Green Monster Teaches Phonics in Reading and Writing

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Grades K – 2
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Three 45-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Maureen Gerard

Maureen Gerard

Phoenix, Arizona


International Literacy Association


Student Objectives

Session 1: Shared Reading (30 minutes)

Literacy Center Activities (30 minutes per activity)

Session 2: Art Workshop (30 minutes)

Session 3: Writing Workshop (45 minutes)


Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • Increase oral reading fluency by reading a selected story multiple times during shared and paired reading activities

  • Recognize and be able to read high-frequency vocabulary words (e.g., colors) in the story

  • Recognize and be able to read sight vocabulary words in the story

  • Generate word families for words in the story by differentiating onset and rime

  • Apply phonics skills by writing stories about their big green monsters and publishing them online

  • Develop editing skills as they read and revise their own stories and those of their peers

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Session 1: Shared Reading (30 minutes)

1. Seat the students together in the shared reading area.

2. Display the text from Go Away, Big Green Monster! on chart paper and introduce the story to the whole class.

3. Read the story with students chorally. Then have students reread the story several times using other read-aloud formats, such as boys and girls, left side and right side, popcorn reading (i.e., having students voluntarily "jump in" to read a line of the story), and individual volunteers. Reading the story multiple times in alternative formats builds fluency, adds interest, and speeds word recognition.

4. Point out the colored words in the story, asking if students recognize the color name from the print color.

5. Review the sight words and point out the known words in the story, connecting them to words already listed on the class word wall.

6. Explain the literacy center activities to follow.

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Literacy Center Activities (30 minutes per activity)

Note: A parent volunteer, classroom aide, or older student buddy may be helpful when conducting center activities with kindergarten and first-grade students.

Literacy centers can be organized and managed in a variety of ways. Typically, teachers can create literacy centers that coincide with guided reading instruction. While the teacher meets with one group of students for guided reading, other groups rotate among various literacy centers set up around the classroom. Centers can be created by simply setting out literacy activities on a table or they can be separated into specifically designed areas of the classroom. Teachers may want to assign particular students to certain centers based on learning styles, needs, or strengths. Ideally, no more than four students in this age group should work together in a literacy center. To ensure that students work cooperatively in the centers, teachers can provide a Literacy Center Checklist for students to complete.

1. Computer center. Have pairs of students listen to the audio for the online version of Go Away, Big Green Monster! and read along with the text to practice fluency and word recognition skills.

2. Memory card game center. Have students work in groups of three or four at this literacy center. Each student will need to copy the color words from the story onto index cards to use for a memory game. To play the game, students combine the individually made sets of color cards into one deck. The deck is then laid out, face down, into a matrix. Students take turns turning over pairs of cards to make a match of two color words, reading each color word aloud as cards are turned over.

3. Word family center. In this literacy center, students choose words from the story Go Away, Big Green Monster! to generate word family lists. Direct the students to begin their word family lists by selecting words from the story that they already know. Have them drop the beginning letter (onset) and create a list of new words by substituting different beginning letters to the word ending (rime). Students can then add these words to their personal dictionaries.

4. Sentence strip center. Have student work cooperatively in pairs to arrange sentence strips with the lines of the story in correct order. Include the chart paper with the text of the story in this center for student reference. This activity encourages rereading of the story in an alternative format to build word recognition, oral reading fluency, and understanding of story sequencing. The center provides an opportunity for self-assessment as the pairs of students can compare their sequencing of the strips to the actual story.

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Session 2: Art Workshop (30 minutes)

1. Read the story again with students, and invite each student to imagine the big green monster and draw a picture of what it looks like. Make sure that students match the color words in the story to the body parts of the monster they draw (e.g., yellow eyes).

2. Finished artwork can be washed with diluted black tempera paint and matted or mounted for display. The tempura paint wash will give the monster illustrations a darkened, spooky background.

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Session 3: Writing Workshop (45 minutes)

1. Read the story again with students to introduce the writing workshop.

2. Have students imagine their own big green monsters. What do their monsters do? How do their monsters act? Students can use their illustrations from Session 2 to visualize what their monsters look like.

3. Give students the opportunity to share their big green monster ideas either with a partner, a small group, or with the entire class. This sharing session enhances oral language skills.

4. Invite students to begin writing stories about their big green monsters, including details from what they imagined.

5. Circulate around the classroom as students write, conferencing with individual students as needed to teach and reteach phonics skills during the writing process.

6. After students write the first draft of their stories, direct them to reread their stories and self-edit for one particular writing convention. For example, direct students to reread their own stories, looking for a period at the end of each sentence. Then direct students to read the story of a peer, and edit for one particular writing convention. For example, direct children to peer-edit for descriptive word choice. Continue to circulate among students to teach and reteach punctuation and grammar skills at the point of use.

7. Invite students to publish their stories online at Kids on the Net by clicking the "Submit Your Writing" link. You may need permission from the students' caregivers before having them submit their stories for online publication. Check with your school administrator for information on your school's policy on this issue.

8. Create a class book by binding printed stories and monster illustrations into a book. Place the class book in the classroom library. A photocopied version can be made for take-home reading.

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Home/school connection:

  • Have students play the memory card game at home with their family members to reinforce color words. Place the cards from the memory game in a plastic bag for take-home use.

  • Invite students to take the class book home to read and share with their family members.

  • Have students work with family members to arrange sentence strips from the story in the proper order.

  • Coordinate with another class and have students use their class book for a Readers Theatre. This is a good opportunity to access fluency and word recognition skills.

  • Encourage students to use the interactive Construct-a-Word for additional practice creating word families.

  • Use the ReadWriteThink lesson "Powerful Writing: Description in Creating Monster Trading Cards" to extend the writing activity and give students the opportunity to improve the quality of descriptions in their writing. Although this lesson is designed for grades 35, it can likely be modified for younger students as well.

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  • Use the Literacy Center Checklist and Assessment Rubric to assess students' work.

  • Assess each student's reading fluency during paired reading at the computer center. Guided reading groups, using copies of the story, may be an alternative assessment of each student's reading fluency.

  • Assess each student's ability to recognize and read color words while playing the memory card game.

  • Assess phonemic segmentation skills by reviewing word family lists created from self-selected words from the story.

  • Administer sight word inventory to assess increased speed and accuracy in reading sight and high-frequency words.

  • Use the big green monster stories to assess each student's stage of writing development.

  • For struggling readers, use the story and each student's big green monster story to record reading miscues.

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