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Lesson Plan

A Schema-Building Study With Patricia Polacco

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A Schema-Building Study With Patricia Polacco

Grades 2 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Five 60-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Whitney Schultz

North Clearwater, Florida


International Literacy Association



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



Looking for meaningful vocabulary instruction that enhances comprehension? Patricia Polacco can help. This lesson uses Chicken Sunday and Rechenka's Eggs to teach second- through fourth-grade students new words while deepening their comprehension, encouraging text-to-self and text-to-text connections, and helping them study characters. Students use the Semantic Impressions and Possible Sentences strategies to write about the books. Then, after a read-aloud and comparison of the texts, they complete a character study using the vocabulary words and an online tool to create character trading cards. Finally, students apply the words they have learned to write about the author as part of a WebQuest.

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  • Character Trading Cards tool: Students will use this interactive tool to answer questions about the character they chose and to use the vocabulary they've learned in their responses.

  • Patricia Polacco WebQuest: Students will use this interactive tool to become an expert on Patricia Polacco and the vocabulary from her books.

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Richek, M.A. (2005). Words are wonderful: Interactive, time-efficient strategies to teach meaning vocabulary. The Reading Teacher, 58(5), 414423.

  • Vocabulary knowledge is among the best predictors of reading achievement and "direct instruction in word meanings is effective, can make a significant difference in a student's overall vocabulary, and is critical for those students who do not read extensively" (Beck, McKeown, & Kucan, 2002).

  • The Semantic Impressions strategy offers a fun and interactive way to introduce new words; it enhances comprehension and builds vocabulary, reading, and writing skills. This strategy introduces words and asks students to write their own story using them before they read a published story.


Elley, W.B. (1989). Vocabulary acquisition from listening to stories. Reading Research Quarterly, 24, 174187

  • Oral story reading by the teacher provides students a source for vocabulary acquisition.

  • Vocabulary knowledge gains can double for students when read-alouds are accompanied by teacher explanations of words.


Beck, I.L., McKeown, M.G., & Kucan, L. (2002). Bringing words to life: Robust vocabulary instruction. New York: Guilford.

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