Lesson Plans

Integrating Language Arts: If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

K - 2
Estimated Time
Seven 30- to 45- minute sessions
  • Preview
  • |
  • Standards
  • |
  • Resources & Preparation
  • |
  • Instructional Plan
  • |
  • Related Resources
  • |
  • Comments


This lesson uses Laura Joffe Numeroff's If You Give a Mouse a Cookie to combine word-skill work with prediction and sequencing practice. Students learn about cause-effect relationships during a shared reading of the book and then complete a cloze exercise that uses context and initial consonant clues. Students then create story circles that display the events of the story and use these circles to retell the story to a peer. Finally the students compose their own stories, featuring themselves in the role of the mouse.

Featured Resources

Common Core Standards

This resource has been aligned to the Common Core State Standards for states in which they have been adopted. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, CCSS alignments are forthcoming.

State Standards

This lesson has been aligned to standards in the following states. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, standard alignments are not currently available for that state.

NCTE/IRA National Standards for the English Language Arts

  • 1. Students read a wide range of print and nonprint texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works.
  • 3. Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).
  • 4. Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
  • 5. Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.
  • 6. Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.
  • 12. Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).

Materials and Technology

  • If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff (Laura Geringer Publishers, 1985)

  • Large pieces of chart paper or whiteboard

  • Word and phrase cards

  • Chart paper

  • Scissors

  • Glue

  • Writing paper

  • Crayons, markers, or paints



1. Obtain one big copy of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff to read aloud and several small copies to have available for students to use in Session 3 and in the reading area of your classroom.

2. Prepare cloze exercises on chart paper and cloze cards for student use. The exercises should be sentences from the story with words left off (if you want, you can provide clues for the students as has been done below); the cards should contain the answers. For example:
  • Passage: So he'll probably ask for a pair of nail sc_______. When he's finished giving himself a tr_______, he'll want a br_______ to sweep up.

  • Cards: scissors, trim, broom
You should create enough passages so that each student will get a chance to fill in a word using a card.

3. Write sample "if..., then..." statements on chart paper. You can use some from the story and make up some of your own. Students will refer to this chart when writing their own "if..., then..." stories as a reminder of the format to use.

4. On cards, write phrases from the story such as "a cookie," "a glass of milk," a straw," "to trim his hair," "to sweep up," or "to draw a picture." You want one card for each student in the class and will be using them in Session 3 to illustrate cause and effect.

5. Create long white sentence strips for each student on slightly stiff pieces of paper or chartboard. There should be enough space on the sentence strips for all of the pictures from the Story Circle handout to fit.

6. Print one copy of the Story Circle handout and the If-Then Handout for each student in the class.

7. For Session 4, arrange to get together with another class of a similar size. Each student from your class will be paired with a student from the other class; he or she will share information about the story. You may want to work with the other teacher to assign these pairs in advance.

Student Objectives

Students will

  • Practice critical thinking by predicting what will happen in a story using the illustrations and a few word cues

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the story by recalling the sequence of the text

  • Use recollection and analysis to identify the cause-effect relationship of story events

  • Practice oral skills by presenting their retelling of the story to a peer and by presenting their own version of the story to the class

  • Demonstrate their comprehension of cause-effect relationships by creating a personal story that follows an identifiable such relationship

Session 1

1. Seat students together at the shared reading carpet. Show students the cover of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and read the title, asking, "Then what will happen?"

2. Invite students to examine the pictures inside the book for clues to answer your question. Take them on a picture walk, pausing to allow time for them to discuss, inquire about, and infer from each illustration and encouraging them to share what they think the pictures suggest. Move through the entire book while students predict the story sequence based on the illustrations on each page. Then tell students that you will read the book to find out what the author thinks might happen if you give a mouse a cookie.

3. Read the story with expression, emphasizing and discussing the boy's feelings as the mouse exhausts him with his demands. As you read the book with the students, model and reinforce such concepts as the beginning and end of sentences by pointing out that all sentences begin with a capital letter and end with some form of ending punctuation. You might also emphasize the order of reading by showing students the front and back of the book and using your finger on individual pages to model the "return sweep" or the fact that when moving from line to line you always begin at the left side of the page.

4. At the end, to reinforce the story's circular structure, ask students what they think will happen if the mouse is given another cookie.

Session 2

1. Read If You Give a Mouse a Cookie through a second time, encouraging students to join you by pausing at lines that tell what the mouse asks for next, such as, "He'll probably want..." Students will fill in the words.

2. After this reading, list everything students tell you the mouse gets in the story on the left side of a piece of chart paper. Then make another list (on the right side of the paper) of what students say the mouse does when he gets these things. For example:
A cookie... He'll want a glass of milk

A glass of milk... He'll ask for a straw

A straw... He'll ask for a napkin

A napkin... He'll want to look in the mirror

Look in the mirror... He'll notice his hair needs a trim

Nail scissors... He'll trim his hair
3. Read the story one more time, giving students an opportunity to add to the two lists when you're finished.

4. Give students the cloze activity cards (each containing one word). Read aloud one of the cloze passages you have prepared on chart paper pausing at each blank. At each blank, ask the students, "What word would fit here?" Remind the students to use the mouse's demands from If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. Invite the students with the correct cards to come up and tape them in the blanks.

5 Ask the class to read the sentence with the student's word inserted. Then ask, "Is this the correct word?" Repeat this procedure for the entire cloze passage. Once all the blanks are filled in with the correct words, ask students to read with you as you reread the completed passage. This activity will encourage the students to recall the story without the support of the matching illustrations.

6. Repeat this activity until you have completed all the cloze passages you prepared.

Session 3

1. On a single line across the top of a piece of chart paper, write, "If you give a mouse...." Leave a space to the right of this, and then print, "then he'll probably want...." Leave another space after this.

2. Invite one student to pick a phrase card you have created to fill in the blank in the first part of the sentence; ask a different student to choose the card that correctly completes the sentence. The class can then read the sentence to see if it makes sense.

Repeat this process until all students have had a chance to use their cards.

3. Distribute the Story Circle handout, scissors, and sentence strips to students. Instruct students to cut out each story card and place it in a pile on their desks. Students should then recall the events of the story and organize the matching picture cards into the story sequence.

4. Once students lay the pictures out on their sentence strips, have them read the book (students can refer to the pictures if they are unable to read the words). Encourage them to check the order of the pictures using the events in the story and allow them to rearrange the pictures.

5. When the sentence strip pictures are in the correct sequential order, students should glue them to the sentence strips. They should then staple the ends of the sentence strip together to create a story circle.

Session 4

1. Gather with another class. Each student from your class must retell the story to a student from the other class, using the story circle he or she has created as an illustration. Encourage students to improvise dialogue between the mouse and the boy as they go along. Students from your class must explain the cause-effect relationship using the words, "if..., then...."

2. Distribute one copy of the If-Then Handout to each student pair. Explain that they are to construct and illustrate their own versions of an "if..., then..." statement as a team.

You might provide students with an example, such as, "If you jump into a swimming pool, then you will get wet."

3. Collect the handouts, laminate them, and create a class book. Place the book in your quiet reading center for students to browse in the future. The students will enjoy reading the creations over and over. Reading the repeated text will help with fluency.

Session 5 and 6

1. Have students write their own versions of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie n which they play the role of the mouse. Tell them to use "if..., then..." statements that validate their comprehension of the cause-effect relationship that they learned from If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. Students can refer to the chart you created for suggestions to verify the format of the statements in the story.

2. While students are working, circulate within the room, checking their "if..., then..." statements and offering assistance as necessary. As students complete their stories, have them share what they have written in pairs to make sure it makes sense. Once all students have shared and revised their texts, they may illustrate their books.

Note: You may choose to use the Stapleless Book for this activity.

Session 7

Have students share their stories with the class at the read-aloud area. Call the students to share their books, one at a time. You might also publish student stories on a website or as a magazine.


  • Visit A to Z Teacher Stuff and enter the book title into the search function. This will provide you with alternate activities linking to various content areas. For more information on the author, including some additional lesson plans, visit Author Study: Laura Numeroff.

  • Use the Circle Plot Diagram to complete an additional story circle. This activity could be used to further visualize the cause-effect relationship and the story sequence. You might also use this tool to have students create the story circle for this lesson. For a lesson plan that discusses using this tool with If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, see the ReadWriteThink lesson, "Unwinding a Circular Plot: Prediction Strategies in Reading and Writing."

  • Place small copies of the story and a cassette tape of the story at the listening center and invite the children to read along with it at their leisure.

  • Place mouse and child hand puppets at the dramatic play center so that students can stage puppet shows based on the story.

  • Read other books written by Laura Numeroff and compare events in the stories using a Venn diagram.

Student Assessment / Reflections

  • Observe student ability to predict text through observation during class discussions in Sessions 1, 2, and 3. Take anecdotal notes.

  • Collect and grade the If-Then Handouts. You will evaluate these for the use of correct cause-effect relationships.

    Grading Scale:

    • Satisfactory: "If..., then..." statement represents a direct cause-effect relationship.

    • Not Satisfactory: "If..., then..." statement does not represent a direct cause-effect relationship.

  • Assess each student's knowledge and interpretation of the cause-effect relationship through the student's own story. These stories should present clear examples of cause-effect relationships using "if..., then..." statements that make sense to the reader. You can also use the following grading rubric for student stories:

Story contains four or five "if..., then..." statements that represent a direct cause-effect relationship and follow a sequence that makes sense to the reader.
Story contains three "if..., then..."statements that represent a direct cause-effect relationship and follow a sequence that makes sense to the reader.
2: Story contains one or two "if..., then..." statements that represent a direct cause-effect relationship and follow a sequence that makes sense to the reader.
1: Story contains no "if..., then..." statements that represent a direct cause-effect relationship and the story does not make sense to the reader.
K-12 Teacher
I taught this lesson with my special needs students and it went great!
K-12 Teacher
I taught this lesson with my special needs students and it went great!
K-12 Teacher
I taught this lesson with my special needs students and it went great!

Add new comment