Standard Lesson

Word Study with Henry and Mudge

K - 3
Lesson Plan Type
Standard Lesson
Estimated Time
Six 30- to 40-minute sessions
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Research shows that guided reading provides practice that helps students build their decoding and fluency skills. Struggling readers need instruction in word recognition to improve not only their reading skills but also their writing and spelling skills. In this multisession lesson, students participate in a guided reading of a familiar text—Henry and Mudge. Students then reread the text in small groups to better understand the story. In the sessions that follow, students use sentence strips to practice high-frequency words, distinguish between a base word and a suffix, write new sentences using high-frequency and story words, and read a new passage.

From Theory to Practice

  • Guided rereading provides connected practice that builds automatic decoding and fluency. Small-group differentiated reading gives students comprehensive reading, writing, and word-study instruction.

  • Struggling readers need word-recognition instruction that includes high-frequency words and systematic word study. (See Sessions 3 and 4)

  • Students use their word knowledge to not only read, but to write and spell, making connected reading and writing practice with high-frequency words and targeted spelling patterns an important part of the instructional process. (See Session 5)

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).
  • 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.
  • 8. Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.
  • 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

  • Henry and Mudge: The First Book by Cynthia Rylant (Simon & Schuster, 1996)

  • Base-word and suffix cards

  • Blank cards

  • Clear bingo chips

  • High-frequency word bank

  • Long sheets of paper

  • Red and green craft sticks

  • Scissors




1. Obtain a copy of Henry and Mudge: The First Book by Cynthia Rylant. Select a couple of chapters to read aloud with students and a chapter or chapters that you will use for the new-read portion of the lesson.

2. Before beginning this lesson, students' word knowledge should include short vowels, long-vowel patterns, and understanding for the syllable-juncture stage of spelling. In the syllable-juncture stage, students are better able to make informed spellings that contain several elements of the spelling system using patterns within and between syllables. You should also have introduced the concepts of base words and suffixes.

You may find it useful to read Invented Spelling and Spelling Development before beginning this lesson. This article is a great resource for information regarding developmental word knowledge and spelling. It also provides instructional implications and explains the developmental stages of spelling.

3. Create a high-frequency word bank for students. This bank may consist of a wall chart or individual collections of file cards for each student; either way, it should be available to all students and highly visible. It should include previously presented and new words. Before the lesson, choose an unfamiliar high-frequency word from the text you have selected for the new-read portion of the lesson.

Guided Reading: Good First Teaching for All Children by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell (Heinemann, 1996) is a good word-bank resource.

4. Create a collection of base-word and suffix cards. The words (e.g., looked, licked, or walked) should be generated from Henry and Mudge: The First Book and can be printed with one color for the base word and a different color denoting the -ed. Create a worksheet that lists the words on these cards and make one copy for each student.

5. Use the long sheets of paper to create sentence strips from Henry and Mudge: The First Book. The sentences you choose should include high-frequency words from the word bank. Some sentences should be from the selection you read during the initial session; others should be from the selection you will have students read later in the lesson. Cover the high-frequency words with blank paper or word cards.

You will also want to make at least one blank sentence strip available for each student in the class.

6. Visit and familiarize yourself with the Comic Creator interactive tool. It is excellent for working with struggling readers because the comic-strip format supports reading and writing by having students retell a story or depict the main idea using words and pictures.

Use the Comic Creator to prepare a comic strip that retells the story from the new passage you have selected for students to read. The comic strip should have pictures of Henry and Mudge and conversation bubbles with prompts like the following:
  • Henry walked...

  • Mudge smelled...

  • Mudge loved...

  • Henry missed...

  • Henry remembered...
The sentence prompts should use story words with the -ed ending and also the high-frequency word you have selected for the class. You should have a copy of the comic strip available for each student in the class. You should also make a blank comic strip with the same number of panels; make one copy for each student in the class.

Student Objectives

Students will

  • Practice reading by working with a partner to reread passages from a familiar book with appropriate phrasing and expression

  • Develop the ability to recognize, read, and spell high-frequency words by using a group word bank

  • Expand word-recognition skills through systematic word study by identifying base words and the past tense marker –ed

  • Demonstrate comprehension of word structure by sorting and building words according to spelling and phonemic patterns

  • Employ writing skills by building sentences using words from the word-bank and word-study activities

  • Practice making predictions using sentence prompts from a new chapter

  • Apply comprehension and writing skills by creating comic strips that retell chapters and practice high-frequency words and –ed words.

Session 1

1. Introduce students to Henry and Mudge: The First Book by Cynthia Rylant. Begin by asking them to make predictions about the book based on the cover. Introduce the textual features of this beginning chapter book including the table of contents and the chapter titles that separate the book into sections. Ask students how the chapter book is different from storybooks they have read.

2. Tell students that they are going to read the first chapter. Have them locate the title and beginning page of the first chapter in the table of contents.

3. Conduct a picture walk of the first chapter with students and record their predictions on the board. As you do this, note important vocabulary words that may be unfamiliar to students.

4. Have students read the chapter independently. Tell them to check if their chapter predictions are correct. You may wish to monitor some students' reading by listening to them read the chapter to you.

5. Bring students back together and have everyone, including you, read the chapter aloud together.

Homework: Have students reread the first chapter to an adult and write their predictions for the second reading selection you have chosen.

Session 2: Rereading

1. Assign students to reread the chapter or chapters you read in Session 1. Because rereading is intended to promote reading with accuracy, fluency, and expression, make sure you remind students to read as well and as expressively as they can. To ensure that you provide ample reading practice for all students, before rereading give half the students red Popsicle sticks and half of them green. Explain that the group with the red sticks will read the odd-numbered pages and the green group will read the even-numbered pages.

2. Have the students read the assigned chapter aloud. The red group begins by reading page one aloud as the green group follows along silently and then green group reads page two aloud as the red group reads along silently. The two groups continue alternating reading aloud until end of chapter or assigned section.

3. Ask students to switch: the green group now reads first and the red group reads second.

Session 3: High-frequency word bank

1. Review words from the word bank that you have taught previously by putting up the sentence strips from the reading selection in Session 1. Ask the students to read the sentences and to predict which high-frequency word is covered.

2. Present the new high-frequency word you have selected to add to the bank. Ask students about spelling patterns or silent letters that they see in the word and, if it is appropriate, if they see a base word. Ask them to compare it to other words on the word bank, looking for those that the new word looks like or may be confused with. Spell the word aloud and then chant or clap as students spell it out.

3. Put up the remaining sentence strips you have created (from the selection students have not yet read). Have students locate the new high-frequency word and read the sentences. Add the new word to the class word bank or the students' individual word banks.

Session 4: Word study

1. Review suffixes you have previously presented to the students (for example, plural -s and -ing) by writing a list of words with the suffixes on the board. Make sure that students understand the concept of a base word and a suffix.

2. Display the six to ten base-word and suffix cards you have created. Read the words aloud together. Ask students if they see a spelling pattern, guiding them toward eliciting the -ed suffix.

3. Pass out the worksheet you have created and ask students to underline the base words. List the base words on the board and ask students to add -ing to each word before reading them aloud. Then write each word with the -ed suffix on it. Reread the two different forms of one of the words (for example, "looking" and "looked") and ask students about the difference in meaning and tense.

4. Have students go on a word hunt for -ed in Henry and Mudge: The First Book. Ask them to place bingo chips on the words ending in -ed. Once each student has found at least one word, ask him or her to read the words. Record the words on a chart or board that the students can continue to add to.

Session 5: Writing

1. Have students select a high-frequency word card from the word bank and make a word card for one of the -ed story words that you have listed on the board.

2. Give students each a blank sentence strip and ask them to create a sentence using both the high-frequency word and the -ed word. Either a partner or you can edit for a beginning capital letter, ending punctuation, and spelling.

3. Ask students to cut up the sentence strips into words and place them in a bag. Students should exchange bags with a partner. Each partner should then build a new sentence that they share by reading aloud.

4. The bags full of cut-up sentences can be placed in an accessible writing center for practice with high-frequency and -ed words.

Session 6: New read

1. Give each student a copy of the comic strip you created. Read the prompts in the strip. Ask students to predict what will happen in the story and record their answers in the bubbles.

2. Echo read the new passage from Henry and Mudge: The First Book aloud with the students. In echo reading, you read the selection aloud while students echo you, usually reading slightly behind. This provides support for struggling readers on the first reading of a selection. After reading, students should check and edit the predictions they made in the comic strip.

Homework: Students should take home the blank comic strip you created and complete it, retelling the story you read in Session 6 by drawing pictures and writing sentences in conversation bubbles.


  • Use the Comic Creator for follow-up lessons in which students create new comic strips using high-frequency words and story words. If you like, you can use other books from the Henry and Mudge series.

  • Use the ReadWriteThink Printing Press to create a class comic newspaper page to publish the students' comic strips.

  • Henry and Mudge: The First Book is a beginning chapter book. To teach this text structure, use the Comic Creator to depict the main event in each chapter. This can either be done as a group or by having individual students fill out blank comic strips.

  • Use the Animal Inquiry interactive tool to create graphic organizers for facts about Mudge.

Student Assessment / Reflections

  • Use the Running Record and Retell method of oral reading to assess accuracy, rate, and expression and analyze miscues during guided rereadings of the new-read portion of the lesson. After reading, monitor comprehension by prompting students to retell the selection, noting story elements and details.

  • Observe and take anecdotal notes on student comprehension of the concept of base words and suffixes as well as their understanding of the suffix –ed during the discussion and activity in Session 4. You can also collect the worksheets to see if students underlined base words correctly.

  • Observe and take anecdotal notes as students create sentences in Session 5 to assess sentence building, recognition and spelling of high-frequency words, and correct usage of words with the suffix –ed.

  • Observe and take notes on student predictions during the first exercise in Session 6.

  • Both comic strips that students complete will document student comprehension of the new chapter or chapters; they will also allow you to assess the spelling of high-frequency and –ed words.

Olivia De Anda
K-12 Teacher
Do you recommend any other location for Developmental 1st grade Reading and Math lessons? Thank you.Olivia
Olivia De Anda
K-12 Teacher
Do you recommend any other location for Developmental 1st grade Reading and Math lessons? Thank you.Olivia
Olivia De Anda
K-12 Teacher
Do you recommend any other location for Developmental 1st grade Reading and Math lessons? Thank you.Olivia

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