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Who, What and Where: A First Grade Reading Lesson

written by: Patricia Gable • edited by: Tricia Goss • updated: 9/9/2015

Today’s standards in education call for students to practice purposeful reading in both fiction and informational text. Learning how to dig deeper into reading material can begin even before a young student has begun to read independently.

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    Who, What and Where- A First Grade Reading This three-day lesson focuses on three elements of a fictional story: characters, setting and major events. You can teach these lessons with a book of your choice. In this case,

    Corduroy by Don Freeman was chosen because it has only two distinct main characters, one setting and easily defined events.

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    1. Describe characters, settings and major events in a story, using key details. (1.RL.3)

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    Day One Lesson

    Say, “Today we are going to read a book called Corduroy. Over the next few lessons, we will be talking about three different elements (parts) of the book. We are going to think about the characters in the book. Characters are usually people in a book but, in this case, a stuffed bear is a character, too. Sometimes characters can be talking animals. Think of the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Those bears are characters. A book tells a story about the characters and their problems and how or if they solve the problems."

    Say, “I want you to pay close attention to the two characters in this book: Lisa and Corduroy. We will be thinking of words that describe them."

    Read the book and then discuss the traits of both Lisa and Corduroy. Was Lisa kind or mean? Did Corduroy have an imagination?

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    Use the Worksheets

    You can use the Character Worksheet with any story. The students decorate the person to fit the story. In this case, they will make it look like Lisa. Then add some words to describe Lisa at the bottom.

    You will only use the Corduroy Bear Worksheet for this story and any other Corduroy books you may use. Decorate and write descriptive words.

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    Day Two Lesson

    Say, “Let’s talk about the story of Corduroy again. Today we are going to think about the setting of the story. The setting is where and when the story takes place. Can anyone tell us what the setting is for most of the story of Corduroy? It is in the department store. Remember the fun Corduroy had imagining that he was in different places as he searched for a button in the store? Was it daytime or nighttime in the story? (Both) In this case, it didn’t matter if it was summer or winter but sometimes it does matter. How the Grinch Stole Christmas would not have a summer setting. Arthur Goes to Camp would not have a winter setting."

    Say, “In most cases the setting is an important element in a story. Imagine The Little Mermaid without the ocean! Or The Snowy Day on a beach in the summer. Can you think of any other books with important settings?"

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    Use the Worksheet

    Setting: Draw and color the setting of the story, fill in the name of the book and write down when the story takes place. You can use this worksheet for other books.

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    Day Three Lesson

    Say, “Today we are going to talk about the events or things that happened in the story of Corduroy. This time we will look at the pictures and I will call on someone to tell us what is happening at that moment in the story."

    After going through the story, ask,

    “What happened at the beginning of the story?" (Lisa sees the bear but cannot buy him.)

    “What was the problem for Lisa?" (She wanted the bear but Mother said they had spent enough money and that the bear was missing a button anyway.)

    “What was the problem for Corduroy?" (He wanted to find a button so someone would buy him.)

    “How is the problem solved?" (Lisa uses money from her piggy bank to buy the bear and sews a button on his overalls.)

    “How does the story end?" (Lisa has her bear and Corduroy has a new button. They are happy.)

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    Use the Worksheet

    Story Events: You can use this paper for any story. Fill in each rectangle with words, pictures or sentences based on the students’ skills.


  • Freeman, Don. Corduroy. Puffin Books, 1976.