Grade 1: A Close Reading of LITTLE BEAR’S FRIEND


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Reading Literature

RL.1.1 Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.

RL.1.2 Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson.

RL.1.3 Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.

RL.1.10 With prompting and support, read prose and poetry of appropriate complexity for grade 1.


W.1.3 Write narratives in which they recount two or more appropriately sequenced events, include some details regarding what happened, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide some sense of closure.


The Grade 1 lesson titled “A Close Reading of LITTLE BEAR’S FRIENDcreated by Rebecca Guider cited on the CPALMS website is intended to be completed in 3 hours of ELA/Literacy instruction. In this lesson, students are guided through a close reading of a fiction story. Through three separate readings of the book, students: discuss the difference between fiction/non-fiction texts; identify vocabulary, practice identifying story elements; create a story map organizer in groups; analyze characters in the story to determine how a character’s motivations can help readers to determine the central message in s story. As a culminating activity, students first write a retelling of the story using their story maps. Then they use a sequencing organizer to write a letter from Emily to Little Bear, responding to what Little Bear wrote in his letter, using text evidence.


Connecticut teachers are cautioned that for the successful implementation of this lesson prior knowledge is required and noted in the lesson materials. The Read Aloud book, LITTLE BEAR’S FRIEND by Else Holmelund Minarik is not included with the lesson materials; at least one copy is needed, multiple copies if available. The lesson plan lists its standards with Florida labels; the standards listed above use the Common Core labeling, but the wording remains the same. Neither Speaking and Listening standards nor Language standards are listed or taught, yet they are assessed and should be added.


This lesson is an exemplary example of how to emphasize the explicit, systematic development of foundational literacy skills. The lesson plan addresses instructional expectations and is easy to understand and use. The instructional activities are designed to cultivate student interest and engagement. The plan integrates appropriate, easily implemented supports for students who are ELL, have disabilities and/or read or write below grade level.  Lesson materials include tips for preparing and managing materials, general classroom management, student feedback, accommodations, and extensions. Throughout the lesson, activities give opportunities for teachers to regularly assess the degree to which a student can independently demonstrate foundational skills and targeted grade level CCSS literacy. A rubric for the writing that provides sufficient guidance for interpreting student performance is included.