Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog!

Identifying Character Perspectives with Joy Cowley Books

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on May 11, 2017 3:44:00 PM

An essential literacy skill for reading fiction is the comprehension of character perspectives. In order for students to fully understand what is happening in the story, they must recognize that different characters are collectively contributing to the plot. Two Common Core Reading Standards relate to character perspectives: “Identify who is telling the story at various points in a text” (RL.1.6) and “Compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of characters in stories” (RL.1.10). 

Joy Cowley’s books offer two ways for you to teach character perspectives to your students: 1) through dialogue and 2) unconventional points of view.


Many of Joy Cowley’s books contain dialogue between different characters. Wishy-Washy Mirror, part of the Joy Cowley Early Birds series, features the characters Mrs. Wishy-Washy, the cow, the pig, and the duck. On page 3, 4, and 5, ask students to identify who is talking and how they can tell. Emphasize quotation marks and words like “said” as markers for character’s speech, which gives the reader insight into the character’s perspective.

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Ask the students: why did the cow, the pig, and the duck see different things in the mirror? This comprehension question requires students to recognize that each character has its own perception—because mirrors reflect the things in front of it, each animal sees itself!




The Joy Cowley Collection includes three books called A Book for Pet Cats, A Book for Pet Dogs, and A Book for Pet Parrots. Each of these books contains advice for the reader to be an ideal pet—the narrator begins with “If you are a parrot and you want to be a pet, this is a book for you” (2).


The second person “you” point of view implies that the reader is a parrot. This narrative frame requires the child to adopt the perspective of a parrot who wants to become a pet, not a pet owner (which would be a more familiar perspective). With this experience, the reader takes on the shoes of someone else and learns to dive deeply into a fictional character’s perspective.


This blog post only mentions 4 books, but all of Joy Cowley’s books are stellar titles for teaching students about character perspectives!


To download information about Joy Cowley Early Birds, click the left image below. To download highlights about The Joy Cowley Collection, click the right image below.

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Topics: Joy Cowley Collection, Joy Cowley, Joy Cowley Early Birds, Literature, Point of View

Using Joy Cowley in Science Lessons

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on Mar 2, 2017 2:34:00 PM

Joy Cowley’s stories are famous for teaching “literacy through laughter” and are specially written for young students who are developing their reading skills. Did you know that Joy Cowley’s narratives could also be used to teach content subjects? By pairing her books with supplemental informational texts, you can use Joy Cowley in all your lessons, all day long!


In ­Wishy-Washy Mirror, Mrs. Wishy-Washy's animals encounter a mirror for the first time. The cow peers into the mirror and sees a picture of a cow, but the pig sees a picture of the pig (34). Discuss with your students why the animals can’t agree on the mirror’s content. What happens when your students look into a mirror?

The Next Generation Science Standards expect first-grade students to understand that light waves can travel in many ways, including by bouncing off of reflective materials (1-PS4-3). To teach students exactly how mirrors work, introduce Mirror Magic!


Part of the Story World Real World series and leveled at Guided Reading level L, comprehending the entire Mirror Magic book may be challenging for many first-grade students. However, they can focus solely on pages 6–7, which trace the path of a light when it reflects off of a mirror. Of course, you as a teacher can read the rest of the book aloud and try the cool mirror tricks in class!

Although more implicit in content, What Is a Cow? from Joy Cowley Early Birds is also relevant for science lessons. The title of the book poses a research question: “What is a cow?” In the story, Little Rabbit and Chickie set out to answer this question by observing a cow outside. Both characters draw upon their own knowledge to describe different features of the cow, such as “A cow has four posts” (4) for its legs and “a cow has a rope” (5) for its tail. This process of asking questions and observing real-life evidence for answers parallels the Scientific Method introduced by Aristotle. Reading this story will help your students think like scientists!


Joy Cowley doesn’t need to be confined into your literacy lessons. You can incorporate her lovable stories into your science lessons as well!


Click the left image below to learn more about Joy Cowley Early Birds, which includes Wishy-Washy Mirror and What Is a Cow? Click the right image below to learn more about Story World Real World, which contains Mirror Magic.

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Topics: Joy Cowley Early Birds, Real World, Science, First Grade


Posted by Sally Hosokawa on Feb 28, 2017 11:50:00 AM


It's not too late to enter the Joy Cowley Classroom Giveaway! The grand prize includes more than 100 leveled readers from the Joy Cowley Collection and Joy Cowley Early Birds series, a dream addition to any classroom library! JoyCowley_Contest2017_550px-add.jpg

All you need to do is fill out a short form to be entered for the grand prize, which features:

  • 60 Joy Cowley Collection leveled readers
  • 45 Joy Cowley Early Birds lower-leveled readers, including the all-new Little Rabbit series
  • 34 Joy Cowley big books, including her newest Mrs. Wishy-Washy big books
  • 1 set of finger puppets

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But wait! The Joy Cowley celebration doesn’t just stop here—THREE teacher-bloggers have teamed up with Hameray to host their own Joy Cowley mini-giveaways! Join Lyssa, Kathy, and Laureen’s giveaways to win a Wishy-Washy Garden big book at the links below:

The deadline for the Joy Cowley Classroom Giveaway is March 1—don’t miss this amazing opportunity!



Click the left image below to download a brochure featuring Joy Cowley's books. Click the right image below to enter the Joy Cowley Giveaway! 

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Topics: Joy Cowley Collection, Joy Cowley, Joy Cowley Early Birds, Contests, Giveaway

Writing a Wishy-Washy Valentine

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on Feb 9, 2017 3:29:00 PM


Valentine’s Day is just around the corner—this year, celebrate the day of love with Mrs. Wishy-Washy

In Wishy-Washy Card from the Joy Cowley Early Birds series, the animals on the farm decide to make a Valentine’s Day card for Mrs. Wishy-Washy. By reading this narrative text that is topical to the real world, your students will realize that reading is relevant and important to their lives, not just an isolated action that takes place at school.

In addition to its seasonal pertinence, Wishy-Washy Card also allows students to familiarize themselves with onomatopoeia (7) and high-frequency words such as “then,” the,” “she,” and “big” (3).


Use this opportunity to introduce card writing into your classroom. For your students to become strong and confident writers, they must learn to recognize and write in a variety of genres. Although the Common Core stresses opinion writing (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.1), explanatory texts (W.2), and narrative texts (W.3), we use many other kinds of writing in our everyday lives. By writing Valentine’s Day cards, students can directly experience the purpose of writing for interpersonal connection and communication.

Use page 8 in Wishy-Washy Card as a guide for card writing. Have the children replace “Mrs. Wishy-Washy” with the name of the recipient. Encourage your students to decorate their card with hearts, glitter, or other craft supplies. Just like the cow made a “big heart” (3) and the pig made a “little heart” (4), each student will be able to make their unique mark on their Valentine’s Day card! 

By using writing to express their emotions, students will learn that writing is an important tool. Help them spread the love!



Click the images below to learn more about Joy Cowley Early Birds, which contains the book featured in this post.

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Topics: Mrs. Wishy-Washy, Joy Cowley Early Birds, Holiday

The Role of Big Books and Shared Reading, Part 3

Posted by Geraldine Haggard on Dec 20, 2016 3:03:00 PM


This is a guest blog post by Dr. Geraldine Haggard, who is a retired teacher, Reading Recovery teacher leader, author, and university teacher. To read the first article in this blog series about shared reading, click here. To read the second article, click here.

In the third and last post of this blog series, I will offer ways to use Joy Cowley big books for shared reading activities in your classroom.



  • Many students are familiar with Mrs. Wishy- Washy and her animals.
  • The book uses words ending in '-y' that are pronounced with the 'e' sound.
  • The book provides opportunities for inferential questions: why didn’t the animals help Mrs. Wishy-Washy get the mouse out of the barn?
  • The last page of the book uses quotation marks.
  • The word "help” appears as an uppercase "H" on page 3 and a lowercase "h" on pages 4 and 5.
  • The sight words 'is,’ 'in,’ 'the,’ 'did,’ 'not,’ 'said,' 'come,’ and 'out' are featured in the story.
  • The illustrations help the children understand character traits and feelings, helping to promote fluency.
  • The children can hear how the reader's voice changes with periods, quotation marks, and exclamation marks.


  • Introduce the book title and provide opportunities for children share what they know about Mrs. Wishy-Washy. Use the title page to introduce the mouse. What do you know about mice? Where do you think the mouse is? Why do you think that?
  • Read the story to the children, employing emotion as you read. As you come to multisyllabic words, tap the pointer to indicate the number of syllables.
  • After reading the story, ask the children to discuss how Mrs. Wishy-Washy and the animals felt about the mouse. Why did Mrs. Wishy-Washy ask for help? Why did the duck tell the mouse to come out 'now'? Why did Mrs. Wishy-Washy run back to the house?
  • Discuss the dialogue on page 8. How do we know that duck said this? Ask the children how the duck was feeling. Stress the word 'now.' Why is that word important?


  • Encourage the children to read along with you. What do the children think the word 'cried' means? Is it different from being 'sad'? When you get to page 8, invite a child to be the duck and the rest of the class to read the last line on that page.
  • Study the picture on the title page and the picture on page 2. What happened to the mouse between the two pages? When do you think Mrs. Wishy-Washy first saw the mouse?
  • Ask the children to study the faces of the animals on the last page. How do the animals feel about what happened? What might they be thinking?
  • Ask different children to use the pointer. If the child has trouble with 'one to one,' guide the student's hand, slowly reading and tapping out syllables in words with more than one syllable.



  • Create a blank bingo-shaped grid with a free center square. Prepare large flashcards with eight sight words or write each word on the board. Ask the children to write each word in one of the squares on their grid. Explain that everyone has created his or her own game boards. Call each word one time, encouraging students to listen for sounds in the word. After the students have put an 'x' on the word they think is correct, ask them to spell and say the word with you. If they were correct they can draw a smiley face inside the box. Two of the words begin alike but have different endings. The other six all begin with different sounds. Collect the students’ game boards to help you evaluate each child’s sight-reading strengths. Were they able to accurately write the words? Are there letters that they are still reversing?
  • Ask the children to draw a picture about a time when they were scared. Add a speech bubble above their heads and write a line of dialogue. Add a caption to explain what is happening in the picture.


  • Use the book in oral or silent guided reading. The book can then go home for sharing with the family.
  • Add more Mrs. Wishy-Washy books into your class library.
  • Place the big book in a center or the class library. Students can take turns playing the role of the teacher.




  • The story includes dialogue that will help practice fluency and reinforce quotation marks and exclamation marks.
  • Rhyming patterns '-an,' '-ash,’ '-ay,’ and '-age' are included. Page 4 and 12 contain words that rhyme but have different spellings.
  • The text includes the contractions 'don't,' 'can't,' 'I'm,' 'you're,’ and 'I'll.’
  • Examples of onomatopoeia are on pages 8, 11, and 13.
  • The story allows for inference questions: What did the parrot mean when it called itself 'tricky'? Why did the parrot tell Dan that he was ' as slow as a flying carrot' on page 9?
  • Some words contain all capital letters. How are these words different?
  • Two synonyms for 'yelled' are used in the story: cried and shrieked. Why did the author use different words?
  • Words ending in '-ing,' '-ed,’ and ‘-y' are used more than once in the story. Discuss the purpose of these particles.
  • The pictures provide good clues for unknown words and understanding character traits.


  • If students are already familiar with Dan the Flying Man, ask them to share what they know about Dan.
  • Introduce the three characters on front cover. Ask the children to predict some things that might happen in the story. Turn to the title page. What does the picture tell us?
  • Use a pointer as your read with expression and emotion. Exaggerate the quotation marks and exclamation points.
  • Discuss the main conflict and Dan’s resolution. Why did Gran call Dan "a clever man”?
  • Discuss ways that the Dan and the parrot are alike and different. Use pictures from the books for hints (setting, size, method of flying, etc.) Create a T-chart to record the children's comparisons.


  • Encourage students to read along with you and adopt the different character’s voices. Point out the exclamation mark on page 1 and reaffirm its purpose. Practice as a class.
  • Read the story, using a pointer and talking like the characters.



  • Assign each child to a character in the book. Students without an assigned character can 'SWOOP’ and ‘FLIP-FLAP.' The picture on each page will give clues about which character is speaking. You can point to the character to help the children understand when they should speak.
  • Provide a list of the contractions in the book and ask the students to write the two words that formed the contraction. Then write a sentence using the contraction.
  • The simile "slow as a carrot' was used in the story. Discuss the definition of a simile. The following simile patterns can be included on an activity sheet with blank spaces for the children to complete the simile:
    • The parrot's wings could flap as fast as ________ __________.
    • Dan could fly as high as ________ ____________________!
    • Dan swooped into the air like ________ _______________.
    • As the story ended, the parrot was as mad as ________ ________.
  • Explore the following word meanings, using pictures as clues:
    • "That's not fair!"
    • "I don't care!"
    • shriek with rage"
  • Ask students to study the picture on the final page. What is probably going to happen again?


  • Place the book in a center where children can read the story and assume the role of teacher. The book can also be used with a shared reading group or shared with families.
  • Add the other Dan the Flying Man books to the classroom library.

I hope that this blog series has helped you understand the power of shared reading and that you will enjoy it as much as I have over the years. Not only is it a delightful way to spend time with all students, but it also provides ample opportunity for follow-up activities based on your students’ needs.



Geraldine Haggard is the author of several books from Hameray's Kaleidoscope Collection. She spent 37 years in the Plano, TX school system. She currently tutors, chairs a committee that gifts books to low-income students, teaches in her church, and serves as a facilitator in a program for grieving children. 


Visit our website to learn more about Wishy-Washy Mouse, Dan and the Parrot, and other books by Joy Cowley. Click the image below to download a brochure featuring Hameray's Big Books Collection!

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Topics: Joy Cowley Early Birds, Big Books, Shared Reading, Geraldine Haggard, Guided Reading

Halloween Sight Word Practice—with FREE download!

Posted by Lesley Boatright on Oct 25, 2016 2:55:00 PM

Lesley_Boatright-150This is a guest post by Lesley Boatright, who will be contributing a series of posts over the next few months. If you like what you see here, check back frequently for more posts from here and click here to read her blog, Practice Makes Perfect.


Add a little Halloween fun to your sight word practice! Two great stories that use repeated text and high frequency words can be found at Hameray Publishing.

With repeated sentence structure and picture support for the word that changes in each sentence, Halloween Night is a fun and easy read for your beginning readers.


If you're looking for a little bit more of a challenge, Joy Cowley's Spooky House is a good choice. Two children approach a haunted house, becoming progressively more frightened as they move deeper into the house. Finally, they see and hear something that causes them to turn tail and run, all the while convincing themselves that they are very brave.

As you can see, there are many sight words included in both books. The repetitive text makes it easy for even your approaching level readers to pick up the rhythm of the words.

 A fun follow up activity is to play Read-the-Room: Halloween Style. Slide1.pngIt's a simple game to play with your whole class, or you can set it up as center. Simply print out the numbered cards at the bottom of this post and place them around the room.


Put the sight word cards in a pocket chart or display on the board for the children to refer to while they read the room. They will copy the word onto their answer sheet that complete the sentence on their card as they move from card to card.

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Take advantage of the excitement of Halloween and the abundance of seasonal stories to squeeze in some fun Halloween-themed sight word practice!


Lesley Boatright is an Early Childhood/Elementary Education teacher from Southwestern Pennsylvania. After graduating college, she moved to South Florida, where she taught kindergarten in the Palm Beach County School District for 8 years. After having children, she decided (with her husband) that Florida was too far away from the rest of the family, and she moved back to her hometown, where she took a few years off to spend time with her son. She has been teaching in the parochial school system for 18 years now, first at kindergarten, and currently in a first grade classroom. Lesley has also taught 2nd and 3rd grade Spanish and 4th grade social studies. Visit Lesley at her Facebook page, blog, Pinterest, and on Teachers Pay Teachers to get great teaching ideas.


Click on the links to learn more about the Kaleidoscope Collection and Joy Cowley Early Birds, which contain the books featured in this post. To download the Halloween sight word activity, click the image below!

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Topics: Joy Cowley Early Birds, Kaleidoscope Collection, Sight Words, Lesley Boatright, Halloween

A 'Color Words' Activity—with FREE Download!

Posted by Laureen on Oct 18, 2016 3:26:00 PM

This is a guest blog post by Laureen, a Canadian first grade teacher of 25 years who writes at the blog Teach with Laughter. This post includes a free download!


I first became a Joy Cowley fan when I fell in love with Mrs. Wishy-Washy. The more books I read, the more of a fan I became! The Joy Cowley Early Birds series is perfect for engaging young readers. The books range from Levels C through G and are great for independent and guided reading.

In the story Balloons (guided reading level E), the illustrator grabs our attention with an illustration of a balloon and a cat with claws out. Before reading, ask students what they infer might happen in the book. This will spark their curiosity and get them wanting to turn the page!


To make your guided reading plans a breeze, the inside back cover gives suggestions of how to use the book before, during, and after reading. It also lists features of text to help you decide if this book is a good choice for your reader.

As mentioned in one of my previous blog posts, after I finish with a guided reading group I like to give them a follow-up activity to keep them engaged and to let me focus on my next group. This activity focuses on color words, which gets me thinking, “Why did each family member in the book choose a red balloon?” Download the activity below!


To learn more about Joy Cowley Early Birds, visit our website and click the series highlights image below to download an information sheet with key features. To get today's free activity download, click the right image below!

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Topics: Joy Cowley Early Birds, Guided Reading, colors, Laureen

Double Consonants with Little Rabbit!

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on Oct 6, 2016 3:02:00 PM


Have you read Joy Cowley’s Little Rabbit series yet? Leveled from C-D, this all-new set from the Joy Cowley Early Birds series will bring joy and laughter into your early childhood classroom.

Apart from the charming humor and adorable illustrations, the Little Rabbit series offers a multitude of opportunities for your students to improve literacy skills. The main character’s name, Little Rabbit, already includes two examples of double consonants--"tt" and "bb"! By examining the book Carrots, your students can familiarize themselves with double consonants, an essential phonic skill.


Title page:

  • Examine the title. What do you notice about the spelling of this word? Are there any letters that are repeated in the word?
  • Introduce the term double consonants—when two of the same consonants appear together in succession.

 P. 2:

  • What are the double consonant words on this page? (Rabbit, chopped, carrot.)
  • Three is not a double consonant because “e” is a vowel. This exercise will serve as an effective way to test your students’ confidence in distinguishing consonants from vowels.

P. 5:

  • What is the new double consonant word introduced on this page? (All.)


P. 6:

  • What are the new double consonant words introduced on this page? (Squirrel, will.)

P. 8:

  • Explain that Dad is not a double consonant word. While it contains two “d”s in the word, they are separated by an “a” and thus do not appear right next to each other.

After reading: 

  • List all the different consonants that appear doubled in this book: r, t, b, l, and p. Brainstorm with the class to think of other words that contain these double letter consonants (parrot, tattle, bubble, gorilla, happy).
  • Can other consonants in the alphabet also be doubled? Have your students go on a double consonant hunt through the other books in your classroom library. The Little Rabbit series also includes the double consonan words biggest and off. “S” as in miss, “m” as in summer, “d” as in shudder, and “n” as in runner also appear as double consonants in English.


Double consonants can challenge early spellers, but they are actually very common in our daily language. (For reference, this blog post uses 31 different instances of double consonants!) Gaining familiarity through reading will help your students recognize words that require double consonants. Happy reading with Little Rabbit!


Browse all of the Little Rabbit titles at our website here. Click the image below to download a informational sheet about Joy Cowley Early Birds, which includes the book featured in this article. 

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Topics: Joy Cowley Early Birds, Leveled Readers, Double Consonants, Little Rabbit

Reading to Develop Emotional Literacy: Angry

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on Sep 22, 2016 3:43:00 PM

This is the fourth post in a series about reading narrative books to develop emotional literacy. For the first post (introduction), click here. You can also read the second post about "happy" here and the third post about "sad" here.


This weekly blog series discusses how narrative books help students develop emotional and literary skills. Today, we will focus on the emotion of anger. No matter the reason, every child feels angry sometimes. Recognizing this emotion and describing it with words is a crucial part of anger management. Reading about a fight from an omniscient point of view will also help students understand the different emotions of each character.

In The Letter Fight, part of the Joy Cowley Early Birds series, the characters all claim that they are the smartest. By examining the ways in which each letter expresses its anger, you can teach a lesson about healthy and effective ways to expres anger. Students can also practice their spelling skills while reading this book!



p. 1:

  • What does it mean to fight? Why do you think the letters are fighting?

p .4:

  • Why do you think A kicks L? Is that a good way to show your anger? How do you think L feels about being kicked?
  • With what betters ways can you tell someone that they are making you angry? (With your words.)
  • Instead of kicking, what else can you do to release your angry energy? (Drawing, dancing, playing ball)
p. 9:
  • Do you think the other letters like A’s plan? How can you tell?
p. 10:
  • Which “talking” verbs show you that the letters are angry? (“Growled” and “shouted”)
p. 12–13:
  • Examine the illustrations. How can you tell that the letters are angry? (Open mouth, slanted eyebrows, narrowed eyes)
p. 15:
  • The letters feel better after sleeping. What are other activities that can calm your anger? (Playing with a favorite toy, singing a song)
p. 16:
  • How did the letters solve their fight?

Reader's Theater:

  • Select students to read the lines of P, A, L and S. Remind them to adopt a voice that reflects each letter's emotion (i.e., angry). This dramatic play will allow your students to experience each character's feelings on a deeper level. 

Numbers Exercise:

  • Teach your students that simply counting to six can help them calm angry feelings. Give each student a piece of blank paper. Fold it to make six boxes. Have students number the boxes in order. If desired, students can illustrate each box to show a progression from anger to contentment. Practice using the counting chart as a class, pointing to each box as you count aloud. If a student is ever feeling angry in the future, encourage him or her to use their counting chart.

Reading about fictional fights will not only improve students' reading skills, but it will also serve as a classroom management tool if there is a conflict between classmates. Next week, we will focus on how books about being afraid. Subscribe on the right-hand sidebar to receive e-mail updates about new blog posts! 


Click this link to browse all of our products about Feelings and Emotions. Click the image below to download a informational sheet about Joy Cowley Early Birds, which includes the book featured in this article. 

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Topics: Joy Cowley Early Birds, Leveled Readers, Sally Hosokawa, Emotional Literacy

Book Introductions With Guided Reading Groups, Part 2

Posted by Geraldine Haggard on Sep 20, 2016 2:50:00 PM


This is a guest blog post by Dr. Geraldine Haggard, who is a retired teacher, Reading Recovery teacher leader, author, and university teacher. It is the second in a series about utilizing book introductions to help guided reading groups develop their reading strategies. To read the first post, click here.

The first blog in this series included reasons to use book introductions in a guided reading group setting. I also included hints for selection of a “just right book” and tips on teacher preparation for the introduction. Today's blog shares examples of effective book introductions for two differently-leveled Hameray titles: Buddy Boy and His Skateboard and Dragon's Friend.



Series: Kaleidoscope Collection. Guided reading level: E. Genre: Narrative.


Imagine that your guided reading groups includes children who were not reading with fluency. As you read Buddy Boy and His Skateboard, you feel that the quotations in the book could be used to help children read more fluently and recognize the use of the quotation marks.

There are three compound words in the story: 'someone,' 'skateboard,' and 'grandma.' You predict that the children can use the pictures and meaning cues to determine the two latter words, but you decide to introduce the word 'someone' in your introduction.


  • Distribute the books. Ask the children to study the cover and meet Buddy Boy. Where is he? How do you think he feels about the skateboard? As we read the story we will discover how he enjoys the skateboard, and how something sad almost happens to him.
  • Ask the children to look through the pictures and decide who the other characters in the book are.
  • Use page 3 to introduce the quotation marks. Model what Mom said with expression and ask the children to read the two lines of conversation with you. Remind them to read all the quotations in the story in that way. You might emphasize the word 'Please.’
  • Now we are ready to read and find out what happens to Buddy Boy and his skateboard.
  • Watch and listen as the children do the first reading of the book. Did they read with fluency?


Follow up the reading with these discussion questions:

  • Why does Buddy Boy have the skateboard in bed with him?
  • What lesson do you think Buddy Boy learned?
  • Why do you think his dad threatened to take his skateboard?



Series: Joy Cowley Early Birds. Guided Reading Level: G. Genre: Narrative.


Three notable punctuation marks appear in the book. The apostrophes make the word a possessive. The quotation and exclamation marks can help students read with greater fluency and expression and understand the characters’ emotions.

Multiple-meaning words also appear in the book. Page 2 introduces the word 'poor.’ Page 10 introduces the word 'scales.' The picture on the two pages can help the children understand the meanings of these words. The word 'cared' on page 14 is important to help the students understand why the dragon decides he has friends.


  • Distribute the books. Ask the children to study the front cover. Read the title with the children. Why do you think the dragon is crying? How many dragons are in the picture? Why does the word “Dragon's” contain an apostrophe? Explain its meaning.
  • Use the title page to meet the other characters in the story. Where might they be? Why are they looking down? What do you think they may find?
  • Ask the children to read the first line on page 2. Encourage them to use the picture and discuss the idea of the dragon being 'poor.' Go to page 14 and use the double picture to discover the meaning of the word 'cared.' The readers need to understand why the children helped the dragon.
  • Ask the children to find some quotation marks and review why they are there. Do the same thing with an exclamation mark.
  • Invite the children to read and discover how the dragon's problem was solved.


In addition to the follow-up activities below, the back cover of Dragon’s Friend has some excellent After Reading suggestions.

  • Do you think Joy Cowley gave the book a good title? Can you find another possible title on page 16? This will require the use of the understanding of the apostrophe.
  • Invite each child to write about a time that someone cared for him/her and helped solve a problem. Remind them that some of the words and spellings they need to use can be found in the book. The writings could be illustrated and compiled into a book for the classroom library.

Next week, I will conclude this blog series by examining one last book and offering tips for teacher reflection after the guided reading group meeting.


Geraldine Haggard is the author of several books from our Kaleidoscope Collection. She spent 37 years in the Plano, TX school system. She currently tutors, chairs a committee that gifts books to low-income students, teaches in her church, and serves as a facilitator in a program for grieving children. 


Click the left image below to download an information sheet with key features about the Kaleidoscope Collection, which contains Buddy Boy and His Skateboard and books written by Geraldine Haggard. Click the rigth image below to download an information sheet about Joy Cowley Early Birds, which contains Dragon's Friend.

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Topics: Joy Cowley Early Birds, Leveled Readers, Kaleidoscope Collection, Geraldine Haggard, Guided Reading, Book Introductions

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