Monkey Business

Reading to Learn

Rachel Noto


Rationale: When a child is reading a book, most important thing for them to be able to do is comprehend what they are reading. The goal is important because once a child can understand the concept of a story; they can relate it to their own personal life experiences and grow as a reader. The lesson activity will help students to understand the importance of questioning skills when reading to help grasp the main idea and how to use those questions to build background knowledge of similar topics which relate to their own life. This strategy will increase comprehension because it allows them identify and relate with the characters and to identify with similar situations and event that happen throughout a book.



- 1 copy of the book Five Little Monkey's With Nothing To Do (Eileen Christelow, Scholastic Inc., 1996) per child

- 1 piece of white copy paper per child

- 1 colored marker per child

- 1 clipboard per child (if desks are not provided)


Procedure:1. "We are going to be reading a book today about a few little monkeys who like to do fun things at home when they are bored and have nothing to do. We are reading this book to see if you have ever done some silly things like the monkeys in our book."

2. "Who can raise their hand and tell me of a time when they were very bored and did something fun or silly to stay busy? Ok, now can anyone tell me why it is important to ask questions about a book before we read it? Before we read a new book, we should ask ourselves questions about the title and cover to see if we already know anything about it. Because if we do, then it will be easier to read and understand. Here's another question like the one before that we can ask ourselves before reading this book: When is the last time I had nothing to do? What did I chose to do to take up my time?" These types of questions help us to build our background knowledge.  

3. "Let's go ahead and read our book. The book is called Five Little Monkey's With Nothing to Do. Book Talk: There are five monkeys in this book who are at home with their mom. She wants them to help her clean the house. They help her but get done really quickly. So now they are stuck again with nothing to do. To keep them busy they come up with some very funny things to do! To find out what they end up doing, we are going to have to read the whole book!"

4. "Now I am going to hand each of you your own copy of this book. I want each of you to read it silently at your desk." Teacher waits for students to finish.

5. Teacher and students will now hold a grand conversation together to talk about the book and the events in the book. During this conversation the teacher will encourage students to ask questions and to think about then events in the book and relate it to their own experiences. Questions like this: When was a time that you helped your mom with chores around the house? Why can chores and work sometimes be boring? When was a time that you did something silly at your house when you had nothing to do? What other books have you read or heard about that are like the one we just read? Tell me about them."

6. "Good job boys and girls! I loved our conversation today. You are all so smart with such good ideas. Now, I am going to give each of you a piece of paper and a marker. I want you to first, write at least 5 sentences about the main idea or point of the book we just read. Make sure you write why it was you chose that part as your favorite. Then draw a picture to illustrate what you wrote.

7. Wait for all of the students to finish. "Now that we are all done writing and drawing, I would like us to take turns sharing it with the class. When you are sharing, make sure you tell us why you chose to write. You do not have to share if you do not want to."  


Assessment: Teacher will be able to see whether students comprehended the ideas in the book based on their comments during the grand conversation. For individual assessment, teacher can look at their sentences and drawings and use a checklist to see if these points were hit:

- specified main idea or creatively came up with new one

- explanation of why they chose that part

- does student seem to understand main idea of the book



- Five Little Monkey's With Nothing To Do by Eileen Christelow, Scholastic Inc., 1996

- Elena Iantosca, Emergent Literacy: Concepts About Print

Return to Sightings index