Saturday, April 21, 2012

Fab Four Reading Friends

What better way to teach reading strategies then with some FUN friends! I love this lesson and so do my kids! What is it and how does it work? First, I found four small finger puppets at a local teacher/parent store: a porcupine, chick, sheep, and opossum. They are my Fab Four friends. I sat them around my small group table and right away my kids could not wait for me to tell them about these guys. Remember, I teach 3rd grade - they are not too old for puppets! I started off by introducing them one by one. I introduced them as I taught reading strategies during guided reading.
I first introduce Clara the Clarifying Chick. She was there to help us clarify anything we were unsure of as we were reading. I passed her around the table so that everyone had the opportunity to touch Clara. Then we began our reading using our HM series leveled readers. And sure enough, Clara was there to help us understand words and concepts that confused us by leading us to context clues.
The following week, I introduced Sammy the Summarizing Sheep. Once again he introduced himself and we passed him around the table. We read our story and then used Sammy to help us sum up what we read, remembering to only tell the main details in a "short version."
Next came Polly the Predicting Opossum. She helps us make predictions about the text. To "look into the future".
Finally I introduced Quinn the Questioning Porcupine. I couldn't find an animal that began with "Q" so I went with a porcupine since it has Quills. They couldn't wait to meet the last friend! The anticipation was killing them! We did the same thing as we did with the first 3 friends: introductions, passing around... Quinn is there to help us ask who, what, where, when, why questions while reading and finding the answers.
Once all friends were introduced, I put them up on a bulletin board to remind us of our helpful Fab Four Friends. They now help us all the time. The other day during a science lesson, we were about to read a book called The Moon. We used all four of our friends: we made predictions about the text, came up with questions we hoped to find answers to, we clarified any concepts that we didn't understand while reading, and finally we summarized the story.
Voila, an easy and fun way to apply reading strategies.
Here are my Fab Friend Posters. Click on image to download in google docs. (this was my first time using google docs so I hope it works - fingers crossed) Fonts from ClipArt from


  1. Angie,
    What a cute idea. I may have to try this with Beanie Babies. My daughter has quite a few, so I just may have the right animals to use. I noticed you joined my blog and found the link to yours, so now I am your newest follower. I am so happy to find another fellow 3rd grade teacher to share ideas with!
    Patti :)
    A Series of 3rd Grade Events

  2. Quick tip on Google Docs (from your comment). I highly suggest uploading an already made PDF. It's much easier to do that than to create using Google Docs. That's my only tip for now. More to come, I hope :)

    Fun in Room 4B

  3. Hi! Found your blog today from Learning in Bliss. I am your newest follower:) Stop by and visit me...

  4. Love your blog! Thanks for visiting my blog! It's always nice to find fellow 3rd grade teachers!

    Jen at wherelearningisfun.blogspot

  5. These are so cute! I love how even 3rd graders still love stuffed animals and puppets! =)

    I think with more rigorous standards and testing we often forget they are still just kiddos! =)

    Heather's Heart