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    L E S S O N 1 T E A C H E R S G U I D E

    Parkers Problemby Rachel W. Brookes

    Fountas-Pinnell Level PRealistic FictionSelection SummaryParker has a problemstage fright. When she tries to recite her lines in front of others, her voice squeaks. Through persistence and practice she overcomes her fears, only to discover that even the plays star can experience Parkers problem.

    Copyright by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company

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    Characteristics of the Text Genre Realistic fi ction

    Text Structure Third-person narrative without chapter breaks Storys action covers a week, with one fl ashback to the previous week

    Content School play A girl struggles with stage fright.

    Themes and Ideas Fear of speaking in front of an audience is common. A fear can be overcome by facing it with persistent effort. Adequate preparation can help lessen nervousness.

    Language and Literary Features

    Informal, realistic language Liberal use of dialogue aids characterization Figurative language: felt her heart race, wished she could just disappear

    Sentence Complexity Mix of complex, compound, and simple sentences Short declarative sentences provide contrast Appositional and parenthetical phrases within sentences

    Vocabulary Familiar words such as play, school, night, storyWords Some multisyllable words: rehearsal, properly, nervousness

    Illustrations Lively, cartoon-like drawings with captions Book and Print Features Thirteen pages of text, most with illustrations

    Paragraphs of dialogue 2006. Fountas, I.C. & Pinnell, G.S. Teaching for Comprehending and Fluency, Heinemann, Portsmouth, N.H.

    4_305479_BL_LRTG_L01_parkersproblem.indd 1 11/4/09 11:03:38 PM

  • Target Vocabulary

    advanced very good at something

    comfort help a person to feel less bad, p.12

    consisted made up of

    intends plans to do something in the future

    mention speak about something, p. 10

    mood the way a person is feeling, p. 5

    peculiar something odd or unusual

    positive completely sure properly the right way, p. 3talent a special skill, p. 5

    Parkers Problem by Rachel W. BrookesBuild BackgroundHelp students use their knowledge of acting and putting on a school play to visualize the story. Build interest by asking questions such as the following: Have you ever been in a play? If so, what was it like? What problems might you have as an actor in a play? Read the title and author and talk about the cover illustration. Tell students that the story is realistic fi ction, and that Parker, the main character, has a real-life problem.

    Introduce the TextGuide students through the text, noting important ideas and helping with unfamiliar language and vocabulary so they can read the text successfully. Here are some suggestions:

    Page 2: Explain to students that Parker is going to be in a school play. The picture shows the students at rehearsal. Ask: How do you think Parker is feeling? How would you describe her mood? Parker is getting ready to read her lines aloud, but Parker has a problem. Can you guess what it is?

    Page 3: Have students read the picture caption. Ask: How does the artist show what Parker is remembering? Parker was afraid that her lines for the play would not come out properly. The story briefl y shifts back to the past. This is called a fl ashback.

    Page 4: Have students read the fi rst sentence. Ask: What word is a clue that the story has shifted back to present time? Suggested language: Now is a clue word to present time. Look for such clues about time as you read. When you keep track of time, it helps you understand the storys setting.

    Pages 57: Call attention to the illustrations. On these pages we meet Parkers dog, Rusty. He always puts her in a good mood. He has a talent for catching things, and he even listens to Parker read her lines. Ask: What part do you think he plays in the story?

    Now go back to the beginning and read to fi nd out how Parker tries to solve her problem.

    2 Lesson 1: Parkers ProblemGrade 4 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company

    4_305479_BL_LRTG_L01_parkersproblem.indd 2 11/4/09 11:05:20 PM

  • ReadHave students read silently while you listen to individual students read aloud. Support their understanding of the text as needed.

    Remind students to use the Summarize Strategy as they read by briefl y telling the important events of the story in their own words.

    Discuss and Revisit the TextPersonal ResponseInvite students to share their personal responses to the story. Suggested language: Why was Parker nervous? How did she fi nd a way to overcome her fear?

    Ways of ThinkingAs you discuss the text, help students understand these points:

    Thinking Within the Text Thinking Beyond the Text Thinking About the Text

    Parker had a problem speaking her lines in front of an audience.

    Parker worked hard learning and practicing her lines.

    Parker was surprised when Darice got nervous about performing.

    When you have a problem, dont give up, keep trying.

    Laughter and comforting others helps you forget your problems.

    People that appear calm and confi dent may have the same fears you do.

    Dialogue between characters brings them to life.

    The captions help move the story along.

    The illustrations are amusing.

    2006. Fountas, I.C. & Pinnell, G.S. Teaching for Comprehending and Fluency, Heinemann, Portsmouth, N.H.

    Choices for Further Support Fluency Invite students to choose a passage of conversation from the text to

    demonstrate phrased fl uent reading. Suggest that when they read a characters words, they picture that character and read the words as if the character were actually speaking, varying their tone, pitch, and volume.

    Comprehension Based on your observations of the students reading and discussion, revisit parts of the text to clarify or extend comprehension. Remind students to go back to the text to support their ideas.

    Phonics/Word Work Provide practice as needed with words and word parts. Remind students that many words are formed by adding a prefi x or suffi x to a base word. Have students identify the base words and affi xes in these examples from the text: suddenly (page 3), disappear (page 4), perfectly (page 9). Ask students to identify the meaning of each base word, and then explain how the meaning changes when the affi x is added.

    3 Lesson 1: Parkers ProblemGrade 4 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company

    4_305479_BL_LRTG_L01_parkersproblem.indd 3 11/4/09 11:03:52 PM

  • Writing about ReadingCritical ThinkingHave students complete the questions on BLM 1.7.

    RespondingHave students complete the activities at the back of the book, using their Readers Notebook. Use the instruction below as needed to reinforce or extend understanding of the comprehension skill.

    Target Comprehension SkillStory Structure

    Target Comprehension Skill Remind students that the elements that make up a story

    are character, setting, and plot. Model how to add details to the Graphic Organizer, using a Think Aloud like the one below:

    Think Aloud

    The plot is based on Parkers struggle with stage fright. She practices her lines every day and even reads them to her dog, but still she gets nervous. The night of the play is the storys climax, when Darice, the plays star, gets stage fright. In comforting her, Parker loses her own nervousness. These are details about the plot.

    Practice the SkillEncourage students to share examples of other stories in which the story structure shows how characters struggle with a personal problem and solve it.

    Writing Prompt: Thinking Beyond the TextHave students write a response to the prompt on page 6. Remind them that when they think beyond the text, they use their personal knowledge to reach new understandings.

    Assessment Prompts In the last paragraph on page 2 what does Parker felt her heart race mean?

    Parkers main problem is that she


    Which sentences from the story show that Parker is a girl who does not give up?

    4 Lesson 1: Parkers ProblemGrade 4 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company

    4_305479_BL_LRTG_L01_parkersproblem.indd 4 11/13/09 12:37:33 PM

  • Critical ThinkingRead and answer the questions.

    1. Think within the text How does the set come to life on the


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