Just for Teachers

Reading Eli’s Balloon with Your Students

Eli’s Balloon is a great story to read aloud to your students, or to have them read along. The bold and vivid illustrations help bring Eli’s imagination to life for young readers. Children will get lost in the story and improve their reading skills as they listen to your smooth reading patterns and voice intonations. Children will be asking to hear this story again and again.

Before Reading

Make predictions Ask students to share what they think the story may be about by looking at the cover of the book. You may also choose to do a picture walk with students by quickly flipping through the illustrations to help students get an idea of what may happen in the story. Make a list of their predictions. Remind students that there are no wrong answers. They are simply using the pictures to come up with their own ideas of what the story may be about.

During Reading

Identify Vocabulary As you read, have students identify words in the story that may be familiar to them. Or, you may instead have them identify words in the story that are not familiar. Decide on your approach prior to reading in order to effectively guide students toward the desired outcome. Create a list of familiar/unfamiliar words on the board.

** NOTE: Some words have been highlighted at the end of the story as a guide. However, you can decide what words you want to focus on for your students. After all, no one knows your students better than you. 

Ask Questions You can help students make real-life connections to the story by asking about the different types of careers mentioned in the story (pages 3). Explain each type of career mentioned. Then ask them what jobs/careers they see in their own community. What types of jobs/careers do their families have?

Help students make connections about the different settings in the book. Ask, What is meant by “bad air”? If they are not already familiar with the word pollution, introduce it as a new word and talk with them about what pollution means. As you listen to students’ responses, discuss what they may or may not understand.

Ask questions to check understanding:

♦ Sequence: What happened in the beginning of the story? In the middle? At the end?

♦ Critical Thinking: Why would Eli want to be a balloon instead of a fireman (for example)?

♦ Connection: What types of jobs do you know in your community? 

After Reading

Check Predictions Look back at students’ predictions listed prior to reading the story. For accurate predictions, have students share what clues they saw from the cover/illustrations that helped them predict what the story would be about. If predictions were inaccurate, ask students what they saw in the illustrations that made them choose their prediction.

Check Vocabulary Look back at the unfamiliar word list you created during reading. Did students learn any word meanings from the reading? Focus on context to help students figure out the word meanings on their own. For younger readers, tell them the correct word meanings for each unfamiliar word, then show them the sentence clues they could use to help them figure out the meanings on their own.

Be sure to visit this site frequently for more upcoming releases by Candace Ruffin.

Questions/Comments? Contact the author at Candace_Ruffin@TheWritingCane.com

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