Setting Purpose: From Engagement Text to Decodables | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA G1:S4:C22:L112

Setting Purpose: From Engagement Text to Decodables

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Daily Learning Targets

  • Opening A: I can retell the events from the story: "Pat's Birthday."
  • Opening B (optional): Using evidence from the text, I can answer questions about the story: "Pat's Birthday."
  • Work Time A: I can read high-frequency words and words that "don't play fair." (RF.1.3)
    • I can read first-grade words that "don't play fair" (irregularly spelled words) in isolation.
    • I can decode regularly spelled one-syllable words by mapping graphemes and phonemes.
  • Work Time B: I can read the decodable text: "Pat's Birthday." (RF.1.3)
    • I can decode regularly spelled one-syllable words by segmenting phonemes and blending them to pronounce a word whose meaning I recognize.
    • I can use what I know about the types of syllables to decode (read) a two-syllable word.
    • I can read first-grade words that "don't play fair" (irregularly spelled words) in text.
    • I can decode a word with a vowel in the middle and a silent "e" at the end.
    • I can read words with an "-s," "-ed," and "-ing" ending.
    • I can decode words with other vowel patterns like "igh" and r-controlled vowels.
    • I can decode a word with a vowel team (two vowels that make a long vowel sound) in the middle.

Ongoing Assessment

  • Observe students during Work Time. Determine whether they can decode CVVC words and identify familiar sounds in or automatically read high-frequency words.



1. Opening (3-5 minutes)

A. Engagement Text Read-aloud: "Pat's Birthday"

B. Comprehension Conversation (optional)

2. Work Time (10 minutes)

A. High-Frequency Words: "today," "always," "laugh," "both"

B. Decodable Reader: Partner Search and Read

3. Closing and Assessment (2 minutes)

A. Reflecting on Learning

4. Differentiated Small Group Instruction and Rotations (40-45 minutes)

In Advance

  • Prepare:
    • Comprehension Conversation questions (if different from suggested questions)
    • High-Frequency Word Cards
    • Interactive Word Wall (one for display)
    • Snapshot Assessment (optional; one per student)
  • Predetermine partnerships for retelling during Opening A and Work Time B.


Key: Lesson-Specific Vocabulary (L); Text-Specific Vocabulary (T)

  • decode, blend, proficient, skills, vowel team, high-frequency (L)
  • calendar, nods, cotton balls (T)


  • Enlarged Decodable Reader: "Pat's Birthday" (one to display)
  • Engagement Text: "Pat's Birthday" (one for teacher read-aloud)
  • Movable letters (from Lesson 96)
  • High-Frequency Word Cards (one of each; for teacher to place on Interactive Word Wall)
  • Interactive Word Wall (one to display)
  • Decodable Reader: "Pat's Birthday" (one per student)
  • Highlighters (one per student and one for teacher)
  • Highlighter tape (optional; for the teacher to use to highlight the Decodable Reader)
  • Snapshot Assessment (optional; one per student)


OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Engagement Text Read-aloud: "Pat's Birthday"

  • (Suggested transition song, sung to the tune of "The More We Get Together"):

"Gather round together, together, together. It's time to hear a story, a story, a story. It's time to hear a story and say what you've learned."

  • Display Enlarged Decodable Reader: "Pat's Birthday."
  • Begin a read-aloud of the Engagement Text: "Pat's Birthday":

1. Teacher reads the story aloud once or twice without interruption, pointing to the accompanying illustration card for each section.

2. Students turn to a partner and retell the story in their own words.

  • Consider providing a copy of the Decodable Reader to students who need help retelling the story. The illustrations in the reader will show the sequence of the story; students can simply retell the details based on what they see in the illustrations.

B. Comprehension Conversation (optional)

  • Teacher asks the following suggested comprehension questions:
    • Recall:

"What does Pat say she wants for her birthday?" (snow)

"What is the narrator's plan for Pat's birthday?" (use cotton to make pretend snow)

"What does grandma do for Pat's birthday?" (makes a cake with a snowman)

    • Vocabulary and Language:

"In this story, Pat keeps asking, 'Today?' What does she mean when she asks that?" (She wants to know if today is her birthday.)

    • Digging Deeper: Extension Questions:

"What word or words could we use to describe the narrator in this story?" (Various responses: "nice," "kind," "helpful," "thoughtful.")

"What did the narrator do that supports that description?" (Text-based responses. Example: "made pretend snow for her birthday.")

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. High-Frequency Words: "today," "always," "laugh," "both"

  • (Suggested transition song, sung to the tune of "The More We Get Together"):

"Now it's time to learn high-frequency words together, it's time to learn about words readers and writers use a lot."

  • Begin the High-Frequency Words instructional practice. See Setting Purpose: From Engagement Text to Decodables lessons from Modules 1-2 for a more detailed description of the procedure.
  • Pulling decodable parts of a word down together, as described in step 2, moves students away from segmenting every sound separately to decode the word. Students are using more complete letter-sound connections when they are able to see words in more consolidated chunks. This includes:
    • Syllables (example: “to” and “day” in the word “today”)
    • Phonograms (example: “ay” representing the sound /ā/)
    • Suffixes (example: “-ing”)
  • For ELLs and students who may need additional support: Consider providing picture cards of nouns in “Pat’s Birthday” to aid comprehension.

B. Decodable Reader: Partner Search and Read

  • (Suggested transition song, sung to the tune of “The More We Get Together”):

“Now you will read a story, a story, a story. Now you will read a story with words that you know.”

  • Begin the Decodable Reader: Partner Search and Read instructional practice. See Setting Purpose: From Engagement Text to Decodables lessons from Modules 1–2 for a more detailed description of the procedure.

1. Partners search for high-frequency words in the Decodable Reader: “Pat’s Birthday” together and highlight in their own book.

2. Teacher circulates to help partners find words, focusing especially on those words that “don’t play fair.”

3. Teacher says: “Now you are ready to read the Decodable Reader with your partner. Some of the words in the story will be familiar because you have learned them in previous lessons. And some of the words you will see for the first time, but don’t worry: Each of the words that you will see for the first time includes only the vowel spelling patterns that you have learned. So, you just need to say the sound that goes with each of the letters you see in the word, then blend them together to read the word. You may even need to be syllable sleuths.”

4. Teacher models with the word “Friday”:

      • Locate the vowels “i” and “a.”
      • Notice that the “a” is teamed with a “y,” so it must say
      • Look between the vowels to find the consonant “d.”
      • Divide before the consonant.
      • Recognize and pronounce the first syllable (the open syllable “Fri”) and the second syllable (“day”).

5. Students read “Pat’s Birthday” with a partner. Partners may take turns (by page or whole text), read in unison, or both.

  • If readers in the Pre-Alphabetic or Early Partial Alphabetic phases need help finding identified letters/digraphs, consider providing Letter Cards as support. The students can hold the letter next to each page and find the letter shape that matches.
  • If readers in the Pre-Alphabetic or Partial Alphabetic phase need additional help finding the high-frequency words, consider allowing a reader in the Full or Consolidated Alphabetic phase to help them. Or consider asking them to find the beginning letter of the word instead of the whole word.
  • Consider having students locate and highlight the vowel teams "ay" and "ow."
  • As an extension for readers in the Late Full or Consolidated Alphabetic Phases, consider providing a whiteboard. Direct students to write a word that begins with the letter being searched or a sentence with the high-frequency word being searched.
  • If readers need support with words that "don't play fair," direct them to the Interactive Word Wall. Or have them read the rest of the sentence and think about which high-frequency word would make sense in the blank.

Closing & Assessments

ClosingMeeting Students' Needs

A. Reflecting on Learning

  • Emphasize that successful learners keep track of and reflect on their own learning. Point out that they are doing this each time they consider how what they did today helps them become more proficient readers.
  • Invite students to reflect and share with a partner (or whole group). Ask:

“What did you do today that is helping you become a more proficient reader?” (Responses will vary. Example: “I matched sounds to groups of letters that I knew. For example, I knew the letters ‘ay’ together say /ā/.”)

  • For students who need additional support organizing their ideas: Provide sentence frames. Examples:
    • "When I heard a word, I knew it was a _____."
    • "When I see an 's' on the end of the word, I know _____."
    • "When my partner ______, I ______."

Differentiated Small Groups: Work with Teacher

Suggested Plan: Teacher works with students in the Pre-Alphabetic, Partial Alphabetic, and Full Alphabetic groups. Students in the Consolidated Alphabetic group do not work with the teacher today.

Note: Groups not working with the teacher at a given time should be engaged in purposeful independent rotation work. Refer to the Independent and Small Group Work Guidance document for more details (see K-2 Skills Resource Manual).


  • Aim small group instruction at building students' knowledge and skills of letter identification and phonological awareness.
  • Use the Assessment Conversion chart to determine appropriate Kindergarten lessons and Activity Bank ideas to use in daily small group instruction.
  • Consider using the Decodable Reader from the whole group lesson as a resource during this time. Example:
    • Teacher identifies a grapheme or phoneme (from the current cycle or based on the needs of the group). Students look for grapheme. Student volunteer identifies the grapheme, makes the sound, and possibly practices proper formation (skywriting or whiteboard).

Partial Alphabetic:

  • Students in Partial Alphabetic (PA) phase may need to spend more time applying the Syllable and Suffix Sleuth strategies in the Decodable Reader than the whole group lesson provides. If so, small group work may include extended practice of work time.
  • Suggestions for working with students at the early to middle PA phase:
    • Spend time on lessons and/or patterns from a prior cycle that may need more practice. This might include using the Decodable Reader from that cycle. Consider using the Assessment Conversion chart to determine an appropriate prior cycle.
    • Prepare short decodable sentences with a mix of single syllable CVVC words. Example: "I can play with my bow."
  • Teacher cuts apart the decodable sentences and students reconstruct them. Separating the onset from the rime will support visual analysis of words in larger chunks. Example: "I c/an pl/ay w/ith my b/ow."
  • Related Activity Bank suggestions:
    • Any Activity Bank activity from the Vowels category (V)

Full Alphabetic:

  • Check in with Accountable Independent Reading.
  • Follow up with Word Lists and exit tickets. Analyze words that were more challenging and discuss why.
  • Extend the work with the Decodable Reader: "Pat's Birthday," highlighting successful decoding strategies and working on any words that may have been more challenging.

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