Close Read-aloud, Session 1: Stone Girl, Bone Girl | EL Education Curriculum

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ELA G2:M2:U1:L2

Close Read-aloud, Session 1: Stone Girl, Bone Girl

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These are the CCS Standards addressed in this lesson:

  • RL.2.1: Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.
  • RL.2.7: Use information gained from the illustrations and words in a print or digital text to demonstrate understanding of its characters, setting, or plot.
  • W.2.8: Recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.

Daily Learning Targets

  • I can answer questions about the book Stone Girl, Bone Girl using details from the illustrations and text. (RL.2.1, RL.2.7, W.2.8)

Ongoing Assessment

  • During Work Time A, use the Reading Literature Checklist (RL.2.1, RL.2.7) to track students' progress toward these reading standards (see Assessment Overview and Resources).


AgendaTeaching Notes

1. Opening

A. Poem and Movement: "She Sells Seashells" (10 minutes)

2. Work Time

A. Close Read-aloud, Session 1: Stone Girl, Bone Girl (25 minutes)

B. Learning How to Answer Selected Response Questions (15 minutes)

3. Closing and Assessment

A. Working on Becoming Effective Learners: Perseverance and Initiative (10 minutes)

Purpose of lesson and alignment to standards:

  • This lesson is the first of six in a series of close read-alouds for the text Stone Girl, Bone Girl. In this lesson, students are introduced to Mary Anning, the real-life fossil hunter. Students use the content knowledge to kick-start their study on paleontologists and fossils. This close read-aloud provides in-depth practice on multiple literacy skills, including retelling a story and identifying characters' responses to events.
  • During the close read-aloud, students practice looking closely at pictures and word choices when examining small sections of the text read aloud. Close read-alouds by definition are with complex texts, so the Close Read-aloud Guide provides intentional questions to help students with comprehension. For additional information on close read-alouds, see the Teaching Notes in Module 1, Unit 1, Lesson 6.
  • This lesson introduces students to selected response questions (SRQs). Students are introduced to multiple strategies to help them answer an SRQ in preparation for the Unit 1 Assessment. In this and future modules, students will practice these types of questions in preparation for assessments in third grade and beyond.
  • In the Closing, students revisit perseverance, a habit of character, and learn about a new habit of character, initiative. Students identify these two habits of character while participating in the close read-aloud of Stone Girl, Bone Girl. Students also see a more personal application while talking about new challenges in the classroom, such as SRQs.

How this lesson builds on previous work:

  • Students build skills as close readers by participating in the third close read-aloud of the year.
  • Students review and add onto their knowledge of habits of character.
  • Continue to use Goal 1 and 2 Conversation Cues to promote productive and equitable conversation.

Areas in which students may need additional support:

  • In the Opening, students read a tongue twister. For some, this may feel uncomfortable and silly. To support students, give them strategies to deal with their feelings (belly breaths, closing their eyes) so they can maintain focus as a learner.
  • In Work Time B, students learn about selected response questions. For some, learning the strategies to use with this question type might seem overwhelming. For support, coach students through the process of answering the question, including reading the question and answer choices aloud.

Down the road:

  • Students will use their skills in answering selected response questions on the Unit 1 Assessment.
  • Stone Girl, Bone Girl is a first glance into the content of the module. Students will go on to read informational texts about paleontologists and eventually more about fossils and how the earth changes slowly.
  • During the close read-aloud, students contribute to a class anchor chart and complete a cumulative writing task by explaining how Mary Anning showed perseverance and/or initiative in response to challenges in her life.

In Advance

  • Prepare:
    • Technology necessary to display the map of Europe to show students where Lyme Regis, England, is on a map. If technology is unavailable, consider printing out the map and marking the location of Lyme Regis.
    • Strategies to Answer Selected Response Questions anchor chart (see supporting materials).
  • The pages of Stone Girl, Bone Girl are not numbered. For instructional purposes, the page that begins with "When Mary Anning was a baby..." should be considered page 1 and all pages thereafter numbered accordingly.
  • Preview the Close Read-aloud Guide: Stone Girl, Bone Girl to familiarize yourself with what will be required of students. Note that the Close Read-aloud Guide is divided into sessions. Complete only Session 1 in this lesson, as students will complete the remaining sessions in Lessons 2-7.
  • Post: Learning targets, "She Sells Seashells" poem, and Working to Become Effective Learners anchor chart.

Tech and Multimedia

Consider using an interactive white board or document camera to display lesson materials.

  • Opening: Record the whole group reading the "She Sells Seashells" poem and post it on a teacher web page or on a portfolio app like Seesaw for students to listen to at home with their families. Most devices (cellphones, tablets, laptop computers) come equipped with free video and audio recording apps or software.
  • Work Time B: Create the Strategies to Answer Selected Response Questions anchor chart in an online format--for example, a Google Doc--for display and for families to access at home to reinforce these skills.

Supporting English Language Learners

Supports guided in part by CA ELD Standards 2.I.B.6 and 2.I.C.10

Important points in the lesson itself

  • The basic design of this lesson supports ELLs with opportunities to answer text-dependent questions orally and to develop strategies for answering selected response questions.
  • ELLs may find answering the selected response questions challenging, because the wording of questions may be difficult to decipher. In addition, the multiple answer choices for each question may be a lot of language to process. Consider gradual release in approaching selected response questions. Before looking at the answer choices, take time to help students deconstruct the questions. Having students put the question in their own words can also be helpful. An explicit focus on adjectives may allow students to visualize each answer.

Levels of support

For lighter support:

  • During Work Time B, provide time for students to put the selected response questions in their own words with a partner before looking at the answer choices. This will focus students on understanding the question before attempting to respond. (Example: "What is the setting of the story? = "Where did the story take place?")

For heavier support:

  • During Work Time A, use the Adjectives Construction board introduced in Lesson 1 to introduce additional adjectives (examples: steep, pointy, high) to the board. Display pictures that correspond to the adjectives, or provide a word bank for nouns. Encourage students to create adjective/noun phrases with their new adjectives (examples: pointy cliff, giant sea monster).
  • Consider adding visuals to the Strategies to Answer Selected Response Questions anchor chart, including a picture for each strategy.  

Universal Design for Learning

  • Multiple Means of Representation (MMR): In the Opening, students follow along with the poem "She Sells Seashells." The terms "seashore" and "seashells" may be unfamiliar to some students. Support their comprehension by providing definitions of these terms, along with pictures. To activate background knowledge, ask students to recall any experiences they may have had with the seashore and seashells. Some may have difficulty following along with the enlarged display copy of "She Sells Seashells," so consider providing individual copies of the poem.
  • Multiple Means of Action & Expression (MMAE): In Work Time A, students listen to a close read-aloud of Stone Girl, Bone Girl, and then share their responses to prompts about the text. Before reading, provide white boards and dry-erase markers as an option for students to record (drawing or writing) their ideas. This helps to scaffold active listening for key details.
  • Multiple Means of Engagement (MME): During the Think-Pair-Share in Work Time A (before refocusing students whole group), increase mastery-oriented feedback by providing feedback that is frequent, timely, and specific to individual pairs of students. (Example: "Right, the main idea of the text is about a girl who looks for fossils. You have the 'who' and the 'what' of the main idea, which will give you a good idea about why the author used the title Stone Girl, Bone Girl.")


Key: Lesson-Specific Vocabulary (L): Text-Specific Vocabulary (T): Vocabulary Used in Writing (W)


  • narrative nonfiction, selected response, strategies, initiative (L)


  • "She Sells Seashells" (one to display)
  • Map of Europe (one to display)
  • Close Read-aloud Guide: Stone Girl, Bone Girl (Session 1; for teacher reference)
    • Stone Girl, Bone Girl (one to display; for teacher read-aloud)
    • Unit 1 Guiding Questions anchor chart (from Lesson 1; one to display)
    • Reading Literature Checklist (for teacher reference; see Assessment Overview and Resources)
  • Intro to Selected Response Questions sheet (one per student and one to display)
  • Strategies to Answer Selected Response Questions anchor chart (new; teacher-created; see supporting materials)
  • Working to Become Effective Learners anchor chart (begun in Module 1; added to during the Closing; see supporting materials)


Each unit in the K-2 Language Arts Curriculum has one standards-based assessment built in. The module concludes with a performance task at the end of Unit 3 to synthesize their understanding of what they accomplished through supported, standards-based writing.


OpeningMeeting Students' Needs

A. Poem and Movement: "She Sells Seashells" (10 minutes)

  • Gather students together in the whole group area.
  • Display "She Sells Seashells."
  • Say:

"I am going to read a very silly-sounding poem called a tongue twister. The poem may make us laugh, but we will need to do our best to calmly get back to being good readers and listeners."

  • Read the poem aloud slowly, fluently, with expression, and without interruption. Give students specific, positive feedback for returning to their learning quickly after being a little silly. (Example: "I noticed Marcus laughed a little and then took a deep breath so he could continue listening.")
  • Invite students to turn and talk with an elbow partner:

"What was this poem about?" (a girl selling seashells at the beach)

  • Tell students that this poem was written about a real person named Mary Anning and is about part of her life.
  • Display the map of Europe and point out Lyme Regis in southern England (by the seashore).
  • Encourage students to take some time to try reading the poem aloud to themselves.
  • After a minute of independent practice, invite students to slowly read the poem together as a class.
  • Invite students to stand and reread the poem together, keeping the beat with clapping hands or stomping feet.
  • After rereading with movement, invite students to sit.
  • Direct students' attention to the posted learning targets and read the first one aloud:
    • "I can answer questions about the book Stone Girl, Bone Girl using details from the illustrations and text."
  • Using a total participation technique, invite responses from the group:

"What will you be doing to meet this learning target?" (reading Stone Girl, Bone Girl and using the words and pictures to answer questions)

  • Remind students of the Unit 1 guiding question: "What do paleontologists do?" Share that Mary Anning was a real-life paleontologist and the book may also help us learn about what paleontologists do.
  • Invite students to put on their best pair of listening ears to get ready for the read-aloud.
  • Consider providing individual copies of the poem with illustrations to support students' comprehension as they hear it read aloud and try to read it aloud to themselves. (MMR)
  • For ELLs: As you introduce the poem, ask students to repeat the words seashell and seashore. Ask them what individual words they hear in these words (sea + shell, sea + shore). Remind them that compound words are two or more words put together to make one word. Ask them to predict the meaning of these compound words based on their word parts. Show a picture of each as they predict the meaning. Celebrate their success in determining the meaning by using their knowledge of each word part.
  • For ELLs: Remind students that a detail is one piece of information about something. Invite students to give an example of a detail they used when describing their Tea Party pictures in Lesson 1. Focus students on the plural -s, noting that they will look for more than one detail as they answer questions today. 

Work Time

Work TimeMeeting Students' Needs

A. Close Read-aloud, Session 1: Stone Girl, Bone Girl (25 minutes)

  • Guide students through the close read-aloud for Stone Girl, Bone Girl using the Close Read-aloud Guide: Stone Girl, Bone Girl (Session 1; for teacher reference). Consider using the Reading Literature Checklist during the close read-aloud (see Assessment Overview and Resources). 
  • As students share, provide options for expression and communication by offering sentence frames. Example: "I think the story is about _____ because _____." (MMAE)
  • For ELLs: Focus students' attention on the title, Stone Girl, Bone Girl. Ask students to visualize this girl. Refer to the Adjectives Construction board, introduced in Lesson 1, and model a think-aloud to remind students that adjectives come before nouns in English. Example: "Can we say mountain snow-capped? Why?" (No. The adjective has to come before the noun.) Ask students to think about what the author means by Stone Girl, Bone Girl during the close read-aloud.
  • For ELLs: Ask students to generate adjectives to describe the cliff (high, pointy, steep) and the sea monster (giant, huge, enormous). Add them to the Adjectives Construction board and discuss the shades of meaning for big that have been discussed in the unit so far.

B. Learning How to Answer Selected Response Questions (15 minutes)

  • Display the Intro to Selected Response Questions sheet.
  • Using a total participation technique, invite responses from the group:

"What do you notice about the questions?" (many answers; the answers have letters in the front; there isn't space to write an answer)

  • Tell students that sometimes teachers in school and professors in college want to check students' learning in a different way than just having the student write out an answer. These questions, called selected response questions, list a few answers so that you can choose the right one. There are some strategies to help you choose the right answer.
  • Define strategies (plans to help you do something, like answer a question).
  • Direct students' attention to the Strategies to Answer Selected Response Questions anchor chart.
  • Invite students to read the top of the page aloud with you:
    • "Read the question very carefully."
  • Invite students to turn and talk with an elbow partner:

"Why would you need to read the question very carefully?" (so we know what the question is asking)

  • Say:

"After you read the question carefully, then you can try one or more of these strategies to help you choose the right answer."

  • Invite students to read aloud each bullet together.
  • Focus students' attention back to the Intro to Selected Response Questions sheet.
  • Tell students you would like their help using the strategies to answer the first question.
  • Call on a volunteer to tell you how to begin. (Read the question carefully.)
  • Read the question aloud and say: "I know this question is asking me to choose where this story took place."
  • Call on another volunteer to read aloud the first strategy to try:
    • "Cover the answers and think of your own."
  • Think aloud while modeling the strategy. Say: "I don't remember the name of the place, but I do remember there was a shore and big cliffs. There was even a picture of Mary and her dad standing by the cliffs looking at cows in the water."
  • Uncover the answers and read through them.
  • Draw a circle around the entire answer for letter A.
  • Tell students they will get a chance to do the last two with a partner at their workspace.
  • Transition students to their workspace and distribute the Intro to Selected Response Questions sheet.
  • Invite students to follow along as you read the question aloud:
    • "What is this story mostly about?"
  • Encourage students to work with their partner to use a strategy to answer the question together.
  • Circulate to help students read through the answers as necessary. Refer partners to the anchor chart and encourage them to try a strategy to help them choose an answer. Remind students of selected response-specific things, like choosing only one answer. Choose a student pair using a strategy to share out with the class when everyone is finished.
  • Tell students to indicate when they have finished by placing their hands on their head.
  • Invite the student pair chosen earlier to share out how they found their answer.
  • Answer clarifying questions. If necessary, model answering the question with the strategy of crossing out incorrect answers by reading through each answer and thinking aloud about why it is wrong and then crossing it out.
  • Repeat the same process with the last question on the sheet, including debriefing the process and asking for any questions. Remind students that they can use more than one of the strategies and may want to use them all.
  • When directing attention to the Strategies to Answer Selected Response Questions anchor chart, provide options for comprehension by guiding information processing with each strategy listed separately on index cards. Consider providing visual cues for each strategy. (MMR)
  • For ELLs: Encourage students to rephrase each question--and answer it--before they read each answer choice. Example: "Think about what the question is asking.  Look at the first question: 'What is the setting of the story?' How else can we ask this question?" (Where does the story take place?)
  • As students answer the questions, provide options for sustaining effort and persistence by varying the number of questions to be answered so that students are appropriately challenged and optimally motivated. (MME)
  • For ELLs: After modeling the first selected response strategy of reading questions carefully, ask students to close their eyes and visualize the setting from the story. Have students think of the adjectives they used to describe the setting (the cliffs) as they visualize. 

Closing & Assessments

ClosingMeeting Students' Needs

A. Working on Becoming Effective Learners: Perseverance and Initiative (10 minutes)

  • Display the Working to Become Effective Learners anchor chart and read the definition of perseverance aloud.
  • Tell students they have learned how to answer selected response questions today and will continue practicing that skill in days to come, and that will take perseverance!
  • Invite students to turn and talk with an elbow partner:

"Where or when have you seen someone showing perseverance?" (Responses will vary, but may include: My sister showed perseverance learning to ride a bike; my partner showed perseverance reading out a difficult word; Mary Anning showed perseverance in the story.)

  • If Mary Anning was not mentioned, remind students that she showed perseverance many times in the story.
  • Tell students there is another habit of character Mary showed called initiative and add this to the Working to Become Effective Learners anchor chart.
  • Say:

"Showing initiative means that you notice what needs to be done, and you do it."

  • Add the definition to the anchor chart.
  • Give an example from class or from school. (Example: "Benjamin showed initiative when he knew our classroom needed to be tidied up and so he picked up the crayons.")
  • Invite students to turn and talk with an elbow partner:

"When have you seen someone showing initiative?" (Responses will vary, but may include: I showed initiative when I cleaned up my bedroom before my mom asked; my brother showed initiative when he came home and got his homework done.)

  • Challenge students to listen for examples of perseverance and initiative when you reread the book tomorrow!
  • When linking the habits of character to today's learning, foster a sense of community and provide options for physical action by inviting the whole class to join you in a special applause (e.g., raise the roof, firecracker, hip-hip hooray). (MMAE, MME)
  • For ELLs: Model the turn-and-talk sentence frames to prompt discussion. Invite students to use the frames. Examples:
    • "_______ showed perseverance when ____."
    • "I saw ______ showing initiative when ______."

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