Shared Reading: Problem at the Park

Written by Kim Toffan
Illustrated by Leanne Franson

Text Type: Non-fiction: Retell—Account

Summary: When Mei and her cousin go to the amusement park, a problem arises. Mei dictates what rides they go on until her cousin finally suggests that this situation isn’t fair and it is his turn to choose the ride. The book ends with everyone happily enjoying the cousin’s pick—the log ride.

Text Features
• enlarged, different typeface for sound effect
• speech bubble

Visual Literacy
• map of amusement park
• photo of day’s action (p. 8)

Print Concepts
• consistent placement of print at the top of each page, with illustrations below
• return sweep on sentences on most pages
• repetitive language
• punctuation: periods, commas, and exclamation marks
• capitalization of names


Reading Strategies

• a range of comprehension strategies are integrated throughout the lesson
(Analyzing, Making Connections, Predicting, Inferring, Evaluating)
• comprehension purpose for reading focuses on Analyzing

Working with Words
• comprehending vocabulary from context and pictures

Assessment Opportunities
Note each student’s ability to:
• attend to print
• analyze visual information on a map
• infer meaning from pictures
• ask and respond to questions
• apply the inquiry question to the problem situation and solution

Time: approximately 20 minutes


We’ve learned about many different ways we can solve problems. Are somes ways better than others? What advice would you give a friend who had a problem?

Establishing the Inquiry Focus
  • Ask students to think of what they have learned so far about ways to solve problems. [Self-monitoring]
  • Today we are going to read a book in which two cousins have a problem. You might have had a similar problem with one of your family members or a friend. Let’s read to find out if we can learn any new ways to solve problems from this story.

    Prepare the way for further inquiry to explore other options for solving everyday situations that may be problematic.
Activating and Building Background Knowledge
  • The children in this book are going to an ‘amusement park.’ ‘Amusement’ is another word for ‘fun.’ Have you ever been to an amusement park? What might you find at this type of park? How is it different than a neighbourhood park?

    Ask students to explain what an amusement park is and discuss their experiences at this type of park. If students have no experience with amusement parks, they may have attended a fair or other event where there were rides or different attractions. [Making connections]
  • If you were at an amusement park with your family, what could happen to cause a problem? What might be the problem in this story?

    Explain that the title of the book is Problem at the Park and provide the names of the author and illustrator. Have students consider the types of problems that might occur while visiting an amusement park. Have students turn to a partner to discuss their predictions. Hold a class discussion to share their predictions. [Predicting]
  • Do you see a problem? How is the girl feeling? How do you know? How is the boy feeling? How do you know? What do you think they are saying to each other? What do you think the problem is?

    Share the illustration on the front cover of the book and instruct students to look carefully at the children’s faces and body language for clues as to what is happening in the picture. [Inferring]
  • Using boy and girl puppets, invite students to role-play what might be happening.
Setting a Purpose for Reading
  • Ask students to read the book with you to discover what the problem at the park is and how this problem might be solved. [Analyzing] Remind students to also check to see if their predictions about the story were accurate.


  • Begin reading Problem at the Park and invite students to join in. (Joining in will likely be limited on the first reading as the text is unfamiliar.) Track the words with your finger or a pointer. When you come to dialogue, change your voice to match the speaker.

Let’s read the map to see what rides are at the amusement park. What ride do you think the girl wants to go on? Why do you think that? What do you think the boy wants to try?

  • Pause to examine the map of Zoomland on page 3. Have students interpret the map by telling what types of rides make up the park. [Analyzing]
  • Mei’s cousin is very upset. Do you think Mei will listen and understand why he is so upset? What do you think she will do? What would you do if you were Mei?

    Continue reading to page 7. Pause and have students think about and interpret what is happening in the picture. Invite students to predict what might happen next. [Predicting/inferring/evaluating]
  • Finish reading the text, using an expressive voice for the enlarged font.


What was the problem at the park? Do you think Mei was being unfair? How was the problem solved?

  • Review what the problem at the park was and how it was resolved. [Analyzing]
  • Discuss who is telling the story in the text and what clues tell readers who the ‘I’ is. [Analyzing/inferring]


Reading Strategies

• a range of comprehension strategies are integrated throughout the lesson
(Analyzing, Making Connections, Inferring, Evaluating)
• comprehension purpose for reading focuses on Inferring

Working with Words
• learning high-frequency words

Assessment Opportunities
Note each student’s ability to:
• show interest in the inquiry
• participate in reading along with you
• demonstrate understanding by dramatizing parts of the text
• make inferences about how characters feel
• evaluate solutions

Time: approximately 20 minutes


Revisiting the Inquiry Focus
  • What did you learn about solving problems from this book (e.g., tell someone how you feel, listen when someone says how they are feeling, take turns)?

    Have students explain what they learned about solving a problem from this text. Ask them to compare the solution with that of The Very Cranky Bear.
Activating and Building Background Knowledge
  • Return to page 3 and review the

    Let’s reread the map on page 3 to discover the rides at Zoomland. Which of the rides would you like to go on?

    types of rides that make up Zoomland amusement park. Involve students in a Think-Pair-Share activity to discuss the types of rides that would be appealing to them. [Making connections]

This time we’ll read the book to find out how the children are feeling at different times throughout the book. We will also think about if there might have been another way for the characters to solve the problem.

Setting a Purpose for Reading
  • Ask students to read the story with you and look carefully for clues in the illustrations to discover how the characters are feeling throughout the text.


  • Encourage participation as you read the text again. Since the language is quite repetitive and there is good picture support, many students will be able to join in with part or all of the rereading.

    As we go through each page, read the text and look carefully at the illustrations for the expressions on the kids’ faces and their body language, or how they’re holding their bodies. How are the children feeling as they go on each ride? When does the problem start to happen?

  • Read the text and model how to examine the illustrations for clues about how the characters are feeling. Discuss your observations. Have students use the text and illustrations to determine how the characters are feeling at different points of the text, when the problem begins, and whether the method the boy used to solve his problem was an effective one. [Inferring/evaluating]
  • How did Mei feel when she realized she was being unfair? How do you know? Was the boy’s method of solving the problem a good one?

    Pause on page 7 to discuss the illustration and how the characters are feeling.
  • Let’s look carefully at this page. The illustrator has created an interesting illustration—we see the boy holding a photo that was taken at the amusement park. What is happening in the photo? What does the photo tell us about the problem at the park?

    Look at the illustration on page 8. Have students explain the perspective shown in the illustration (the boy is holding a photograph that his uncle took of the family on the log ride) and discuss what the photo tells us. [Inferring]


Face your partner. One of you is Mei and one of you is the boy. With your partner, act out what is happening on these two pages and show how they solve the problem.

  • Ask students to join with a partner to discuss how the characters are feeling on pages 6 to 8, and what they might be saying. Then have pairs of students act out what happens on these page, demonstrating the climax of the problem and how it is solved. [Inferring]

    Do you think the boy’s solution was an effective one? Why or why not?

  • Discuss the effectiveness of the solution to the problem in the text. [Evaluating]
  • Brainstorm with students other ways that the problem could have been solved. In pairs, students can act out the other possible solutions (e.g., before they start to go on the rides, the children could decide on who gets to choose the first ride and who gets to choose the next ride).
  • Looking again at page 6, ask students to write an alternate speech bubble for the boy using a speech bubble from Speech Bubble BLM. Have each student cut out one speech bubble shape, then write (or scribe) new dialogue for the boy. Students may wish to write what the boy is feeling or express his problem in another way. Invite students to hold or temporarily stick their speech balloons on the book page and share their writing with the group.
Working with Words
  • This text includes eight words on the Kindergarten high-frequency word list: ‘I,’ ‘to,’ ‘the,’ ‘my,’ ‘We,’ ‘at,’ ‘go,’ ‘it.’ Depending on the time of year and your students´ knowledge of high-frequency words, you may want to concentrate on other simple words found in this text (e.g., ‘see,’ ‘with,’ ‘but’). Have students do the activities listed below with each selected word.
  • Introduce the word and have students be ‘word detectives,’ looking for the ‘magic words’ throughout the text. For example, model how to find the word ‘I’ on page 2 and frame it using Wikki Stix, a cardboard word frame, or coloured acetate strips. Invite students to find this word and continue reading the text looking for ‘I’ on other pages. Have students count the number of times the word is used in the text.
  • Have students do actions to help them remember the letter formation of high-frequency words. Students can chant the letters of each word while doing the following actions: stand on tip-toes with arms extended over head for tall letters, squat down as if sitting for short letters, squat with leg extended for letters with tails.
  • Ask students to use the high-frequency words in sentences (e.g., “I am going to the drama centre today.”).


Reading Strategies

• a range of comprehension strategies are integrated throughout the lesson
(Analyzing, Making Connections, Inferring, Evaluating, Synthesizing)
• comprehension purpose for reading focuses on Making Connections

Working with Words
• building words

Assessment Opportunities
Note each student’s ability to:
• participate in reading along with you
• discuss the text with a partner
• make connections between the text and personal experiences
• build words from letters

Time: approximately 15 minutes


If you had a friend who was tidying a centre and the bin fell over and dumped everything all over the floor, what advice would you give him/her?

Revisiting the Inquiry Focus
  • Ask students to suggest additional ways we can solve problems and add these to the web organizer created at the beginning of the unit. Give students some sample problems, and have them provide advice as to how to solve the problem. Encourage students to share their ideas in a whole group discussion.
Activating and Building Background Knowledge
  • Call on a student to briefly explain what happened in the book. Ask the rest of the class if they agree with this student’s summary, and if there is anything else they think should be added. [Synthesizing]
Setting a Purpose for Reading
  • As we read the text together, think about a time when you had similar feelings to the boy in the story—when you felt things were unfair.

    Instruct students to think about a time when they felt something was unfair, as you reread the text. [Making connections]


  • Reread the book with students. Track the print, alternating between yourself and individual students doing the tracking. Most students should be joining-in more confidently during this third reading.
  • When I come to the comma, I have to pause a little before I read the rest of the sentence. The author has placed the comma in that spot to separate the two ideas.

    Pause on page 4 to discuss how to read the comma. [Analyzing]
  • When do you think I should read the words in the speech bubble? Who is saying those words? How do you know? Let’s read the speech bubble with voices that show how the character is feeling.

    Pause on page 6 to discuss how to read italicized words and when to read the text in the speech bubble. [Analyzing]
  • Here’s another word in italics. What do I do with my voice when I see that? How should I read it? I’m going to read it two different ways. Listen to see if you can hear the difference between the two ways. Which way shows how the author wanted me to say it?

    Continue reading and see if students can determine how to say the word ‘my’ on page 7 and the last two words on page 8. Read the text two different ways, with and without expression, so that they can hear how it affects the meaning of the text. [Analyzing/inferring]


  • Remind students of the purpose for reading. Have them turn and talk with a partner about a time when they felt something was unfair. [Making connections]
    Use the following prompts to guide the discussion:
    • What happened?
    • How did this make you feel?
    • What did you do about it?
  • Invite partners to share their stories about unfair situations and how the problem was solved. Elicit comparisons with the book Problem at the Park.

Working with Words
  • For a demonstration lesson for the following word solving and building activity, see Literacy Place for the Early Years Kindergarten Working with Words Guide, pp. 61-64. See also the reproducible large letter cards and small letter cards on pages 111-128 of the Kindergarten Working with Words Guide. For additional practise sorting words, provide pairs of students with bags containing the words on Word Pattern Sorts BLM. [Building words]

Key Word: wanted
Context: Problem at the Park, pages 4-7

Building Words






Word Pattern Sorts
Words starting with ‘w’ rhyming pattern ‘an’ rhyming pattern ‘en’
Transfer to a Reading Context

  • an (He wants an apple.)
  • tan (I like the colour tan.)
  • ten (There are ten pencils.)
  • den (A bear sleeps in his den.)

Transfer to a Writing Context

  • ran (I want to write ‘I ran down the street.’ Which rhyming pattern will help me spell ‘ran’?)
  • hen (I am writing about the Little Red Hen. Which rhyming pattern will help me spell ‘hen’?)
  • with (I want to write ‘I am going to the movies with my brother.’ What letter does ‘with’ start with?)


Many texts benefit from being reread with students to enable the books to become familiar and to increase participation in the shared reading. Over time, share the pointer with students in turn, so that they demonstrate how to track print in the big book.

Teaching Tip: Rereadings can occur with a whole-class group or in small groups. If you have students who need more support, consider a small-group session using the small versions of the text to provide more individualized assistance.

In each rereading, select ideas from the following three areas based on the needs of your students:

Print Concepts, Book Handling, and Text Features

Where do we start reading? Where is the first letter in that word? (Point to this letter.)… Where do we move to now? (Return sweep to the next line.) Look at the top of the page.

  • Encourage students to participate in using the pointer to track print. Their confidence will develop as the text becomes more familiar. Offer prompts to refine and expand print concepts. [Tracking print]

  • Let’s look at the word ‘Yesterday’ on page 2. It has a big (capital) ‘Y’ at the beginning of the word and a small ‘y’ at the end of the word. Why does the word ‘Yesterday’ begin with a capital letter?

    Focus students’ attention on individual letters and their formations. [Print concepts]

  • Focus on the environmental print in the illustrations and how it helps readers understand the story (e.g., ‘Zoomland,’ ‘Tickets’ (page 2), text on Zoomland map (page 3), ‘Bumper Boats’ (page 6), and ‘Log Ride’ (page 7).
Focusing on Comprehension
  • At the beginning of the story when the children arrived at Zoomland, they looked at the map of the park. How might the story have been different if the characters had not looked at the map?

    Ask students to consider how the story might have changed if the characters hadn’t looked at the map at the beginning of the story. [Evaluating]

  • Let’s look at the illustration on page 3. Mei’s mother has her dog at the park with her. Do you think dogs are usually allowed to enter an amusement park? Why might Mei’s mother be allowed to have her dog in the park?

    Instruct students to look closely at the illustration on page 3 to consider why Mei’s mother is allowed to have her dog in the park. [Analyzing/inferring]

  • On page 5, how is the boy feeling? What is the problem? Why might he feel like this? How could he make himself feel better so that he enjoys his afternoon at the park, just like Mei?

    Have students consider ways to change behaviour to avoid problems like the boy’s in the story. [Evaluating/synthesizing]

  • Display the digital cloze version of the text on the Media Key. Working with the whole class or with a small group of students, reread together and encourage students to supply the missing words (spaces for words highlighted in yellow). You may decide to pause to consider word predictions and prompt, “Does that make sense?” or “Does that sound right?” Then click on the colour-highlighted spot to reveal the word, saying, “Let’s check that out.” An option on the tool bar allows you to create your own cloze versions of the text to meet the needs of the students you are working with. Click on the ‘Help’ button to find out how to use the different features of the digital texts.
Working with Words
  • Choose a word from the story (e.g., ‘fair’) and build rhyming words. Write the word ‘fair’ on a word card and show students how to generate rhyming words by placing various letters or digraphs/blends in front of the rime ‘air’ (e.g., add ‘h’ in the front of ‘air’ to make ‘hair’). Discuss how words like ‘bear’ and ‘care’ rhyme with ‘fair’ but have different spellings. Record the rhyming words in a list on chart paper or on an interactive whiteboard.

Teaching Tip: After several rereadings, the big book, six small books, and the fluent reading of the text can be transferred to centres. They can be used for rereading and practising print tracking, for building fluency of an increasingly familiar text, and for extending comprehension through story retelling. Provide puppets or masks to help students act out the scenario in the story.


You may consider using some of the following suggestions to extend the inquiry.

  • Continue to add information to the chart created during the Read Aloud so that students can compare texts’ problems and solutions. They can begin to evaluate the effectiveness of various solutions.
Problem and Solution Chart




Other Ways to Solve

The Very Cranky Bear

– Bear was cranky because he wasn’t able to sleep so he chased the other animals out of his cave

– Sheep listened to Bear and made a pillow to help him sleep


Problem at the Park

– Mei was not letting her cousin choose a ride and he felt this was unfair

– The boy told Mei how he felt, she listened, and they went on the ride he wanted to go on



  • How is Little Miss Muffet feeling? Why might Miss Muffet want to sit in that spot to eat her breakfast? How is the Spider feeling? Why might the spider not want Miss Muffet to sit there?

    Involve students in dramatizing conflict situations using familiar nursery rhymes or fairytales. Students can role-play or use puppets to act out the problem and various solutions. For example, chant the nursery rhyme, “Little Miss Muffet.” Ask students what the problem is in this situation (Miss Muffet was trying to eat her breakfast and a spider scared her away). Hold a discussion about how each character would be feeling and what they wanted in the situation. Invite students to share ideas about each
    character’s feelings and perspective in the situation. Hold a group discussion about how Little Miss Muffet and the spider could solve this problem. Have students use puppets to role-play various scenarios.
  • Have small groups of students study the map on page 3. Ask each student to decide which ride they would like to go on most of all. Have students discuss, then write or draw a plan to show how their group would visit the amusement park and make sure that everyone had fun.
  • You may wish to introduce or review some of the Conversation Cards from the Kindergarten Oral Language Kit. Have students identify the problem in each photograph and then suggest possible solutions (e.g., Emotions/Interactions; #1 – boys wrestling; #3 – arguing sisters; #8 – boy with dad). Use the following prompts to promote discussions:
    • What is happening in the photograph?
    • What might the problem be?
    • What solutions can you think of that will make everyone feel better?