Shared Reading: The Gingerbread Kids

Written by Sheilah Currie
Illustrated by Joe Weissmann

Text Type: Fiction: Narrative—Rhyming Story

Summary: Annabelle is new in town and she wants to join a group of children in their game of gumball. The children won’t let Annabelle play with them because they think she is too small and doesn’t know how to play. Annabelle is upset but decides to try to think of different ways that she could solve her problem. At the end, Annabelle has solved her problem and the reader is left to decide which of the solutions she chose.

Text Features
• different, larger typeface used for emphasis
• thought bubbles

Visual Literacy
• two-page illustrations

Print Concepts
• consistent placement of print at the bottom of each page, with illustrations above
• return sweep on sentences on each page
• rhyming pattern
• punctuation: periods, commas, exclamation marks, and quotation 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 Predicting/analyzing

Working with Words
• comprehend vocabulary from context and pictures

Assessment Opportunities
Note each student’s ability to:
• join in with echo reading
• predict solutions to the problem
• interpret illustrations (including thought bubbles)
• apply the inquiry question to the problem situation and solution

Time: approximately 20 minutes


Establishing the Inquiry Focus

Let’s look at our Problem and Solution Chart to review what we have learned about solving problems. Do you think the solutions in these stories were good ones? Why or why not?

  • Revisit the Problem and Solution Chart to review what students have learned about problems and effective solutions. [Self-monitoring/evaluating]
  • Tell students that they are going to be learning about some other ways to solve problems in the text they are about to read.
Activating and Building Background Knowledge
  • Show students the cover of the book and read the title and the names of the author and illustrator. Encourage students to explain what gingerbread is and whether they think this book is going to be a true story (non-fiction) or a made-up story (fiction).

    Look carefully at the picture on the front cover. What are the gingerbread kids doing? Let’s look at the faces and body language of each of the kids? How is each kid feeling? Why might he or she be feeling that way?

  • Have students examine the picture and hold a discussion about what the children are doing and how they are feeling. [Predicting/analyzing]

  • Refer to the back cover of the book. Have students examine the illustration and read the text to them. Confirm predictions about the front cover and invite students to make further predictions about why Annabelle might be feeling so sad.
  • Think about a time when you have felt sad because you were left out of an activity. Pair with your partner and tell each other what happened. Be ready to share your exeriences with the whole group.

    Ask students to join together with a partner for a Think-Pair-Share activity to discuss a time when they have felt sad or left out.

Setting a Purpose for Reading
  • Ask students to read the story with you to discover more about Annabelle’s problem and how she might have solved this problem. Tell students that they should also be ready to make predictions as they read. [Analyzing/predicting]


  • Read the text with enthusiasm and expression, encouraging the students to join in on the rhyming words.

    How do you think Annabelle is feeling? What do you think she should do now?

  • Pause at page 5 and ask students to make predictions about what Annabelle will do to solve her problem. [Predicting]
  • What do you think Annabelle will do to solve her problem happily?

    Continue reading, then pause on page 9 to invite students to make more predictions. [Predicting]

  • On this page, the illustration contains a thought bubble to show us what Annabelle is thinking. What can you tell she is thinking about from this illustration?

    Continue reading, pausing on each page to discuss what is happening in Annabelle’s thought bubbles before reading the text. [Analyzing]
  • What happens at the end of this story? Why do you think the author doesn’t tell us which one of the solutions Annabelle tried?

    On page 16, ask students to recall the outcome of Annabelle’s problem, noting that the text doesn’t tell us how she solved it. Prompt students to reflect on why the author doesn’t tell readers exactly how Annabelle solved her problem. [Analyzing/evaluating]


What was Annabelle’s problem in this story? What were the different things she thought she could do to solve her problem happily?

  • Review the purpose for reading by asking students to describe Annabelle’s problem and her solutions to the problem. [Analyzing]


Reading Strategies

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

Working with Words
• rhyming word recognition

Assessment Opportunities
Note each student’s ability to:
• show interest in the inquiry
• participate in reading along with you
• make connections to own experiences
• interpret illustrations (thought bubbles)
• demonstrate understanding of text through dramatization

Time: approximately 15 minutes


Revisiting the Inquiry Focus
  • Review the problems and how they were solved in The Very Cranky Bear and in Problem at the Park. [Making connections]

    What was Annabelle’s problem in this story? Instead of feeling sad, she decided to do something to solve her problem. What did she do?

  • Discuss Annabelle’s problem in the book and what she did to help herself solve the problem.

Activating and Building Background Knowledge
  • Have students think about Annabelle’s problem and determine what they would do in Annabelle’s situation. [Making connections]

Setting a Purpose for Reading
  • Ask students to read the text with you to learn more about the solutions that Annabelle thought of. [Analyzing]


  • Encourage participation as you read the text again. You may wish to pause at rhyming words to have students join in with the appropriate words.
  • Pause on pages 10–11, 12–13, and 14–15 and have students verbalize what is happening in each of the thought bubble illustrations.


  • Review each of Annabelle’s solutions by examining the illustrations and rereading the text. [Analyzing]
  • Annabelle is new in town and feeling left out because the children won’t let her play the game with them. What would you do if you were feeling left out and someone wouldn’t let you play a game with them?

    Have students take turns acting out what would happen in each of Annabelle’s three solutions. [Inferring]

  • As students move through centres, note any problem situations and encourage individuals or groups to brainstorm different ways to solve the problem.

Working with Words
  • Discuss how rhyming words sound the same at the ends of the words. Read page 4 and provide examples of rhyming pairs (e.g., ‘fun’ and ‘one,’ ‘ahead’ and ‘said’).
  • Provide examples and non-examples of rhyming sets (e.g., ‘ball,’ ‘fall,’ ‘doll,’ ‘cat’) and have students decide which word in the set does not rhyme with the other words.
  • Reread pages 5, 7, 9, 13, and 15 and instruct students to listen for rhyming words. Ask them to explain why the words rhymed.
  • Invite students to underline the rhyming words using Wikki Stix in the big book or using pens on an interactive whiteboard.
  • Discuss and label the rhyming pattern (a, b, a, b).
  • Read the pages again and leave out the rhyming words. Ask students to think of a rhyming word that will fit. Have them try the sentence with other rhyming words and talk about which rhyming words make sense in the sentence.

Teaching Tip: For students who require further instruction with rhyme, see the “Tap, Stomp, and Tiptoe the Rhyme” lesson on pages 34–35 in the Kindergarten Working with Words Guide. In this lesson, students are prompted to tap, stomp, and tiptoe syllables or words as you read.


Reading Strategies

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

Working with Words
• syllable recognition

Assessment Opportunities
Note each student’s ability to:
• show interest in the inquiry
• participate in reading along with you
• evaluate the solutions to the problem
• provide reasons to justify the solution chosen

Time:approximately 15 minutes


Revisiting the Inquiry Focus

In the story, Annabelle stopped feeling sad and she thought about how she could solve her problem instead. Why do you think this was a good thing for her to do?

  • Review how Annabelle decided to stop feeling sad and do something to solve her problem. Have students discuss why this was an effective strategy.
Setting a Purpose for Reading
  • Remind students that Annabelle thought of three solutions to her problem but the author doesn’t tell us which one she actually used to solve the problem.
  • Ask students to read the text with you to determine which of the solutions they think Annabelle chose to solve her problem. [Evaluating]


  • Reread the book with students. Track the print as you go, sometimes asking individual students to come up and track a page of print. Most students should be joining in more confidently during the third reading.

    I wonder why these big, black letters are used here in the text. How do you think we should read this part? This punctuation mark at the end of the sentence is called an exclamation mark. When we read this line, we need to use lots of expression in our voices.

  • Pause on page 6 and discuss how to read bolded font and exclamation marks. Have students practise reading in a loud, expressive voice versus a soft voice to see how the meaning changes.
  • Draw students’ attention to the words ‘do’ and ‘not’ on page 7. Review how to read words in italics (see Third Reading in the lesson plan for Problem at the Park).
  • Continue reading the text, emphasizing any words in italics.


  • The first solution Annabelle thought might work was to wait to make some friends and then maybe they would let her play gumball with them. Do you think this solution would work? Why or why not?

    Hold a group discussion about the advantages of each of Annabelle’s imagined solutions. For each of the three solutions, ask students if they think the solution would work and give reasons for their response. [Evaluating/synthesizing]
  • Create a chart, outlining the three solutions with the advantages and disadvantages as suggested by the students. Invite students to come up and ‘share the pen’ as you write.


Good Things

Bad Things

1. make some friends



2. ask an adult for help



3. show kids how she can throw



Annabelle seems very happy that she got to join into the game and play with the other kids. Which solution do you think she chose? Why do you think she chose that solution?

  • Reread page 16 and have students decide on which solution they think Annabelle used to join in playing the game. [Evaluating]
  • Delineate three sections of the classroom, one for each solution, and instruct students to move to the section representing the solution they think Annabelle chose. Circulate between groups to hear students’ reasons for their chosen solutions.
  • Assist each ‘solution group’ in creating a sports-style cheer to tell about their solution. Students can incorporate chants and actions in their cheer, along with encouragement for Annabelle. Allow groups time to practise, then perform their cheers for the class.

Working with Words
  • Provide students with musical instruments such as drums, triangles, shakers, or wooden sticks. Reread pages 2 and 3 and have students tap a rhythmic beat of syllables (instead of words) using their musical instruments.

  • Let’s tap this word: ‘gingerbread.’ How many beats or syllables is ‘gingerbread’? Can you find another word on page 3 that has three syllables? How many beats or syllables does ‘playing’ have? Can you find another word that has two beats? How many beats or syllables does ‘kids’ have? Can you find another word that has one beat?

    Focus students’ attention on ‘long’ and ‘short’ words from the text.
  • Connect the syllable counting to students’ names. Have students stand if their name has three beats, two beats, one beat, or more than three beats.


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 as teaching can be more individualized.

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

Print Concepts, Book Handling, and Text Features

Let’s begin reading by examining the picture first. Now, where do we start reading the text? Where is the first letter in that word?(Point to this letter.) Where do we move to now? (Return sweep to the next line.) Where should we read now? (Turn to next page.)

  • Encourage students to participate in using a pointer to track print. Students’ 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 ‘Annabelle’ on page 3. It has a big (capital) ‘A’ at the beginning of the word. Why does the word ‘Annabelle’ begin with a capital letter?

    Focus students’ attention on individual letters and their formations.
  • With students, focus on the text feature of thought bubbles. Provide each student with a Thought Bubble BLM. Turn to pages 4 and 5 and ask students to draw what Annabelle might be thinking. Ask student volunteers to temporarily place their thought bubbles onto page 5 and have the other students interpret what is happening in the bubbles. Draw students’
    attention to the sequence of thought bubbles on pages 14 and 15, asking how students can tell which event took place first.
  • Let’s look at page 7. Who is talking on this page? (Annabelle) Let’s read the words as Annabelle would say them. When an author wants us to know that someone is talking, they use ‘talking marks’ or quotation marks. There are marks at the beginning of what Annabelle says and at the end of what she says. Let’s see if we can find other places in the book where Annabelle is talking. We will look for the ‘talking marks’ and read what she is saying.

    Draw students’ attention to the quotation marks that show dialogue.
Focusing on Comprehension
  • Divide the class into two groups for choral reading. One group will take the narrator’s role and the other group will take Annabelle’s role. Each group rereads the text for that role. After reading, have groups switch roles and reread the text again.
  • 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.
  • You may wish to introduce or review Conversation Card #5 (boy with ice cream) from the Kindergarten Oral Language Kit. Use the following prompts to guide your discussion:
    • What is happening in the photograph?
    • How will the boy feel when it happens?
    • What could he do to make himself feel better?
Working with Words
  • Have students reread the text to find the high-frequency words on each page. The following words are found throughout the text: ‘the,’ ‘and,’ ‘she,’ ‘can,’ ‘no,’ ‘to,’ ‘is,’ ‘play,’ ‘do,’ ‘a,’ ‘I,’ ‘me,’ ‘it.’
  • Choose a letter (e.g., ‘t’ as in ‘town’ or ‘c’ as in ‘candy canes’) and have students find other words located in the text that begin with the same letter.


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 lesson so that students can compare texts and solutions used. Support students in evaluating 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


The Gingerbread Kids

– the Gingerbread Kids would not let Annabelle join the gumball game because they thought she was too small

– Annabelle thought about three solutions she could choose to solve the problem, and then she got to play


  • Together with students, choose one of the three possible solutions and write a new ending to the story that explains ‘what Annabelle did.’ The text may rhyme or not, as you desire.
  • You may wish to introduce or review the following Conversation Cards from the Kindergarten Oral Language Kit. Use them to encourage students to identify problems and suggest solutions.
    • Sequence Cards #12-14: Sharing Things
    • Sequence Cards #21-23: Following the Rules
    • Sequence Cards #26-28: Including Others
    • Sequence Cards #29-31: Being Patient
    Prompts to promote discussion include:
    • What is happening in the photographs?
    • What might the problem be?
    • What solutions can you think of?
  • Provide gingerbread people for students to decorate. Remind students of various problem-solving techniques to use as they share materials for decoration. Pairs or small groups of students may then use their decorated gingerbread people to re-enact the story, or create a new problem situation to resolve. You may wish to brainstorm with students possible problems gingerbread people may encounter to help inspire ideas.