Saturday, November 17, 2012

There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Books!

Publication Year: 2012
Author: Lucille Colandro
Genre: Fiction
Grade Level: Pre-K to Grade 1
Theme: Rhyming
Skill Taught: Creative writing

Summary: It is the first day of school and the old lady is swallowing pens, books, rulers, pencil cases, folders, chalk, and bags.  Each item she swallows relates to past item she has swallowed, and by the end of the book, she coughs up a book bag with the items needed to begin another school year.

About the Author: Lucille Colandro has written many children books, but is best known for her There Was An Old Lady series.  Lucille has teamed with Jared Lee who has illustrated over 100 books for young readers.  The series of books originated as a song and eventually turned into a book. (

For the Classroom

Pre-Reading Activity: Students would write down on a sheet of paper a list of items in their backpack.  I would go around the room and ask the student to name one item in their bag, trying not to duplicate any items already mentioned.  Before reading the book, I would mention that it is a good thing the old lady is not in our class because she would swallow a couple of their items.

Post-Reading Activity: After reading the book, I would write the prompt, "If I were an old lady, I would eat..." on the front board.  Students would write a number of items following the prompt, and I would check it before they could glue their final copy to construct paper with their drawing of an old lady.  Students who would like to share, would read theirs to the class as we all got a good laugh each time.

Reflection: These series of books are fun to read and listen to.  Children will once again laugh as the old lady once again swallows a lot of things that normally aren't eaten, which makes it so funny.  This makes for a good read aloud because of its rhythm and the illustrations will attract the students' attention.  There a couple of directions an educator could go with in this book; an activity that it could be used for is sequencing.

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  1. What a great pre reading activity. I could see the students getting really into it. I love the "There was an old lady..." series. Thank you for sharing these great ideas.