Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Night Before St. Patrick's Day by Natasha Wing - Teaching Ideas

I think I have mentioned before how much I love these "Night Before" books by Natasha Wing. In this rhythmically told story Tim and Maureen and getting ready for St. Patrick's Day. They are decorating their house and building leprechaun traps. The morning of St. Patrick's Day the kids wake to find dad playing the bagpipes and mom serving green eggs.  As they are eating breakfast they hear noises coming from their bedroom and when they get to their room, they find it a complete mess! As they start looking inside their traps they hear laughing coming from one of them. This is it, they have caught a leprechaun and will now find all his treasure! They cautiously question the leprechaun about the treasure, and the leprechaun tells them that they will find it buried in their backyard under a rock marked with an X. Hmmm, will they really find the treasure or did the leprechaun trick them?

If you plan on using this book as a St. Patrick's Day read aloud, here are some reading skills, strategies and ideas you can use with this book.

I have also created a True False Comprehension game to go with it, which would make a great center activity.

Reading level: 2.6
Theme/subject: Holiday – St. Patrick’s Day
Genre: holiday fiction

Suggested Vocabulary/phrases: decked out, shamrocks, leprechaun, wee, nested, bagpipes, Irish, wriggling, trinket, cobbler

Reading skills and strategies:
  • Asking questions - {possible questions before} I wonder what the story is about. I wonder what they will do to get ready for St. Patrick’s Day.  {possible questions during} I wonder if they will catch any leprechauns. {possible questions after} I wonder if there really is something buried in the yard.  **Remember to have your students answer/reflect their questions.
  • Author's point of view – Third person. Be sure to find 3 pieces of evidence to support this.
  • Author's purpose – entertain {evidence} The story is written in rhyme, the illustrations are bright and colorful, and the leprechaun really made a mess of the bedroom. All these things make a fun and entertaining St. Patrick’s Day story.
  • Beginning, middle, end - {most important event from beginning} The kids were getting ready for St. Patrick’s Day.  {most important event from middle} The kids set traps in their room to catch a leprechaun. {most important event from end} The leprechauns played a trick on the kids.
  • Cause and effect – Why did Tim and Maureen decorate the den with streamers, rainbows and shamrocks? Because they were decorating for St. Patrick’s Day. Why did the kids use gold charms and rings to make the traps? Because they were trying to catch leprechauns and that is what leprechauns like. Why did the kids want to catch a leprechaun? Because they wanted his gold. Why was there a mess in Tim and Maureen’s bedroom? Because the leprechaun was there. Why were there so many rocks with an X on them in the yard? Because the leprechaun played a trick on the kids.
  • Connections - {possible text-to-self connections} decorating for St. Patrick’s Day. Making a leprechaun trap.
  • Main idea & details - {main idea} Tim and Maureen were getting ready for St. Patrick’s Day {details} They decorated the den with streamers, shamrocks and rainbows. They made leprechaun traps. Their mom made green eggs for breakfast.
  • Plot - the turning point or climax in the story was when they heard noise coming from their bedroom.
  • Predict – What do you think the story will be about? Do you think the kids will catch a leprechaun? Do you think the kids will find the leprechaun’s treasure?
  • Problem & solution - {problem} The kids wanted to catch a leprechaun and find his treasure. {solution} The kids built some leprechaun traps.
  • Sequencing – Tim and Maureen decorated the den for St. Patrick’s Day. They built leprechaun traps and set them up in their room. The kids went to bed. In the morning their dad played the bagpipes. Mom fixed green eggs for breakfast. The kids heard a noise come from their bedroom. They found a leprechaun in one of the traps. The leprechaun told the kids where the treasure was hidden. The kids ran to the backyard looking for the treasure.
  • Story elements - list title, author, characters, setting, beginning, middle, end, or problem & solution.
  • Strong thought – The leprechaun tricked the kids. What should the kids do next year so they don’t get tricked again?
  • Visualize – Tim and Maureen built some great leprechaun traps. Visualize what your trap would look like.

You can find this game in either one of my stores.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


  1. I went out and bought this yesterday--too cute! Thanks for the freebie!

    1. I hope you have fun with the book, I know your kids will love it :)
      Enjoy your weekend!

  2. What a great idea to do a True False Game! Thanks for using my book in your teachings.


Thoughts and comments are always welcome!

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