Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto and illustrated by Ed Martinez is an adorable children’s book that tells the story of Maria and her adventure-filled Christmas Eve. Young readers will love the themes of family, honesty, and the joy of being together.
We love using read-aloud activities to expose students to new sentence structures, language structures, and vocabulary words. This holiday storybook is a great option for discussing family traditions.
In this blog post, you will see how we included Too Many Tamales activities in our lesson plans for reading comprehension!
Too Many Tamales is one of the special picture books you’ll want to add to the holiday season.
Too Many Tamales Book Summary
Maria loves trying on her mother’s lipstick, her perfume, and her mother’s apron. One day, Maria is helping her mother prepare tamales for their Christmas celebration. In the midst of the excitement, Maria decides to try on her mother’s diamond ring while kneading the masa (dough) for this batch of tamales.
Maria quickly forgets about her mother’s ring until her cousins arrive later that day. Maria and her cousins believe the ring must be mixed into the tamales. So they began eating the tamales, hoping to find the missing ring.
Too Many Tamales Interactive Read Aloud
Unlike the traditional read-aloud, where children sit quietly as the teacher reads the entire text before any discussion, the interactive read-aloud encourages conversation from the beginning to the end of the book. This set of close reading activities provides an excellent opportunity to develop various reading comprehension strategies. These strategies help children engage with the text. Here are some strategies you can incorporate while reading Too Many Tamales.
Too Many Tamales Making Predictions
Too Many Tamales Sequencing the Story
On the second day with the book, students practice retelling the story in sequential order. First, we place the retelling cards in order.
Then, students turn to their reading partners and start retelling the events of the story. If the student needs support, they can always look at the graphic organizer that the class completed together. Retelling helps students incorporate book vocabulary, use transition words, and become more familiar with more challenging sentence structures.
Next students complete their own black and white version of the retelling picture cards.
Too Many Tamales Examining Problem and Solution of the Story
Examining the problem and solution reading strategy helps readers actively engage with the story in a critical way. Students are asked to analyze the problems characters face and how those challenges are ultimately solved.
Here is the writing prompt for this day’s comprehension sheet activity:
- Readers think about the problems in the text and how those problems are solved. What problem did Maria have? How did she solve that problem?
Too Many Tamales Author’s Purpose
This strategy encourages readers to go beyond the surface-level content and consider the underlying motives and goals of the author. Oftentimes, the author’s purpose and the moral of the story go hand in hand. Here is the writing prompt for the final day with this book.
- Why do you think the author wrote this book? What message do you think Gary Soto was trying to share?
Too Many Tamales Mentor Sentence
Here is our mentor sentence for the week.
We discuss writing conventions as well as grammar!
Too Many Tamales Read Aloud Video
You just have a book for an interactive read-aloud, but because we spend 5 days with the book, it is nice to offer another model of reading fluency.
This is a great video!
Too Many Tamales Craft Project
We love adding a craft to each of our reading lesson plans. This little craft is perfect for this picture book.
Students used colored tissue paper to make paper flowers.
We love how they turned out!
You can find all of the printable activity sheets and comprehension teaching slides in our easy-to-use – just-print lesson plans. These printable extension activities are easy to implement and my favorite part, they are effective!
Free Editable Lesson Plan Template
Would you like to grab this free lesson plan template? Just give the lesson plan image below a click, and you’ll be able to easily download the file from my Google Drive. It’s as simple as that! Plus, the PDF version of these lesson plans is conveniently linked to the resource for quick access.