Sample Reading Lesson Plan for Second and Third Grade

Based on the book Dinosaurs Before Dark from the Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne

Grades: Second Grade, Third Grade

Overview: This lesson can be easily adapted for any of the Magic Tree House books by Mary Pope Osborne, and/or the Fact Tracker books that accompany them. This lesson is created for Dinosaurs Before Dark, book #1 of 55.


  • Magic Tree House book Dinosaurs Before Dark
  • Plastic toy dinosaurs
  • Pictures and other books about dinosaurs and volcanoes

Lesson-Specific Vocabulary Concepts:

  • Syllabification: prehistoric, triceratops, herbivore, carnivore, magnolia, volcano
  • Silent letters: pteranodon, kneeled, climb
  • Endings: nests, flapped, stampeded, teetered, engraved, whistling
  • R controlled vowels: dark, anatosaurus, herbivore, carnivore, dinosaur

Preparation: Place the materials on a table to engage students’ interest in the lesson.

Instructions for Conducting the Lesson:


What to do

Component Addressed


Have students choose a dinosaur they would like to be today and have them share why they chose that specific one.

Oral Language Development


Write some of the words they used in their discussion (and/or some from the vocabulary list) on the board. As a group, practice decoding, reading the words orally, and talking about the meaning.

Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Vocabulary


Show the book and have students make predictions about what they think the book will be like. Write these predictions down for all students to see.

Oral Language Development Comprehension


Begin reading the book to the students. Have them echo read sections, repeating key sections as a group.

Fluency, Phonics


Stop periodically in the book to have students summarize and rephrase what is happening in the story.

Comprehension, Oral Language Development, Vocabulary


Ask questions of increasing complexity to differentiate the learning experience for the students.

Comprehension, Oral Language Development


Revisit and discuss the students’ predictions. Finally, let them choose and share with a partner or small group another toy dinosaur to show how they feel at the end of the lesson.


Comprehension, Oral Language Development

Starter Discussion Questions:


Blooms Level / DOK Level

Where to Jack and Annie live?

What did Jack and Annie use to climb into the tree house?

Remember / Recall & Reproduction

Why didn’t Jack want to go into the tree house at first?

Understand / Recall & Reproduction

Who is older, Jack or Annie and how do you know?

Apply, Analyze / Skill & Concept, Strategic Thinking

How did Annie help save Jack’s life?

Analyze / Strategic Thinking

What would you have done to help Jack?

What parts of the story are real and what part are fantasy?

Evaluate / Extended Thinking

What might have happened if the tree house hadn’t taken them home?

Create / Extended Thinking