Guided Reading: Pete the Cat and his Four Groovy Button

This guided reading lesson looks at the theme of Pete the Cat and his Four Groovy Button by James Dean.

Grade: 1


Identify the main idea and a few elements of text, initially with support and direction (1.7)

Focus of the Lesson

Analyzing elements of text to determine the theme

Group Selection Rationale:

These four students demonstrated interest in the Pete the Cat series during sustained silent reading.   


Teacher activates prior knowledge.

We have been talking a lot about themes in the books we’ve been reading. Does anyone remember what a theme is?

Student possible answer: The theme is the lesson or message of a story.

That’s right! The theme is a lesson that you can apply to your own life. For example, last week we saw that the theme of The Dot was to not give up when things are tough but to always keep trying. In the book, Vashti didn’t think she could become an artist. But her teacher encouraged her and she practiced. In the end, she was able to make a lot of amazing art work.

Teacher writes the definition of theme on a small white board. 

What are some more examples of themes that you can think of from other books you have read? 

Student possible answers: In Red Riding Hood, I learned that you shouldn’t talk to strangers. In Beauty and the Beast, I learned not to judge a person by their looks. 

Teacher writes the themes from the examples provided by the students. 

Wow, you all have read such great books! I noticed you four really love Pete the Cat, so today we are going to read another book in the series. 

Before we start reading, do you remember the questions we ask ourselves to help find the theme?

Student possible answers: What is the story about? What is the meaning behind the story? What lesson is learned by the main character?

Very good! Let’s remember these questions as we read Pete the Cat. Now open up your book and while you’re reading, think about what lesson Pete is learning.


Students read Pete the Cat and his Four Groovy Buttons quietly.

Teacher observes students reading. 

Teacher assists students if necessary. For example, reading difficult words.


Teacher engages students to talk about the book.

What did you think of the story? 

What happened to Pete in the story?

Let’s go back to the three questions we discussed before we started reading. 

What is the story about?

Student possible answer: The story is about Pete losing his buttons. 

What is the meaning behind the story?

Student possible answer: Even though Pete lost all his buttons, he was never sad or mad about it. 

What was the theme of this story?

Student possible answer: The theme of the story is to stay positive. 

That’s right, Pete didn’t get upset or throw a tantrum. Things may not always go our way but we need to stay positive. This is the theme of the story. We can take what we learned from Pete the Cat and apply it to our own lives.

Have you ever been in a similar situation as Pete the Cat where things didn’t go your way? I want you to think about it and discuss it with your elbow buddy.

%d bloggers like this: