Favorite Books to Use with ELLs Part 1: Amelia Bedelia

Do you have certain Guided Reading Levels that you would consider your favorites?  I do!  When I have students who hit Levels K and L, I know exactly which books I am going to retrieve from the book room... Amelia Bedelia books!!!  I love 'em, and they quickly become favorites for my students, too! (Amazon affiliate links are below.)

As you probably already know, I am an ESL teacher for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students.  I go into the classroom and co-teach writing during most of the school day.  But I do have two 30-minute guided reading groups each day.  Since I work with a number of students who have just recently arrived to the United States, I have some fairly low-level guided reading groups.  As a former reading teacher, I LOVE these periods of my school day!

http://www.amazon.com/Teach-Amelia-Bedelia-Read-Book/dp/0060511141/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1396366241&sr=1-1&keywords=teach+us+amelia+bedeliaI love Amelia Bedelia books for several reasons.  First of all, Amelia is so funny!  These books are super engaging.  Even my reluctant readers get "hooked" within the first few pages.  Second, these books are predictable.  After reading just two Amelia Bedelia books, readers begin to notice the plot pattern:  Amelia Bedelia will misunderstand someone's directions, but she will end up fixing everything in the end with food!

http://www.amazon.com/Play-Ball-Amelia-Bedelia-Read/dp/0064442055/ref=sr_1_18?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1396365348&sr=1-18&keywords=amelia+bedeliaAnd the best thing about using Amelia Bedelia books with ELLs?  They allow me to multitask!  I can pack multiple skills into a lesson, which is so very necessary with my students who are playing "catch up"- trying to learn English quickly so that they can catch up with their classmates and focus on grade level standards.  With Amelia Bedelia books, there are so many opportunities to teach multiple meaning words, homophones, and idioms!  They are also perfect for working to improve fluency.  Readers must pay close attention to the punctuation.  Amelia Bedelia asks lots of questions (???), and Mr. Rogers gets annoyed with her antics often (!!!).

http://www.amazon.com/Amelia-Bedelia-Helps-Read-Book/dp/0060511117/ref=sr_1_16?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1396365348&sr=1-16&keywords=amelia+bedeliaI always begin my Amelia Bedelia lesson with a chart similar to the one below that accompanies Amelia Bedelia Goes Camping.  We complete the first column of the chart BEFORE we read.  I feel that it is vitally important to do this.  After all, if my students do not know the real meaning of "hit the road", they will not comprehend why it is funny when Amelia Bedelia starts hitting the road with a stick.  It is always interesting to go through the first column and determine what my ELLs already know.  For example, when I recently used the chart below with one of my groups, my students already knew the meanings of "chocolate chip
http://www.amazon.com/Calling-Doctor-Amelia-Bedelia-Read/dp/0060087803/ref=sr_1_17?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1396365348&sr=1-17&keywords=amelia+bedeliacookies", "start a fire", "row a boat", and "sleeping bags".  On the other hand, they thought "shipshape" meant "in the shape of a ship" (just like Amelia Bedelia assumed!).  The other phrases, like "tent stakes", and "pitch a tent" were unknown to them.  They told me what they thought Amelia Bedelia would think it meant, but they admitted that they didn't quite know the real meaning.  This indicated to me that my students realize that they have to think critically about words (YAY!).  They are at a level where they know that "pitch a tent" probably means something different than "throwing a tent" because it would be very unusual for someone to really throw a tent.
Click HERE to download a copy!
Here's the version I use with Play Ball, Amelia Bedelia.
Click HERE to download a copy!
After reading the book, we complete the chart with what Amelia Bedelia thought each phrase meant in the story. We also compare and contrast this Amelia Bedelia story with the other ones we have previously read.   My students usually rank which Amelia Bedelia stories are their favorites, and I have them tell me why, of course!

Coming Soon:  Part 2 of this series will focus on Reading Safari Magazines!  Stay tuned!


  1. LOVE this!! It's so true- Amelia Bedelia cracks me up... and I guess my students love her too :) Thanks for sharing how you use her books- I really enjoyed seeing some new ideas!

    XO, Kelly Anne

  2. Deb-

    I love using Amelia Bedelia books to teach idioms! My kids find them to be so funny and they remind me of my grade school years!!

  3. After I saw you were a former ESL teacher, I knew I had to look at your previous posts. This is such a great post-- love the chart you made.

    My Bright Blue House