Moony Luna/Luna, Lunita Lunera: Reading Activities

Getting the Classroom Ready

Welcome to School

As part of your preparations for the beginning of the school year, gather a collection of your favorite books related to the following topics: the first day of school, families and communities, dealing with emotions/overcoming fears. Include several bilingual titles, if possible. Display the books together on a table or a special shelf in the classroom library. See the Resources section of the Children's Book Press website for additional ideas of books to include.

Moony Luna/Luna, Lunita Lunera is a bilingual book with the text of the story presented in both Spanish and English. The school setting for the story is a bilingual classroom. If possible, reflect this by including bilingual labels for the things in your classroom, including table/mesa, desk/escritorio, chair/silla, clock/reloj, globe/globo, door/puerta, window/ventana, pencil sharpener/sacapuntas, and so on.

Before the school year begins or as soon as possible afterwards, request that students and their families send in pictures or photographs of the students with those people who are most important to them. Use these images to create a bulletin board display entitled Our Families and Friends. Be sure to include images of your own family and friends in the display.

Classes at most grade levels, but particularly kindergarten and first grade, often begin the school year with an introduction to classroom procedures and rules. You may want to consider including as part of the discussion a brainstorming session in which students talk about proper etiquette and behavior for participating in class, including a discussion of how to behave during circle time activities. List students' ideas on a sheet of butcher paper and post it in the classroom for future reference.

Getting Ready for Reading

Exploring the Book

Students learn basic book concepts as they go on a "guided tour" of the book and make predictions about its contents.

Materials Necessary:

  • One copy of Moony Luna / Luna, Lunita Lunera

Estimated Time: 15-25 minutes

Group Size: Entire Class

  1. During an early circle time meeting with your class, display a copy of Moony Luna / Luna, Lunita Lunera and explain that you are going to read aloud the story in this book about one girl's first day at school. As you point out the various features of the book — the cover, back cover, title page, author's name, illustrator's name, and so on — gauge students' prior knowledge by asking them to name each feature. Repeat back to students the name of each feature they have identified, filling in any they do not name and providing a simple definition for each one.
  2. Conduct a "picture walk" in which you page through the book and ask students to focus their attention on the pictures. Ask them to name things they see in each picture and to share their ideas about what is happening. Before turning to the next page, have them predict what they think will happen next.
  3. Read the story aloud, displaying the book to the class. The focus of this first reading should be reading for pleasure — encouraging students to enjoy the beauty of the book and the story it tells. As you read, track the print with your index finger. Take time to point out the Spanish and English version of the story, explaining that this book is a bilingual edition.

First Time Around: Vocabulary Development

Feeling Words

Students listen for words that describe characters and emotions and then sort the words based on what they describe.

Materials Necessary:

  • Chalkboard and chalk, or butcher paper and markers

Estimated Time: 15-25 minutes

Group Size: Entire Class

  1. Read the story again. Guide students to listen for words that tell about feelings and words that tell about the way things look. If necessary, help them identify the words.
  2. Write the words students identify on the board or on butcher paper and read them aloud. Then have students read them again. You might ask volunteers to take turns pantomiming what someone looks like when they feel happy, afraid, strong, and so on.
  3. Ask students to help you sort the words into two groups: words that tell about ways people feel and words that tell about ways things look. Then have them suggest other words they know that fit into these two categories and add them to the chart.
Ways People FeelWays Things Look

Other Vocabulary Activities

Picture the Words: Read to students the following sentences from the story: "My heart skips just like a little frog" (p. 3); "I'm five years old and as big as the full moon" (p. 9). Write the sentences on the board. Have students copy them onto separate sheets of paper and draw a picture to go with each one.

Sight Words: Use words from the story to begin a list of sight words that students can refer to and build on throughout the year. Such words* could include: to, for, the, a, be, my, about, how, I, go, and so on.
* Words taken from the first 100 "instant words" in The Reading Teacher's Book of Lists by Edward Bernard Fry, Ph. D., Jacqueline E. Kress, Ed. D., and Dona Lee Fountoukidis, Ed. D. (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2000)

Color Words: Read Luna's description of her clothing on page 15, drawing students' attention to the colors she mentions. Write the colors on the board. Then have students play a game of What's My Color? in which they take turns choosing a color and asking yes/no questions (without naming the color) to try to guess the color. For example, they might ask: Is it the color of the sky? Is it the color of a tomato?

Second Time Around: Reading Comprehension

Picture the Story: What's It All About?

Students draw pictures to show their comprehension of the first, middle, and last parts of the story and then retell the story in their own words.

Materials Necessary:

Estimated Time: 15-25 minutes

Group Size: individuals, small groups or whole class

  1. Provide students with copies of the Story Worksheet.* Read aloud the heading in each box on the worksheet — First, Middle, Last — and explain that the headings refer to different parts of the story.
  2. Have students work in either groups of 3 to 4 students, as a whole class, or individually to draw a picture in each box to tell what happened the first, middle, and last parts of the story. Make available a copy or copies of the book for them to refer to as they do their work.
  3. When students have finished their drawings, ask them to display their work to the other members of their group. Have volunteers use their pictures to help them retell the story in their own words.
  4. Afterwards ask students to compare their work with the work of the other members of their group. You might also have them ask each other questions about how Luna is feeling at the different parts of the story depicted in their drawings.

Afterwards: Literary Response and Analysis

Our Own First Days

Students describe their own feelings as they approached and then experienced their first day at school.

Materials Necessary:

Estimated Time: 15-25 minutes

Group Size: Entire Class

  1. Reread the story with the class. As you read, pause at moments in which Luna's feelings are described. Have students look carefully at Luna's expression in the pictures that go with these moments. Then ask them to tell how Luna is feeling. Translate their responses into simple drawings of a face that show the emotions described. For example, a smiling face could be used to denote happy. Create a timeline showing how Luna's emotions change as the story unfolds.
  2. Have students think about their own first day at school. Ask them to think about how they felt on that day. Then provide students with paper plates or copies of the Feelings Worksheet. Ask them to draw a picture or pictures of a face to show their feelings before, during, and/or after the first day of school. If students use the worksheet, have them cut out each face that they draw. When students have finished their drawings, collect their work.
  3. Display some of the pictures. Discuss with students the feelings being depicted. Encourage students to use some of the words they discussed in the vocabulary activity about feeling words. (To be sensitive to students' feelings, do not reveal the names of the students who created the pictures.) Save the pictures for the Graphing Feelings activity in the Math section of this guide.

Other Literary Response Activities

Pictures That Tell a Story: Have students hunt through the story to find the pictures of the monster that appear throughout. Ask them to share their ideas about what story they think those pictures are telling.

Overcoming Fears: Discuss Luna's fears regarding going to school as well as the things that happen that help her deal with her fears. Then ask students to think about a time they may have been afraid of something new or a new experience. Have willing students dictate a sentence or two about their fears and what helped them feel better in those situations. Encourage students to draw a picture to go with the sentences.

* To view this file, you'll need a copy of Acrobat Reader. Most computers already have it installed. If yours does not, you can download it now.


Used with permission of the publisher, Children's Book Press, San Francisco, CA. Teachers Guide for Moony Luna/ Luna, Lunita Lunera © 2004 by Children's Book Press. Visit the Children's Book Press website for a complete list of free, downloadable Teacher's Guides.


For any reprint requests, please contact the author or publisher listed.

More by this author


Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.