Pirates help with Comprehension & More! Pirates Past Noon is Powerful

Pirates help with Comprehension & More! Ahoy, Mates! Cathy Collier

Pirates “ARGH” fun…at least in picture books. Ahoy, young learners and teachers alike! Are you ready to embark on an exciting literary voyage?

Step aboard as we set sail with Jack and Annie in Mary Pope Osborne’s timeless classic, “Pirates Past Noon.” This early chapter book isn’t just a thrilling adventure—it’s a treasure trove of learning opportunities for budding readers.

In this blog post, we’ll explore how teachers can harness the magic of “Pirates Past Noon” to teach comprehension strategies, vocabulary, phonics, and more in K-1 classrooms.

On a side note, that cure little pirate on the blog picture is my youngest (who is now 26) and we were vacationing on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

This area is also called the Graveyard of the Atlantic because of all the shipwrecks. Blackbeard, the infamous English pirate, was a frequent visitor to the Outer Banks of North Carolina during his career. 

He is said to have used the region as a base of operations, and he was known to frequent several of the islands, including Hatteras Island.

Also, in the summer of 2023, we visited Nassau, Bahamas ironically for that same son to play in the CONCACAF Beach Soccer Tournament for the US Men’s National Beach Soccer Team.

Pirates help with Comprehension & More! Ahoy, Mates! Cathy Collier

During our week there, we visited the Pirates of Nassau Museum. The ship in the cover picture is a replica. During the tour of the museum, they had True or False Placards about pirates.

I added 4 of these placards to the post. Let’s see how many of these posts you get correct.

pirates and predictions

Pirates help with Comprehension & More! Ahoy, Mates! Cathy Collier

“Pirates Past Noon” is an ideal vessel for teaching comprehension strategies such as predicting. Before the book starts, students can also use a Predict-O-Gram form (by Johns and Lenski, 2001) to use vocabulary to help predict what the story is about.

In the supporting picture, students sort the vocabulary words by parts of speech, are introduced to new words, and make predictions based on all of it.

There is even a place to return to the form and determine if their predictions were correct.

I created a set of the Predicting Graphic Organizers you can check them out.

As Jack and Annie journey back in time to a pirate ship, students can predict what might happen next based on chapter titles. At the conclusion of one chapter or the beginning of the next, read the title and ask students for a prediction.

For example, Chapter 3 is titled, “Three Men in a Boat.” They can predict who is in the boat and where they are going. At the end of Chapter 2, Jack and Annie are at the water’s edge and Jack realizes the ship on the horizon has a pirate flag.

This can help students predict there will be three pirates coming their way.  Encourage them to use their imaginations and prior knowledge to make educated guesses about the plot.

Pirates help with Comprehension & More! Ahoy, Mates! Cathy Collier

By creating this routine, students will become quite proficient in making predictions, helping you navigate through the book.

pirates and asking questions

Pirates help with Comprehension & More! Ahoy, Mates! Cathy Collier

After each chapter, students can be guided to answer questions. When we practice asking questions, students get in the habit of understanding questions and answers.

Who? What? Where? When? Why? and How? are questions each student can practice.

At first, you can create a question for each of the stems. For example, in Chapter 2 students should be able to answer the questions like

“How would you describe the flag on the approaching flag? (black with a skull and crossbones) and “Where did the Magic Tree House land?” (on a beach in the Caribbean). 

Additionally, prompt students to ask questions about the text to deepen their understanding and encourage critical thinking.

Who are the main characters?

What challenges do they face?

Why do the pirates behave the way they do?

Encourage discussion and exploration of these inquiries. Check out the blog post about Asking Questions, if you’d like more ideas.

Pirates help with Comprehension & More! Ahoy, Mates! Cathy Collier

pirates and summarizing

Pirates help with Comprehension & More! Ahoy, Mates! Cathy Collier

Another important routine for students is summarizing text.

Students can practice summarizing each chapter. Using a SWBSA format, students can easily practice summarizing.

In Chapter 8, one student might say, “Pinky and Stinky (two pirates) WANTED to find the treasure BUT it was

underground SO they had to pull a large rock away and dig a deep hole AND the parrot scared them with a warning THEN they ran away.

I know it’s a big a lot of information and I added a THEN, but Chapter 8 is summarized from their perspective. This summarizing technique is discussed in another blog post, 5 Steps to Keeping it Short and Sweet with SWBSA.

Another student might give a summary from the perspective of Cap’n Bones or Jack or Annie.

We might get different summaries from different perspectives in kindergarten and first grade. AND it’s easy.

Students can so summarize the book in its entirety (as in the picture).   

This helps them develop their ability to identify main ideas and retell stories coherently.

Pirates help with Comprehension & More! Ahoy, Mates! Cathy Collier

pirates and vocabulary

Pirates help with Comprehension & More! Ahoy, Mates! Cathy Collier

In addition to comprehension strategies, vocabulary is a great part of understanding what is read and adds to background knowledge.

Pirates Past Noon is no exception to providing great vocabulary lessons.

Pirates Past Noon introduces young readers to a bounty of new words ripe for exploration.

Words like ship’s cabin, mutineers, and calling people “dogs” may not be in the student’s known vocabulary.

Teachers should also know the word “booty” is in the story because pirates have booty. I made sure to discuss this word head on with my students, not waiting for comments or conjecture.

Chapter 4 is titled, “Vile Booty.” BOTH words could new to your students in the context of pirates. I introduced the title of Chapter 4, while asking for a prediction.

“Students, Chapter 4 is titled Vile Booty. When we are talking about this book, we need to know “vile” means terrible or gross and “booty” means treasure. So what do you think a “terrible treasure” could be?”

Teachers can create engaging vocabulary activities to help students expand their lexicons while immersing themselves in the world of pirates.

Pirates help with Comprehension & More! Ahoy, Mates! Cathy Collier

Using an anchor chart like the one in the picture, students can sort the words by their parts of speech and identify words that are NEW to the class.

Students may not have used the words “gale,” “vile,” “raid” and “clutched.” Finding these words in text can help students make connections with the words and build a deeper foundation for understanding.

pirates and phonics

Pirates help with Comprehension & More! Ahoy, Mates! Cathy Collier

Hoist the phonics flag, mateys! “Pirates Past Noon” offers ample opportunities for phonics instruction as students encounter words with various letter-sound patterns.

Teachers can use the book to reinforce phonemic awareness, phonics, and more.

Here’s how: ONSET AND RIME can be easily practiced with the using “ship” as a springboard for word building.

This combination of letters opens up a world of word-building possibilities, allowing us to create patterns and unlock the secrets of language. Let’s embark on our journey by anchoring our focus on the rime “-ip.”

By adding different consonants to this core, we can create a variety of words that fit neatly into word chains and word ladders. From “ship” to “dip” and “grip” to “drip,” the “-ip” rime serves as a sturdy framework for constructing words with similar sounds and structures.

So, let’s flex our linguistic muscles and explore the possibilities of the “-ip” rime together!

Likewise, students can use the book to find words applicable to specific phonics lessons. With multiple copies of the book, teachers can provide small groups with a book and a challenge.

“Find all the words in a chapter that have the -ed ending.” The words on the sort were all found in Chapter 1.

Pirates help with Comprehension & More! Ahoy, Mates! Cathy Collier

Once these words are gleaned from the chapter, students can then sort the words by the sound these words make when the words are spoken.

Words would be sorted by the sounds /d/, /t/, and /id/.  Teachers can create a class sort using the group’s lists. Once the master sort is created,  teachers will lead the students in discovering when each sound is appropriate.

(By the way, the /d/ sound is present when a word ends with a voiced consonant, the /t/ sound is present when the word ends with an unvoiced consonant, and the /id/ is present with the word ends with a /d/ or /t/. Also, words that are pronounced with the /d/ and /t/ are not counted as individual syllables, whereas, words that are pronounced with the /id/ sound are counted as a syllable.)

This sort is yours for the clicking. It is also part of the full Pirates Past Noon Set.

pirates past noon

Pirates help with Comprehension & More! Ahoy, Mates! Cathy Collier

As we lower the anchor on our literary journey, it’s clear that “Pirates Past Noon” offers K-1 classrooms a treasure trove of learning opportunities.

From practicing comprehension strategies to expanding vocabulary and honing phonics skills, this swashbuckling adventure captivates young readers while fostering essential literacy skills. Wouldn’t this book be a great way to end the school year.

Read 1 chapter a day for the last 10 days of school and let Jack, Annie, Cap’n Bones, Pinky and Stinky help you usher in the summer with beaches and pirate ships and treasure!

So, hoist the sails, me hearties, and let the adventure begin!

AND tell me, how many of the True/False questions did you get correct?

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