The Little Red Hen

Focus Story:
The Little Red Hen
by Lucinda McQueen
Rake and Gloves


Day 1

    Old Favorites: Reread charts/poems from previous stories

    Prior Knowledge: Present students with some grains of wheat, real wheat stalks, and a few products made from wheat. Discuss with students what each item is. Then ask students to share ways they think the the grains of wheat eventually became bread, etc.  Explain that it takes a lot of time and hard work to get from grain to bread and that this week they will learn all about the process!

    New Story: Introduce title, author and illustrator; Show the cover and talk about what the hen, cat, goose, and dog are doing; Take a picture walk being sure to discuss what is happening in each of the pictures and introduce the terms 'sprout', 'thresh', 'ground', and 'knead'. Make sure to stop the picture walk right after the hen places the dough into the oven .  Ask students to predict what they think will happen next; Read aloud for enjoyment and to see what happens when the bread comes out of the oven.

Day 2

    Story: Reread The Little Red Hen and generate a discussion about the events in the story, possibly by asking a few of the following questions..

    • How would you describe the cat, the goose, and the dog?
    • What words can you use to describe the little red hen?
    • How do you think the little red hen felt doing all of the work by herself?
    • How do you think the little red hen felt when all the animals wanted to eat the bread she had made?
    • Why do you think the hen said the other animals could not eat the bread?
    • How do you think the animals felt when the little red hen told them they could not help to eat the bread?
    • What lesson did the animals learn? Do you think they will be more willing to help out next time? Why or why not?
    • How would the story be different if all the animals had agreed to help the little red hen with the work?

    Predictable Chart: Brainstorm with students small ways that they could help others and show that they care-whether it be helping at home, in the classroom, or in the community. (Some examples may be hold the door, find a missing glove, show how to write a hard letter, make my bed, set the table, etc.) Then write "I will help ____." sentences. Start by writing "I will help bake bread." (the cat)  Write each sentence on chart paper, writing their name at the end of the sentence. Reread each sentence tracking the print.

    Companion Rhyme: Introduce the companion nursery rhyme 'One, Two, Buckle My Shoe'; Read together and act out it out with motions.

Day 3

    Story: Introduce the retelling pocket chart repetitive words that the characters used in the story; Reread-Shared Reading (letting students join in on the repetitive wording, pointing to the retelling chart.) Review the story, having students work together to sequence pictures from the story to show what happened first, second, third, next, etc. As each picture is added to the sequence, sing the appropriate verse of 'The Little Red Hen's Song' (See words below.)

    The Little Red Hen's Song
    This is the way I plant the seed, plant the seed, plant the seed.
    This is the way I plant the seed
    so early in the morning!

    Repeat using the following verses in the above blanks...
    water the wheat.
    cut the wheat.
    go to the mill.
    make the dough.
    bake the bread.
    eat the bread.

     (Later, students can cut apart, color, sequence, and glue a similar set of pictures into a small booklet so that they will have the story to take home and retell.) ; Choose students to find and mask the letters (n, I, s, w, h) or the sight words ('will', 'me', 'not', 'I', 'the') on the retelling chart .

    Companion Rhyme: Read the story Big Fat Hen (which is really the nursery rhyme 'One Two, Buckle My Shoe) for enjoyment; Read the companion rhyme from the chart 'One Two, Buckle My Shoe' (echo reading); Then, reread the poem, asking students to go on a rhyme hunt by listening for rhyming words; Have students work together to sort rhyming picture cards into five piles - those that rhyme with the number words two, four, six, eight, ten. (See chart below for samples.)


      blue, flew, glue, new, shoe


      door, more, pour


      fix, mix, sticks


      bait, date, late, straight


      den, hen, men, pen

Day 4

      Companion Rhyme: Reread the companion nursery rhyme 'One, Two, Buckle My Shoe' (choral read); Have students sequence/rebuild the phrases and words from the poem by placing them in the pocket chart in the correct order- referring to the original rhyme on the chart.

      Story: Shared Reading (letting students join in on the repetitive wording, pointing to the retelling chart.; Have students act out the story. Divide the students into four groups so that there is one group saying the lines/acting out their part for each character in the story.

      Begin work on a class retelling mural. As students discuss the characters and the setting, make a list of all of the things they say (hen, cat, goose, dog, wheat, bread, oven, bowl, etc.)  Then assign either  individual students or pairs of students to work together to draw or tear from construction paper each element listed.  Glue the students' drawings onto a large sheet of rolled chart paper.

Day 5

    Story: Reread- Shared Reading (with students joining in on the repetitive phrases); Complete the class retelling mural by using interactive writing to label the characters and objects  and to write what each character said repeatedly.   Reread the mural together and then keep it displayed in the classroom for use during ABC Center activities such as 'Read the Room' and 'Write the Room';

    Murals Photo
    (The photo above shows two Little Red Hen murals-
    one form the AM class and one from the PM class.)

    Discuss and compare various versions of The Little Red Hen that was read throughout the week.  Which was students favorite?  Why?

    Garden Spade



    What did the main character make?

    Did the main character share?

    The Little Red Hen

    hen, cat, dog, mouse




    The Little Red Hen

    hen, goose, cat, dog




    The Little Red Hen

    hen, cat, dog, pig




    The Little Red Hen

    hen, pig, duck, cat, 3 chicks



    with her chicks only

    The Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza

    hen, dog, duck, cat




    Who Will Help

    mouse, duck, rabbit, cow




    Companion Story: Read and discuss the story How Bread is Made; make yeast bread together as a class and sequence pictures to show how bread is made. (See Making Bread Sequence sheet below in the Resource Section.)

Related Read Aloud Stories/Poems

Focus Story: The Little Red Hen by Lucinda McQueen
Companion Story: How Bread is Made by Neil Curtis
Companion Poem: 'One, Two, Buckle, My Shoe' / Big Fat Hen by Keith Baker

Garden Spade and Flower

The Little Red Hen by Byron Barton
The Little Red Hen by Paul Galdone
The Little Red Hen by Patricia McKissak
The Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza by Philemon Sturges
The Little Red Hen: An Old Story by Margo Zemach
Nursery Classics: Little Red Hen by Alan Garner
The Little Red Hen/Help Yourself Little Red Hen (Another Point of View) by Alan Garner
The Little Red Hen by Harriet Ziefert
Who Will Help? by Rozanne Lanczak Williams
Not Now Said the Cow by Joanne Oppehheim
Mr. Wolf's Pancakes by Jan Fearnley
Bread, Bread, Bread by Ann Morris
Bread is for Eating by David Gershator
Everybody Bakes Bread by Norah Dooley
Walter the Baker by Eric Carle
Cook-a-Doodle-Doo by Janet Stevens
The Little Yellow Chicken by Joy Cowley

Possible Cross Curricular Connections


    1) Make stick puppets
    2) Make a hen bag puppet
    3) Construct baker's/chef's hats


    1) Learn about the concept of time by sorting pictures that show both events from the story and  common activities - sort by duration or amount of time to complete (long/short)
    2) Use measuring skills to help bake bread
    3) Graph and discuss student's favorite version of the story


    1) Listen to the story at the listening center and use flannel characters to retell
    2) Create a Venn diagram comparing two versions of this folktale
    3) Make a Little Red Hen Mural with interactive writing
    4) Sight word focus- 'I', 'will', 'me', 'not'
    5) Sequence events from the story
    6) Create a predictable chart for 'I will help ______.'


    1) Plant grains of wheat and chart the growth
    2) Sort real grains by type (corn, oats, rice, barley, wheat)
    3) Learn about real hens (characteristics, where live, what eat, etc.)


    1) Sing/clap 'Who Took the Bread From the Big Bread Box?' to the tune of 'Who Took the Cookies From the Cookie Jar?'

Social Studies:

    1) Discuss family, classroom, and community responsibilities/ ways to help and contribute positively
    2) Learn about the process of how bread is made and sequence the steps

The Little Red Hen Resources
Bread in a Bag- a recipe originally from KinderNet
Making Bread Sequence Sheet- a printable originally from KinderNet
The Little Red Hen- lesson ideas from Webbing Into Literacy
Little Red Hen- ideas from Lesson Bank
Chicken Facts- some interesting tidbits
Chicken and Hen Printables - from First School
Little Red Hen- activity card from Webbing into Literacy
Bread, Bread, Bread- activity card from Webbing into Literacy
One, Two, Buckle My Shoe- printable rhyme card

Graphic Garden Logo and Link
All 'Garden Graphics' are from Graphic Garden.


Last Modified:10/15/14

Bottom Cupboard Banner

Creative Commons License  

This work by Michelle Hubbard is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

All non-credited text, printables, and photos on the Hubbard's Cupboard website are copyrighted 2000-2014
by Michelle Hubbard.. Design and contents on this website may not be reproduced in any format or placed
on another website without permission. All rights reserved worldwide