The Three Little Pigs retold by James Marshall

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Summary of the Story

Three little pigs leave home to seek their fortunes. Two pigs build their houses of flimsy materials. The wolf blows down their houses and eats them up. The third pig builds his house out of brick, which the wolf cannot blow down. The wolf then asks the pig to get turnips, pick apples, and go to the fair. Each time the pig goes an hour earlier, tricking the wolf. At the fair, the pig sees the wolf. The pig escapes by rolling home in a butter churn. The wolf comes to the pig's house, climbs onto the roof, and jumps into a pot of boiling water.

Introducing the Story
  • Read the title of the book on the cover, pointing to each word as you say it. Have children repeat the title as you point to each word.
  • Look at the cover and count the pigs with the child.

Reading the Story for the First Time

  • Read the story, moving your finger under the words as you read.
  • Invite children to join in with you on the repeated phrases, "Little pig, little pig, let me come in" and "No, no, no, not by the hair of my chinny chin chin."

Recalling the Story

  • After you have finished reading, ask children the recall questions below. Continue to ask these questions when you reread the book, until he or she knows the answers.

Reading the Story Again and Again

  • Give open-ended prompts on each page. For example, ask: What's happening on this page? What does the little pig do then? What does the wolf do then? Do less reading of the words to the story each time you read, leaving more and more of the "reading" or retelling to the child.
  • Give prompts about objects or activities in the pictures. For example, ask: What is the mother pig doing? (She's crying because the pigs are leaving home.) Use your finger to point to what you are asking about. Evaluate the child's response. Expand it by giving more information. Ask the child to repeat the answer. If he or she needs help in answering a question, ask that question again the next time you read the book.
  • You may wish to discuss the prompts shown below.

Extra Activities

  • Have children read The Three Little Pigs to each other.
  • Children can dramatize the story as you reread it. Children taking the parts of the pigs can draw their houses on the chalkboard. Children listening can join in on the repeated phrases.

Recall Questions
Ask the following questions to check children's understanding of the story.

  1. What is the title of this book? (The title is The Three Little Pigs.)
  2. Who is this story about? (It's about three little pigs and a wolf who wants to eat them up.)
  3. What does the first little pig do? (He builds a house out of straw.)
  4. What does the wolf do to the first little pig's house? (He huffs and puffs and blows the house in.)
  5. What happens to the second little pig? (He builds a house out of sticks, and the wolf blows his house in, too.)
  6. Why can't the wolf blow down the third little pig's house? (The third little pig made his house out of bricks.)
  7. How does the wolf plan to catch the pig next? Does his plan work? (The wolf tries to get the pig to go to the turnip field, to the apple orchard, and to the fair. Each time the pig tricks the wolf and gets away.)
  8. What happens to the wolf in the end? (The wolf falls into a pot of boiling water, and the pig eats him up.)

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Excerpted from Read Together, Talk Together, the Pearson Early Childhood research-based program that makes reading aloud even more effective!

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