ESL Curious George Formative Assessment Examples

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

You can use 'Curious George' to give your ESL students formative assessments in reading comprehension, vocabulary, and other domains. This lesson gives you some examples of formative assessments that involve 'Curious George'.

Using Formative Assessment

Are you trying to help your ESL students improve their expressive or receptive language, their understanding of U.S. history, or their reading comprehension skills? Regardless of your instructional goal, it can be really important to start with formative assessments. The purpose of a formative assessment is to ascertain and monitor your students' learning so that you can cater instruction to meet their learning levels and needs.

H.A. Rey's classic picture book Curious George can be a complicated one for ESL students, since it incorporates novel vocabulary, a prolonged story line, and a variety of cultural referents. Teaching with this book can help students learn and talk about a number of different English language and American history and culture concepts, but it is important to figure out where your students need help. The formative assessment examples in this lesson will help guide you as you begin this journey with your ESL students.

Formative Assessment Examples for Curious George

To determine what formative assessment to use, you will want to think about your eventual instructional goals in teaching with Curious George. You can also use more than one assessment if you have a variety of goals for the book.

Vocabulary Assessment

One major aspect of teaching Curious George to ESL students has to do with the embedded vocabulary. If you are interested in finding out about your students' vocabulary readiness for the book, you can use this assessment.

  • What does the word 'curious' mean? Write a definition of 'curious' in your own words.
  • Use each of these words in a sentence. Make sure your sentence makes sense.






  • For each word below, offer a word or phrase that means the opposite.




  • Use a dictionary to find the definition of the following words. Then rewrite the definitions in your own words:




Comprehension Assessment

This comprehension assessment is good to use if you are trying to figure out your ESL students' ability to understand what is happening in a story and retell it using sequencing.

  • Show students three different images from Curious George without the accompanying text. Ask them to write two sentences in English, describing each of the images. Then ask them to put the images in order and make a prediction for what the story is about.
  • Have students speak or write answers to the following questions that will help you assess their readiness to read Curious George.

What is a time that you felt very curious, and what did you do to express that feeling?

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