Posts tagged ‘text features’

108. Who Eats What? Food Chains and Food Webs by Patricia Lauber

who eats whatRetell: This book explains how energy flows within food chains and food webs.  It also describes the importance of plant life.

Topics: food chains, food webs, interconnectedness, plants, animals, endangered species, ecology

Units of Study: Nonfiction, Content-Area

Reading Skills: envisionment, determining importance, interpretation, reading text features

Writing Skills: including diagrams to illustrate an idea

My Thoughts: Though our food chain unit is a few months away, I’m on the search for future read alouds.  This is a great, straight-forward text for introducing food chains and food webs.  I like the diagrams throughout the text.  This would be a great text to read to introduce the idea of a diagram.  After reading the text aloud, students could make food webs of their breakfast or lunch that day.

October 12, 2009 at 12:11 pm Leave a comment

42. River of Dreams: The Story of the Hudson River by Hudson Talbott

river of dreamsRetell: A beautifully illustrated history of the Hudson River.

Topics: Hudson River, New York, Native Americans, Henry Hudson, dreamers, Dutch, explorers, British, American Revolution, Robert Fulton, Erie Canal, trade, Hudson River School Painters, Industrial Revolution, environment, Franny Reese, pollution, immigration

Units of Study: Nonfiction, Social Issues, Content Area

Tribes: mutual respect

Reading Skills: envisionment, determining importance, questioning, synthesis

Writing Skills: including expository text features

My Thoughts: My eyes grew wide when I spotted this book in Barnes and Noble this afternoon.  This book is treasure for New York 4th grade teachers who will be embarking on a year-long study of New York history.  A timeline painted in the shape of the Hudson River winds throughout the book noting historic events including:  the American Revolution, the commercial success of Fulton’s steamboat, the opening of the Erie Canal, and the Scenic Hudson Decision.  I think I may read this book in September when we discuss what we will be learning in Social Studies this year.  When we get to a new unit, I think I’ll reread corresponding sections of River of Dreams.  Talbott also highlights writers and artists who were inspired by the Hudson River such as Washington Irving, James Fenimore Cooper and the Hudson River School Painters.  This is a great book to use when discussing trade and industry.  There is a beautiful painting in the book that shows the Hudson River bursting with steamboats and schooners–“America’s first superhighway.”  I like how the story includes the environmental impact of industrial pollution and the story ends with a strong message–it’s up to us to protect the beauty of this river.

August 7, 2009 at 6:09 pm Leave a comment

13. A Dandelion’s Life by John Himmelman (The Nature Upclose Series)

a dandelion's life Retell: John Himmelman tells the life story, from seed to bloom, of the unappreciated dandelion.

Topics: dandelions, flowers, life cycle, narrative nonfiction

Units of Study: Nonfiction, Content-Area Reading and Writing

Reading Skills: prediction, determining importance, monitoring for sense

Writing Skills: incorporating transitional phrases, including text features

My Thoughts: A Dandelion’s Life is but one of several narrative nonfiction books in the Nature Upclose Series.  After reading this book I had a new appreciation for the dandelion.  This is a decent, simple example of narrative nonfiction that could be used as a mentor text during the Content-Area Reading and Writing unit.  If you’re a fourth grade teacher in New York, you will be pleased with how well this book could align with the Science unit:  Food Chains and Life Cycles.  Our fourth grade team is considering aligning that Science unit with the Content-Area Reading and Writing units, making A Dandelion’s Life a perfect read aloud fit.  The illustrations don’t just exclusively feature the dandelion.  Throughout the narrative butterflies, snakes, fireflies, birds and crickets make appearances.  I can envision readers using the illustrations to envision the habitat of each creature.  I think I’m going to keep my eye out for more books in this series.

July 9, 2009 at 9:00 am Leave a comment


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