Posts tagged ‘volcanoes’

130. Planet Earth/Inside Out by Gail Gibbons

planet earth_inside outRetell: Gail Gibbons imagines what we would see if we looked inside the earth.

Topics: earth, gravity, ocean, Pangaea, equator, continents, earth model, fossils, plates, earthquakes, volcanoes, islands

Units of Study: Nonfiction, Content-Area

Reading Skills: monitoring for sense, envisionment, determining importance, synthesis

My Thoughts: We are wrapping up our Science unit on Earth Movements this Friday and I was looking for a text to end with.  This book ties in a lot of subjects within this unit:  the earth model, Pangaea, plate tectonics, faults, earthquakes, volcanoes, etc.  The illustrations, which contain clear and useful diagrams, help readers comprehend the text.  However, in some parts, readers most add to the illustrations with details from their own mental picture and think about what is not in the illustrations.

November 9, 2009 at 9:09 pm Leave a comment

107. Volcanoes by Franklyn M. Branley

volcanoes branleyRetell: Branley describes how volcanoes form and how geologists constantly pay attention to their activity.

Topics: volcanoes, eruptions, earthquakes, geologists, earth movements

Units of Study: Nonfiction, Content-Area

Reading Skills: envisionment, monitoring for sense

My Thoughts: While reading this book I was reminded of work I did last year.  Some colleagues and I examined level K and L books in order to investigate why readers struggle at those levels.  We noticed that books at this level usually have illustrations that convey information about part of the text.  Proficient readers understand that the illustration supports what the text says.  Struggling readers will form their mental picture of what’s going on from the illustration and not from the text.   We discovered that it was important to teach readers to not rely completely on the illustration, but to envision what’s not in the illustration.  Volcanoes is a great read aloud for modeling this strategy.  For example, when Branley describes the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, the illustration shows the volcano erupting in the background of a lively city; the readers must envision the city being buried.  If we don’t model this thinking during the read aloud, students may miss vital pieces of information.  Prompts I like to use during read aloud to push this thinking are:

  • “What’s missing from the illustration?”
  • “What would you add to the illustration?”
  • “Where would you put that idea in the illustration?”
  • “Paint the illustration in the air.  Think about what you would include.”

October 11, 2009 at 10:37 pm Leave a comment

88. Volcanoes by Seymour Simon

volcanoesRetell: The title pretty much speaks for itself.  Seymour Simon explains how volcanoes form and why some volcanoes are not as destructive as others.

Topics: volcanoes, magma, lava, Mount St. Helens, Mt. Shasta, plates, Mt. Hood, Surtsey, legends

Units of Study: Nonfiction, Content Area

Reading Skills: determining importance, envisionment, monitoring for sense

Writing Skills: supporting a thesis with reasons and examples, including similes in nonfiction writing

My Thoughts: The photographs in Simon’s books draw me in and I find myself becoming interested in subjects I had never cared about before.  Volcanoes is another great nonfiction title that could support the Earth Movements unit.  (See post #87.)  Unlike many nonfiction books for kids, this book doesn’t organize the information into friendly headings.  It’s a great way to model how readers organize expository text, creating our own mental headings and subheadings.

September 23, 2009 at 7:55 pm Leave a comment

87. How Mountains Are Made by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld

how mountains are madeRetell: A group of children climb a nearby mountain.  During the climb they start wondering about how mountains are made.

Topics: mountains, erosion, plate tectonics, earth movements, volcanoes

Units of Study: Nonfiction, Content-Area

Habits of Mind: responding with wonderment and awe

Reading Skills: questioning, determining importance, envisionment

My Thoughts: This is a great read aloud to supplement the fourth grade New York Delta FOSS Kit unit on Earth Movements.  It’s a simple example of how narrative nonfiction and expository nonfiction are often blended together within the same text.  The illustrated characters who narrate the text are a little distracting but you can choose whether or not to read their speech bubbles out loud.

September 21, 2009 at 9:24 pm 1 comment


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