Baby Animals
Level A

About the Book 

Text Type: Nonfiction/Concept Book
Page Count: 10
Word Count: 32

Book Summary
What child--or what adult, for that matter--can resist the charm of a puppy, a lion cub, or a lamb? Simple and adorable photos accompany the repeated text patterns. While new vocabulary such as foal and kid may challenge students, the high-interest subject will keep them reading.

About the Lesson

Targeted Reading Strategy

  • Ask and answer questions


  • Use the strategy of asking and answering questions to make meaning from text
  • Main idea and details
  • Discriminate initial sound /k/
  • Associate the letter Kk with the sound /k/
  • Understand that sentences begin with a capital letter and end with some form of punctuation
  • Understand words for baby animals


  • Book -- Baby Animals (copy for each student)
  • Chalkboard or dry erase board
  • Main idea and details, picture cards, capitalization and punctuation worksheets
  • Shoe box with a picture of a kitten on the lid and a slit made in the lid so students can put in pictures
  • Picture cards made from the picture cards worksheet
  • Word journal (optional)

Indicates an opportunity for student to mark in the book. (All activities may be completed with paper and pencil if books are reusable.)


  • High-frequency words: this, is, a
  • Content words: kitten, puppy, chick, cub, calf, kid, lamb, foal

Before Reading 

Build Background

  • Ask students to think of animals that they have seen or heard about. Lead them to name some of the animals they will encounter in the book, for example, goat, chicken, and so on. Record their responses on a list on the board.
  • Explain that most young animals have different names, in the same way that they are called children and teenagers before they are called adults. Read the animals on the list one by one, and ask students if they know the name for the baby. Write the names for the babies on the list. If students do not know the name, say it, ask the students to repeat, and write the name on the board.

Book Walk

Introduce the Book

  • Show students the front and back covers of the book and read the title with them. Ask what they might read about in a book called Baby Animals . (Accept any answers students can justify). Have students predict what kind of baby animals they might see in the book.
  • Show students the title page. Discuss the information on the page (title of book, author's name).

Introduce the Reading Strategy: Ask and answer questions

  • Explain that a good way to read a book is to ask questions as you read. Model how to ask questions as you preview the covers of the book.
  • Think-aloud: On the front cover, I see a baby cow, which I know is called a calf, and a baby dog, or puppy, on the front. On the back cover, I see another baby animal. It looks like a kind of cat. I wonder if this animal is called a kitten. I wonder what kinds of baby animals I'll find in the book. These are good questions. I'll look for the answers as I read.
  • Preview the rest of the book with students. Encourage them to ask questions as they view the illustrations.
  • As students read, encourage them to use other reading strategies in addition to the targeted strategy presented in this section. For tips on additional reading strategies, click here.

Introduce the Vocabulary

  • Go through each page of the book with the students, asking them to talk about what they see in the picture. As vocabulary words are mentioned, point to the corresponding word to help the student make the picture/word connection. Any vocabulary words not offered by the students should be introduced. Offer students opportunities to say the words, talk about their meanings, and use the words in sentences. Tell them that they will need to look at the pictures and at the beginning letters of the words to read them.
  • Encourage students to add new vocabulary words to their word journals.
  • For additional tips on teaching high-frequency words or word-attack strategies, click here.

Set the Purpose

  • Have students read the book to answer their questions about baby animals.

During Reading 

Student Reading

  • Guide the reading: Give students their copy of the book. Have a volunteer point to the first word on page 3. Read the word together (This). Point out where to begin reading on each page. Remind students to read words from left to right. Point to each word as you read it aloud while students follow along in their own book.
  • Ask students to place a finger on the page number in the bottom corner of the page. Have them read to the end of page 6, using their finger to point to each word as they read. Encourage students who finish before others to reread the text.
  • Ask students to tell what animals they have read about. Have them share answers they found to their questions and additional questions raised.
  • Think-aloud: I wanted to know if the animal on the back cover is a kitten. I learned that it is called a cub. It must not be a baby cat that many people have as pets. I wonder what animal a cub will grow up to be. I'll have to keep reading to find out.
  • Have students read the remainder of the story. Remind them to look for answers to their questions as they read.

Have students make a small question mark in their book beside any word they do not understand or cannot pronounce. These can be addressed in the discussion that follows.

After Reading

Reflect on the Reading Strategy

  • Ask students what words, if any, they marked in their book. Use this opportunity to model how they can read these words using decoding strategies and context clues. Reinforce that asking and answering a question helps students understand the story. (Asking and answering questions encourages students to be actively involved in their reading.)
  • Think-aloud: I did not find an answer to my question about what animal a cub will grow up to be. But I did learn about other baby animals. Asking a question before I started reading and looking for the answer helped me think about what I was reading. It also helped me figure out what the book was about.
  • Invite students to share answers to their questions. Discuss additional strategies students used to gain meaning from the book.

Teach the Comprehension Skill: Main idea and details

  • Discussion: Have students tell their favorite animal in the book and why.
  • Introduce and model the skill: Explain to students that books they read have a main idea that tells what the book is about. The title of the book and the pictures can be clues to identify the main idea. Discuss the main idea of this book. (There are many kinds of baby animals). Make a large web on the board and write the following words in the center circle: Baby Animals. Explain that there are details in the book that tell about the main idea.
  • Think-aloud: I know the book is about baby animals. When I read page 4, I read about a puppy. A puppy is a baby dog. A dog is an animal. This is a detail that tells about the main idea. Write puppy in the first outer circle on the web.
  • Check for understanding: Ask students what they would write in the next circle. Have them point to a detail in their book that tells about the main idea. Observe and discuss their responses.
  • Independent practice: Introduce, explain, and have students complete the main idea and details worksheet. If time allows, discuss their answers.

Extend the discussion: Instruct students to use the last page of their book to draw a picture of a baby animal they would like to have. Have students share their pictures with the group.

Build Skills 

Phonological Awareness: Discriminate initial /k/

  • Say the word kitten and have students repeat the word. Tell students the word kitten starts with the /k/ sound. Have students repeat the sound several times.
  • Cut apart the picture cards worksheet. Tell students that they are going to identify pictures that start with the /k/ sound as in kitten. Show students two pictures, one that begins with the /k/ sound and one that does not (for example, kite and lion). Say the names of the pictures and have the students repeat the names. Ask which picture begins with the /k/ sound (kite). Repeat with the remaining pictures. Then give the pictures to individual pairs of students and have them sort the pictures into two groups: those that begin with the /k/ sound and those that don't.

Phonics: Initial consonant Kk

  • Write the letter Kk on the board and ask students to name the letter. Tell them the letter k stands for the /k/ sound they hear in the word kitten. Write the word kitten on the board, and ask a volunteer to come to the board and circle the letter that makes the /k/ sound.
  • Have students search the book to find the word kitten (page 3). Then ask them to find another word in the book that starts with the /k/ sound (kid, page 8).
  • Write the word kid on the board and have a volunteer come up and circle the letter that stands for the /k/ sound.

Grammar and Mechanics: Capitalization and punctuation

  • Have students read the first sentence in the book. Then copy it on the board. Tell students that a sentence always begins with a capital letter. Circle the T and tell students that this is a capital letter.
  • Tell students that every sentence has to have a signal at the end so the reader will know when to stop reading. A sentence that tells something (like this one does) has a period. The period is used as a stop sign. Circle the period at the end of the sentence.
  • Independent practice: Introduce, explain, and have the students complete the capitalization and punctuation worksheet. If time allows, discuss their answers.

Word Work: Content vocabulary

  • Ask students to find the words in the book that name baby animals. As each word is found, ask whether the word is on the list made prior to reading. If it is, put a checkmark next to the word. If it is not on the list, add the word to the list.
  • When students have found all of the words, check if any words are left without a check. Read these words with students.
  • Ask students if they can think of any other baby animals to add to the list.

Build Fluency 

Independent Reading

  • Allow students to read their book independently or with a partner. Additionally, partners can take turns reading in the book.

Home Connection

  • Give students their book to take home to read with parents, caregivers, siblings, or friends.

Extend the Reading 

Writing Connection
Use the sentence pattern This is a… to create a class book. Discuss animals that live in different places, such as the jungle or the ocean. Provide the names of their young. Help students with the missing words in their sentences. Ask students to illustrate their sentences. Display their pictures on a bulletin board titled "Animal Babies."

Social Studies Connection
Review that a calf is a baby cow. Discuss the types of products that come from dairy cows, such as milk, cheese, and butter.


Monitor students to determine if they can:

  • consistently ask and answer questions while reading
  • accurately identify details that support the main idea during discussion and on a worksheet
  • correctly sort pictures according to whether the picture name begins with the /k/ sound during discussion
  • associate the letter Kk with the sound /k/ during discussion
  • add appropriate punctuation to the sentences on a worksheet
  • read or say words that name baby animals during discussion

Comprehension Check

Go to "Baby Animals" main page