Places Plants and Animals Live
Level E 

About the Book 

Text Type: Nonfiction/Informational
Page Count: 10
Word Count: 100 

Book Summary
This book introduces students to the various environments of animals and plants on Earth. Animal cards are provided for students to cut apart and place in the appropriate environment in the book. Repetitive phrases and high-frequency words support early readers.

About the Lesson

Targeted Reading Strategy

  • Connect to prior knowledge


  • Use the reading strategy of connecting to prior knowledge to understand text
  • Identify setting
  • Discriminate final sound /s/
  • Identify final consonant Ss
  • Recognize plural nouns
  • List words in alphabetical order


  • Book -- Places Plants and Animals Live (copy for each student)
  • Chalkboard or dry erase board
  • Animal cards (found at the back of the book Places Plants and Animals Live)
  • Final consonant Ss, plural nouns worksheets

    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: all, and, are, be, can, has, in, no, the, very
  • Content words: animals, cold, deserts, flat, grassy, hot, mountains, oceans, plains, plants, rainforests, rivers, salty, steep, tall, trees, tundra, water, wet, world

Before Reading 

Build Background

  • Write the word environment on the board and point to the word as you read it aloud to students. Repeat the process and have students say the word aloud.
  • Ask students to tell what they know about the meaning of environment. Explain that an environment is the place where a plant or animal lives.
  • Encourage students to discuss the types of environments they might already be familiar with. Discuss the plants and animals that live there.

Book Walk

Introduce the Book

  • Show students the front and back covers of the book and read the title with them. Ask what they think they might read about in a book called Places Plants and Animals Live. (Accept all answers that students can justify.)
  • Show students the title page. Discuss the information on the page (title of book, author's name, illustrator's name).
  • Write the following repetitive phrase on the board: Plants and animals live in ____. Read the phrase aloud, pointing to the words as you read them to students. Have students read the phrase aloud. Explain that these words repeat throughout the book.

Introduce the Reading Strategy: Connect to prior knowledge

  • Explain that good readers make connections between what they already know about a topic and new information they read. Remind them that thinking about what they already know about the topic of the book will help them understand and enjoy what they read.
  • Model connecting to prior knowledge using information on the covers.
    Think-aloud: When I look at the front cover of Places Plants and Animals Live, I see a fish swimming in the water and some plants in the background. This reminds me of fish I've seen swimming in ponds. There were lots of plants growing up from the bottom of the pond that the fish would hide behind if you got too close to them. Thinking about what I already know makes reading enjoyable.
  • 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 Comprehension Skill: Identify setting

  • Write the word setting on the board. Explain to students that sometimes books discuss many different places, or settings. Explain that the settings in this book are the different places where plants and animals live.
  • Model identifying the settings on the front and back covers.
    Think-aloud: When I look at the front cover, I see a fish swimming. I know that I've seen fish swimming in ponds. However, I also know that fish live in oceans, streams, and rivers. All of these places might be the setting in this picture.
  • Show students the back cover of the book. Ask them to tell about the setting represented in the picture.

Introduce the Vocabulary

  • Cut out pages 3 through 9 in an extra copy of the book. Place the pictures in a pocket chart or along the chalkboard ledge. Write the following words on index cards: desert, ocean, mountains, plains, rivers, rainforests, tundra. Read each word aloud with students.
  • Discuss with students the characteristics of the environment represented in each picture (deserts: dry; oceans: large bodies of salt water; mountains: cold, windy; plains: flat, grassy; rivers: large streams of water that are not salty; rainforests: wet; tundra: cold. Put the index card that names each environment next to its picture as the class discusses it.
  • Mix up the index cards and pictures. Invite volunteers to come to the board and match the name of an environment to its picture. Have students tell a characteristic about that environment.
  • For tips on teaching high-frequency words and word-attack strategies, click here.

Set the Purpose

  • Have students read to find out what kinds of places where animals and plants live. Remind them to use what they already know to help them decide which animals belong in each environment (setting).

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 (Plants). Point out where to begin reading on each page. Remind students to read the words from left to right.
  • 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 5, using their finger to point to each word as they read. Encourage students who finish before others to reread the text.
  • Introduce, explain, and have students cut apart the animal cards. Identify the name of each animal in the pictures. Model identifying the setting using prior knowledge.
    Think-aloud: As I read page 3, I thought about the plants and animals that live in the desert. I read that it is very hot and dry in the desert. I remember a time when I forgot to water the plants outside during the summer when it was very hot. After a few days, the plants had changed color from green to brown. The plants and animals that live in a desert must need very little water to survive. I know that cactus plants need very little water, and I see several of them in the picture. When I look at the animals on the cards, I can see that the picture of the mountain lion also includes a cactus plant. I think the mountain lion belongs in the desert setting. I will place this card in the picture of the desert in my book.
  • Have students locate another animal from the cards that belongs in the desert setting. Discuss the prior knowledge they used to select that animal for the desert setting.
  • Have students work in small groups to locate the animals that belong in the ocean and the mountain settings. Discuss the reasons why they placed the animals where they did.
  • Check for understanding: Have students read to the end of page 8. Have them continue to think about what they know about each setting and place the animals in the proper environment. Discuss the reasons why they placed each animal in the environment. Invite students to share examples of connecting to prior knowledge while reading.
  • Have students read the remainder of the book. Remind them to use what they already know and think about why each animal might belong in the environment.

    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.
  • Think-aloud: When I read page 9, I learned that the tundra is very cold and has no trees. This reminds me of cold weather I've experienced before. During this cold weather, it snowed outside. I know that animals that live in the snow have a heavy coat to keep them warm. I could tell that the polar bear belonged in the tundra picture because there were no trees and I could see snow in the background. I used what I already knew to better understand the book. I also used what I knew to help me determine which animals belonged in each setting.
  • Ask students to explain how using what they already knew helped them understand and enjoy the book. Invite them to share additional ways they connected to prior knowledge as they read.

Reflect on the Comprehension Skill

  • Discussion: Discuss each of the animals on page 10. Ask students how they determined the environment of each animal and why that animal might live in the place that it does.
  • Enduring understanding: In this book, you used information you already knew about animals and their environments to place them in the correct setting. Now that you know this information, why is it important for animals to live in a place that has the things they need to survive?

Build Skills 

Phonological Awareness: Discriminate final sound /s/

  • Say the word plants aloud to students, emphasizing the final /s/ sound. Have them say the word aloud and then say the final /s/ sound.
  • Read page 3 aloud to students. Have them raise their hand when they hear a word that ends with the /s/ sound.
  • Check for understanding: Say the following words one at a time and have students give the thumbs-up signal if the word ends with the /s/ sound: river, oceans, animals, mountain, deserts.

Phonics: Identify final consonant Ss

  • Write the word plants on the board and say it aloud with students.
  • Have students say the /s/ sound aloud. Then run your finger under the letters in the word plants as students say the whole word aloud. Ask students what letter stands for the /s/ sound in the word plants.
  • Have students practice forming the letter Ss in their palm while saying the sound the letter stands for.
  • Check for understanding: Write the following words that end with the /s/ sound on the board, leaving off the final /s/: deserts, animals, plants. Say each word, one at a time, and have volunteers come to the board and add the final -s to each word.
  • Independent practice: Introduce, explain, and have students complete the final consonant Ss worksheet. If time allows, discuss their answers.

Grammar and Mechanics: Plural nouns

  • Show students a picture of a person, a place, and a thing. Ask volunteers to identify the pictures. Explain that some words name a person, a place, or a thing. These naming words are called nouns.
  • Have students turn to page 3 in their book. Invite them to read the first sentence together, pointing to the words as you read them aloud. Ask students to point to the words that name things (plants, animals) and the word that names a place (deserts).
  • Write the words plants, animals, and deserts on the board. Ask students what they notice about the ending of these words (all end in -s). Explain that when the letter s is added to the end of a noun, the meaning of the word changes to more than one person, place, or thing. These naming words are called plural nouns.
  • Check for understanding: Have students reread the book and underline the plural nouns. When they have finished, discuss whether the plural nouns they underlined name a person, a place, or a thing.
  • Independent practice: Introduce, explain, and have students complete the plural nouns worksheet. If time allows, discuss their responses.

Word Work: Alphabetical order

  • Review or explain to students that words are sometimes placed in a list by alphabetical order. Words are placed in alphabetical order by first looking at the beginning letter in each word and then deciding which letter comes first in the alphabet.
  • Write the words animals and deserts on the board. Underline the first letter in each word. Ask students which letter comes first in the alphabet, a or d. Explain that the word animals would come first in an alphabetical list.
  • Write the word deserts and plants on the board. Have students identify the initial letter in each word (d and p).
  • Ask students to identify which letter comes first in the alphabet (d). Explain that the word deserts would come first in an alphabetical list.
  • Check for understanding: List the following content vocabulary words out of order on the board: animals, deserts, mountains, oceans, plants, rivers, tundra. Have students write the words in alphabetical order on a separate piece of paper. When they have finished, discuss their answers.

Build Fluency 

Independent Reading

  • Allow students to read their book independently. Additionally, partners can take turns reading parts of the book to each other.

Home Connection

  • Give students their book to take home to read with parents, caregivers, siblings, or friends. Have them identify each setting in the book and give reasons why they selected the animals to place in each environment.

Extend the Reading 

Expository Writing and Art Connection
Provide students with books about the environments discussed in the book. Have them choose one environment to illustrate with the plants and animals that live there. Have them write sentences that describe the environment they illustrated.

Science Connection
Work with students to create a list of the environments they have learned about in the book. Make a list of the characteristics of each environment. Discuss how they are alike and different.


Monitor students to determine if they can:

  • consistently connect to prior knowledge to understand text
  • accurately identify the settings in the book and place the correct animal in each environment
  • correctly discriminate between words that end with the /s/ sound
  • accurately identify and write the letter symbol that stands for the /s/ sound during discussion and on a worksheet
  • correctly identify and classify plural nouns during discussion and on a worksheet
  • correctly place words in alphabetical order during discussion and on a separate piece of paper

Comprehension Checks

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