Lesson Plans for KEB NEEDS A HOME Level M

Text Type:
Fiction / Narrative

Reading Level:

Word Count:


Text Summary
A hermit crab named Keb is too big to live in a normal-sized snail shell. Keb is chased by seagulls and teased by other hermit crabs because he looks naked without a home to live in. After trying out various homes, Keb finally finds a blue boot that has washed ashore. It's the perfect home for him.

Lesson Objectives
Reading Strategies
Children should use a variety of strategies to decode words and bring meaning to print. The targeted strategy for this lesson is: Using Think-Alouds.

Word and Print Skills

ea digraph

Word Work
Compound words, synonyms

You will likely address a number of comprehension skills as children work to understand the text. The targeted comprehension strategy for this lesson is: Differentiating between the main idea and supporting details.

Visual Learning
Developing an understanding of the importance of noticing picture details will increase children’s word recognition, fluency, and story comprehension.

Targeted Vocabulary Words
Content Words
hermit crab, spectacular, twinkling, proportions, advantages, discarded, enormity, proper, naked, nakedness, teasing, seaweed, starfish, handsome, swooping, enormous, laughingstock, envy.
Note: Each of the target words was chosen because of its difficulty for children at this level. As you explore the book, be certain to define each of these words, in context, so as to build and enhance understanding.

Before Reading

Introducing the Book
Distribute the books to children and ask them to follow along as you introduce the book. Direct their attention to the front cover. Ask: What do you see? Does the picture look like anything you’ve seen before? (from the Building Background section) Explain that it is a crab. Point to the title and have children read along as you say the words. Ask: Does the picture and the title give you information about what is going to happen in the book? Note the illustrator and author names. Ask the children to turn to the title page. Ask them to read aloud the title and then look at the picture. Ask: Where do you think the crab is in the picture? How can you tell? Now can you guess what the story is going to be about? Have children turn to the back cover and point to the title of the book. Explain that the picture on the back cover is one taken from inside the book.

Building Background
Ask children if they have been to a beach near an ocean or sea. If some children have experienced walking on a beach or sandy shore, ask if they have noticed seashells that have washed ashore, such as empty snail shells. If the children have little knowledge or no knowledge of the topic, locate picture books that depict beach scenes, books with seashells, etc. Or, locate a video that can be shared with the entire class. Explain that one kind of sea animal that lives on the beach or seashore is called a crab, a broad, flat shellfish with four pairs of legs and a pair of claws. Show pictures of different types of crabs, especially the hermit crab. Ask: Where do you think crabs live on the beach? Do you think they burrow into the sand to keep warm? Do they crawl into old washed up shells to live in? How do you think they find safety from predators? To extend the discussion, have children research other animals that live at the seashore or beach.

Book Walk
Have children follow along in the book as you introduce them to important features. Begin with the cover and the title page. Ask them to pay attention to the illustrations. For example, on page 3, ask: What do you see on this page? Do you think the hermit crabs are at the ocean? On page 4, ask: What time of day is it? How can you tell? On page 5, note the words spectacular proportions and check for understanding. On page 7, slowly read the second sentence, Being big made it easy for hungry gulls to spot Keb as they hung like kites in the stiff sea breeze. Ask: What does it mean to "hang like kites in the stiff sea breeze?" Explain that this is an example of a simile, or a way of describing something by comparing it with something else. A simile uses the word like or as. For example: "They hung like kites in the stiff sea breeze."

Continue the Book Walk to page 10. Note the compound word normal-sized. Explain that it is one of three types of compound words—two whole words separated by a hyphen. Also note the word enormity and check for understanding. On page 18, tell them to look at the words fine-looking. This is an example of another compound word separated by a hyphen. On page 22, ask: What is the bubble for on the page? Is Kermit thinking about something? What do you think he is thinking? On page 24, point out the word ah-ha and have children repeat ah-ha. Ask: Do you say ah-hah? Move along to page 27 and point to the words ooooed and aaahed. Ask: What do these words mean? When do you use these words?

On page 28, ask children to describe what they think is happening. Direct their attention to the sign Open House and the presents and crackers. Also note the word laughingstock and ask if they know what the word means. If not, explain that it’s a compound word that is used when something is being made fun of—The dog was the laughingstock of the show.

Reading Strategies
Discuss reading strategies children can use to help them read. Focus on comprehension strategies rather than on word meaning strategies. You might ask questions such as:
  • How will the pictures help you understand the text?
  • How does what you read connect to what you already know?
  • What can you do when you come to a word you do not understand?
What can you do if you don’t understand a part you have just read?

During Reading

Student Reading

Give each child a book. Children can read alone or with a partner. Have them begin the book with the cover and the title page. As they read, ask them to point to each word. Monitor their reading and provide prompts when necessary. When children come to difficult or confusing words or sentences, ask them to:
  • Stop and sound out the first letter of the word. Then sound out subsequent letters of the word(s).
  • Reread.
  • Look for picture clues.
  • Ask themselves, "Does this word make sense when I read it in the sentence? Do I understand the information I have just read?"

After Reading

Comprehending the Text
Ask children to share what they did when they came to a difficult word, words, or sentences.

To monitor comprehension, ask questions like:
  • What was the main idea in the story?
  • What are some of the supporting details?
  • Was there more than one character?
  • What size was Keb?
  • Where did he live until he finally found a home?
  • What did he find for his new home?
  • Did the other crabs laugh at Keb? Why?
  • How did the story end?

Visual Learning
Have the children use the pictures in the book to see if they can tell what is happening on the page without the text. Some children have different vocabulary for things on the beach and that is fine, as long as it is appropriate and you are able to see understanding on the child’s part.

Building Skills

Write the words Vowel Digraph and Vowel Team on the chalkboard or chart paper. Next, explain to children that the vowel digraph (or vowel team) ea can have a long and a short sound assigned to it. The long sound is more frequent in words that the short sound, like the words in Keb Needs a Home: seashore, sea, beat, teasing, and seaweed. When children encounter this vowel digraph in a word, they should try the long sound first. The only way for children to know which sound is correct is to try both sounds and see which forms a word that is in their speaking or listening vocabularies (assuming they have heard the words before). Help children brainstorm words with the vowel digraph ea and write them on the chalkboard or chart paper.

Tell children that when the vowel digraph, or vowel team, ea is followed by an r, it makes a sound like the one in ear or like the one in searched and heard. Help children think of other words that follow this pattern and write them on the board.

Word Work
Write the word Synonym on the chalkboard or chart paper. Explain that a synonym is a word that means the same or nearly the same as another word. For example, a synonym for the word big is huge. Write the definition on the chalkboard or post it on a poster for children to see and review. Locate words from Keb Needs a Home, write them on the board, and have children create synonyms for each of them. Then ask them to share what they have written. Use the following suggested list:

Compound Words
Explain to children that compound words are made by joining two whole words. The joined words may be two nouns (basketball, cookbook), two non-nouns (flashback, payoff), or a noun and a non-noun (blackbird, sunrise). When they form a compound word, the two words do not always keep the same meaning they had as separate words (brainstorm, shoelace). Some paired words are treated like compound words but use a hyphen between the two words (trade-off) or have a space between them (time clock, chart paper).

Have children reread the book to look for compound words. Ask them to write the words on a piece of paper or in a notebook. When they have finished, ask them to tell you the words they found. Then, write them on the chalkboard or chart paper. Discuss the kinds of compound words they found: two nouns, two non-nouns, a noun and a non-noun. Ask: Did some of the words have a space between them? When they were separate words, what did they mean? What happened when the two separate words were put together?
page 3: seashore
page 4: sunrises, sunsets
page 10: normal-sized
page 11: sideways
page 18: seaweed, fine-looking
page 19: seaweed
page 22: starfish
page 27: handsome
page 28: laughingstock

Have children work in pairs to form as many new compound words as they can. Next, have them use the words in sentences. When they have finished, ask them to read the compound words and the sentences they wrote using the words.

Write the word Noun on the chalkboard or chart paper. Explain that a noun is a word that is the name of something. A noun can name a thing (Luke the dog, an apple), a person (a girl, a boy, Tom, the teacher), or a place (a state, California). For example, in the story, Keb Needs a Home, crab is a noun and Keb is a noun. Write examples on the board for children to see as you discuss nouns in sentences:
You see, Keb was a Hermit crab of spectacular proportions.
Sunrises and sunsets can be pretty spectacular.
Keb walked sideways up and down the shore.

Have children work in pairs to reread the story. Ask them to find examples of nouns. When they have finished, have them read their sentences and tell which of the words are nouns. Ask them to state the definition.

Expand on the Reading

Writing Connection
Ask children to think of a time when they have been to the seashore, beach, or other special place. Have them write where they went and what they did when they got there. Have them illustrate what they wrote and share with the group.

Science Connection
Explain that there are different kinds of crabs. Have children research a specific crab: Where does the crab live, what does it eat, how does it stay safe, how long does it live, how big or small is it, etc. Have them write the information in a notebook and then share their research with the group. Encourage children to use as many sources for information as possible—the library, the computer, or viewing a video. If you live near a seashore or beach, plan a fieldtrip, if possible. Or if you have an aquarium in your town or city, ask someone to come and speak with children about sea life and other aspects of living in or near the water.

Reading Independently

Ask children to read the book alone and then with a partner. When they read with a partner, ask them to share with each other what they know about crabs and other animals that live on the beach.

Home Connection
Have each child take home a copy of Keb Needs a Home to read with a family member. Have each child ask a family member to help him or her find an object at home that Keb could use as his home. Have them bring their "homes" in to share with the class.

  • Monitor children’s responses in the Comprehending the Text section to assess how well they understand the story.
  • Monitor reading to see if children are using the effective reading strategies.
  • Monitor their ability to understand and use the ea vowel digraph.

Check the Comprehension and Skills Activity Sheets for following directions and completing the activity accurately.

Go to "Keb Needs a Home" main page