Lesson Plans for SEA TURTLES level R

Text Type:
Fact / Informational Text

Reading Level:


Word Count:

Text Summary
Written in a clear, engaging style, Sea Turtles provides details about the physical appearance, nesting patterns, and predators of sea turtles. The author's love for these endangered animals is apparent as she helps us realize that they deserve to live free from hunting and exploitation.

Lesson Objectives
Reading Strategies

Children should use a variety of strategies to determine word meaning and comprehend text. The targeted strategy for this lesson is: Reading for critical information using Book Marks or Reading Logs.

Book Marks are pieces of paper with notes written on them, placed in the pages to which they refer. They can contain questions, or comments, or they can serve as notes for important information that will be useful later. Reading Logs are notebooks in which children can take notes about the plot, useful information, or the main ideas of the book. Either of these methods are effective in helping children to organize and remember information.

Word and Print Skills
ea digraph

Word Work
Building Vocabulary
Compound Words

You will likely address a number of comprehension skills as children work to understand the text. The targeted comprehension strategy for this lesson is: Rereading to find important details.

Visual Learning
Helping children to develop a better understanding of the relationship between picture details and text will help them solve challenging words or passages. In Sea Turtles, there are a number of photographs and illustrations used to support the text, increase child interest, and foster reading fluency.

Targeted Vocabulary Words
Content Words

prominent, unique, scutes, carapace, plastron, rudders, carnivore, herbivore, omnivore, endangered

Before Reading

Building Background
Most children have some knowledge about sea turtles, either from reading books, going to the aquarium, or seeing them at the beach. Children may not know how many different types of sea turtles there are, how many different sizes, which part of the world they live in, what foods they eat, how they nest, and how they are protected.

Write the name sea turtles on the chalkboard or chart paper. Tell children that sea turtles are among the earth’s oldest surviving animals—they lived during the time of dinosaurs. Begin a discussion by asking questions. Ask: How many of you know what a sea turtle looks like? Where did you see one? Can you describe it? Encourage children to tell all that they think they know about sea turtles. Record their responses on a KWL chart. Ask: What would you like to know about sea turtles? Record the information on the chart.

Tell children they are going to read a book about sea turtles. As they read, tell them to write the information they are learning on their Book Marks or Reading Logs. After they complete the book, tell them you will record the information they learned on the KWL chart.

K (What I Think I Know) W (What I Want to Learn) L (What I Learned)

Introducing the Book
Direct children’s attention to the cover of the book. Note the title and the names of the author and illustrator. Ask: What information does the cover give you about the book? Turn to the Title Page. Tell children that the title, as well as the author’s and illustrator’s names, also appear on this page. However, there is one difference that you want them to notice. Ask: How is the title page different from the cover? What information does this photo tell you? Explain that the title page sets the scene for the book.

Book Walk
Have children follow along in the book as you introduce and acquaint them with important features:

  • Table of Contents
  • Section headings, pages 4, 6, 12, 16, 20, 22
  • Bold-face terminology
  • Do You Know special interest boxes
  • Photos and photo captions
  • Glossary of key vocabulary words

Reading Strategies
Introduce children to strategies they might find helpful while reading this scientific informational text. Using a Reading Log or Bookmark as they read will help them remember and internalize important factual information. Using these strategies, they will also be better able to self-monitor.

During Reading

Student Reading
Have children read the book one section at a time. When they finish a section, briefly discuss the information presented, answer questions, and help them with any difficult words or passages they may experience while reading. Remind them to look at the photos or illustrations and to read the photo captions.

Have children read from the introduction to page 6. Ask questions to help children understand and comprehend the text, for example:
  • What does the term cold-blooded mean?
  • Where do sea turtles live?
  • How long have sea turtles lived?

Ask children to read the next section, pages 6 to 12. Point out the Do You Know box and tell them that the box provides them with interesting information not found in the text. Remind them to read the captions. As you read, pause at unfamiliar or difficult vocabulary and check for understanding, for example, ask: What does the word prominent mean? When children read the words, scutes, carapace, and plastron, have them go to the glossary and read the definitions. All bold-faced words are found in the glossary. If children have difficulty with other words, have them look them up in a dictionary.

Move to the next section, pages 12 to 15. Point out the Do You Know box. To help children visualize the differing sizes of sea turtles, find objects in the classroom that approximate the sizes (6 ft., 30 inches) discussed on page 12. Briefly discuss centimeters, meters, and kilograms to increase understanding. Write the words on the chalkboard and give the equivalent in measurement, for example: 2.54 centimeters = 1 inch. Pause on unfamiliar vocabulary such as carnivorous, herbivorous, and omnivorous. Tell them that the words in parentheses define what the words mean.

To help children understand the section heading on page 16, ask: What does nesting mean? Have them continue reading from page 16 to 19, including the Do You Know boxes and photo captions. To help children visualize the size and feel of the sea turtles’ eggs, bring in ping pong balls for observation.

Have children continue reading pages 20 and 21. Ask questions to increase comprehension, such as:

  • What are the dangers to sea turtles?
  • How can we help to keep sea turtles safe?

Have children read to the end of the book, pages 22 – 25.
  • Ask children if they think sea turtles should be protected and how they would protect them.
  • Discuss the term international treaty—what it is and why it is important to sea turtles.
  • Ask: What do you think can be done to protect sea turtles from becoming extinct?

Direct their attention to the glossary. Explain that important words from the text and their definitions are found in the glossary.

Have children reread the book independently or with a partner.

After Reading

Comprehending the Text
  • Ask children to share the strategies they used to help them understand difficult words or difficult passages. If they used a Bookmark or Reading Log, ask them to tell how the strategy helped.
  • Check for understanding with questions from each section. (During Reading).
  • Ask children what new information they learned about sea turtles and record it on the KWL chart. Compare what they thought they knew to what they learned from their reading.
For additional information about sea turtles, have children go to the library or use the Internet.

Building Skills

Word Work
Compound Words
Explain to children that compound words are made by the joining of two words. The joined words may be two nouns, two non-nouns, or a noun and non-noun (blackbird, sunrise). When they form a compound word, the two words do not always keep the same meaning as 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 blank space between them (time clock, pinch hitter).

Have children reread the book for compound words. Tell them to write the words on a piece of paper or in their Word Journals. When they have finished, ask them to tell you the words they found and then write them on chart paper or the chalkboard. Discuss the kinds of compound word they found: two nouns, two non-nouns, a noun and non-nouns. Ask: Did some of the words have a blank space between them? When they were separate words what did the mean? What happened when the two separate words were put together?
page 4: sea turtles, cold-blooded
page 5: freshwater, salt water
page 6: leatherback
page 9: loggerheads, hawk-like, overlapping
page 10: five-mile, heart-shaped, grey-brown
page 11: flatback
page 13: streamlined, without, hind flippers
page 14: beak-like
page 15: slow-moving, nearsighted
page 16: egg cavity
page 19: nighttime
page 21: jellyfish
page 23: international, careless
page 24: beachcombers

Have children work in pairs to form as many new compound words as they can. Ask them to find different compound words. Give each pair of children 5 minutes. Set a timer. Write the kinds of compound words on the chalkboard. When children tell you the words they created, record them under the appropriate heading (two nouns, two non-nouns, noun/non-noun).

Building Vocabulary

Write some of the more challenging content words on chart paper. Have children look up the words in a dictionary or in the glossary and have them write down the definitions in their Word Journal. Ask children to read aloud the definitions of each word. Then ask volunteers to use the words in sentences.

Expand on the Reading

Writing Connection
Have children work in pairs to expand the topic of protecting sea turtles. Have them write or illustrate the information they discover. Provide prompts to help them begin their study:

  • What would happen to sea turtles if there were too many buildings near the beaches?
  • What would you do to protect sea turtles from predators?

Science Connection
Have children work together to research the International Treaty that protects all species of sea turtles. What does the treaty do, how does it help save sea turtles, what sea turtle products does it ban, etc. Have them use books from the library, encyclopedias, or the Internet for their research. Have them record their findings in a notebook. Have children discuss how the treaty helps sea turtles and why sea turtle products should be banned. Then ask them to write and illustrate their findings to share with the class.

Reading Independently
Have children read the book independently or with a partner. If they choose to read as partners, have them quiz each other on pertinent facts that are on each page. Model the activity. For example:
  • Page 19: Do sea turtle eggs start out as male or female? What happens that determines whether they are male or female?
  • Pages 16–17: How does the female sea turtle protect her hatchlings?
  • Pages 12–15: What sea turtle has been recorded as the largest?

Home Connection
Have children take the book home to share with a family member. Provide questions that parents or caregivers can use to share in the reading with their child. For example:
  • When reading with your child, stop periodically and talk about what has happened so far. Ask your child to recall facts from each section.
  • Help your child do additional research on sea turtles that he/she can share with the class.
  • Help children to practice the target content words, and other words from the book. Ask them to put the words into sentences and then write them down in their Word Journal or notebook.

  • Monitor children’s responses to the questions asked in the During Reading and After Reading sections to see how well they understood the informational content of the book.
  • Monitor children’s reading to check for appropriate use of reading strategies, such as Bookmarks or Reading Logs.
  • Review Lesson Objectives to check that children have met projected goals.
  • Review the outcomes from the Expand the Reading section. Check for understanding, following directions, imagination, and completion of activities in a timely manner.

Discuss the information recorded on the KWL chart—what they thought they knew, what they wanted to learn, and what new information they learned.

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