Workbooks for Readers and Writers: Life in the Ocean
Biography of Sylvia Earle
Kinds of Exercises
• syllables and pronunciation
• compound words
• select one meaning from many in a dictionary
• find synonyms
• find adjectives
• words with +ful suffix
Reading comprehension skills
• read for details
• literal and figurative meanings of similes:
o write similes
o illustrate literal and figurative meanings (my students LOVE to draw!)
• guess new words from context
• use features of text to discover meaning (italics)
• sequence events in time order
• examine numbers in text and connect to them in meaningful way
• comparisons using a venn diagram
• infer deleted word
• find antecedent for pronoun
Writing skills (sentence level)
• editing spelling, capitalization, and punctuation
• compare simple and complex writing styles
• summarize long sentence in your own words
• write original sentences following pattern of author’s expressions
• write sentences of exclamation
• summarize message of text
• share writing orally
This workbook accompanies Life in the Ocean by Claire A. Nivola, one of the non-fiction texts from Scholastic Guided Reading program. The book is rich in language and content that you can exploit to raise your students’ reading comprehension and writing skills. The workbook also includes opportunities for students to do their own illustrations—my students love to draw!
The workbook divides the text into 8 sections. Because we are working on close reading of the text and finding evidence in the text, the workbook does not move quickly through the book. Each day’s activities examine and analyze only a small portion of the text.
For some reason known only to the publisher, this book does not have page numbers. Beginning with 1 on the page with the blue earth, have the students number the pages from 1-30 in the lower corner of the pages.
Each section begins with a couple of pre-reading exercises to introduce new vocabulary or long words that may be challenging to the students. This is an opportunity for you to explain new words before assigning the reading. Depending on the text, there may also be sentences with complex syntax to examine in the pre-reading exercises.
Extended writing: Before writing paragraphs, students answer questions in the workbook to collect details for their writing. The writing assignment leads them to consolidate the information into a coherent paragraph. The writings in the workbook can be use as “first drafts” for subsequent writing-process editing work.
The workbook contains six writing assignments based on collected facts
• Why we need the ocean
• Describe Sylvia from mother’s point of view
• Friendly letter, from Sylvia to former classmate
• Write comparison/contrast of people and sea animals
• Describe Sylvia from father’s point of view
• Write short biography of Sylvia
The answer key gives short answers. In many cases, student answers will vary, and you can set your own standards for what kind of answers (complete sentences or just phrases) you expect. You can also use the assignments in the workbook as “first drafts,” and ask for more polished work on separate paper.
In my class, I have differentiated reading groups that are working on different books, depending on the students’ levels. In the group, we do the pre-reading, then students read sections aloud. We review how to answer the following questions, and the students go to their desks to work independently or with a partner while I work with another group. This workbook can also be used for whole-group instruction if you have a class set of the book.
33 (workbook) + answer key and teaching notes