Martin Waddell's book "Owl Babies" tells the sweet story of three young owls waiting for the return of their mother. Preschoolers will really relate to the three small owls who are missing their mommy. Use the big book to present a shared reading lesson and learning activities.
Because Owl Babies has more text than your typical shared reading choice the main focus of these lessons will be on comprehension. Use this preschool lesson to teach your students about story sequence. Share the story over several days and your students will be joining in to read the repeated lines in the book.
Write each of the following events on a separate sentence strip.
- The owl babies find their mother gone.
- The owl babies wait for their mother.
- The owl babies move together onto Sarah's branch.
- The mother owl returns to the tree.
Day One: Hold up the book Owl Babies and ask the class what they think that it will be about. After letting a few students predict, read the title author and illustrator, pointing to each as you read. Turn the first page and say "I see three smaller owls and big one. The small ones must be the three owl babies and I think the big one is their mother."
Then turn to the next page and say, " It looks like the babies are alone. I wonder where the mother went." Ask the students where they think she is and discuss their ideas.
Continue to flip through the pictures commenting every few pages. When you are finished say, "Let's read to find out what happened to the baby owls and their mother. I wonder if any of our predictions were right."
Begin to read the story stopping to think aloud every few pages. This lets the students peek into your thought process and learn that you are always thinking when you read. You might say, "She's been gone a long time. I bet the babies are getting worried." or "I bet they feel less scared when they are sitting close together like that." After reading talk about what happened and whether any of their predictions were right.
Day Two: Tell the class that are going to read the book again. Begin reading the book and invite the students to join in if they want. They'll all be chiming in on the repeating line, "I want my mommy!" before you're halfway through the book.
After you finish reading show the students four sentences strips where you have written events from the story. Read over the events and then put them in a pocket chart out of order. Read them again and ask them if that is how the story went. Explain that even though those things happened in the story, it changes the story if you mix up the sequence. Have them help you put the events in order and read them again. Reread the story to check to see if if they are in the right order.
Day Three: Write the sentence "I want my mommy!" on a sentence strip. Read it with the class and then cut the words apart. Choose four students to come up to the front of the class. Give each one a word from the sentence. Have them read their words and and stand in order. Begin reading the book again. When you get to the second page where Bill says "I want my mommy!" for the first time, stop and the have the students "be" the words - holding their word cards and reading the phrase. Choose four more students and repeat the procedure each time you come to the phrase.
Give the students a strip of paper with the words "I want my mommy!" written on it. Have them cut them out mix them up and put them back in order. Then have them glue them in order onto another piece of paper and draw and color a picture of the three owls. Ask each students to read the sentence to you pointing to each word as he reads.
For a fun science lesson about owls choose a non-fiction book about owls to read to your class like White Owl, Barn Owl by Nicola Davies, Owls by Adrienne Mason or The Barn Owls by Tony Johnston. After reading the new book make a list of facts about owls. Then have your students illustrate one thing that they learned.
After talking about owls, teach your students about other nocturnal animals like bats, raccoons and tree frogs. Bring in pictures of different animals and sort them by whether or not they are nocturnal. This could easily be turned into a science center.
Talk about where owls live. Read the part in the book that describes the owls' home - a hole in the tree with leaves, twigs and feathers in it. Give each student a piece of brown construction paper and have them glue a black circle on it for the hole in the tree. Provide some small twigs and leaves and feathers for them to glue onto the bottom of the hole. You could also take them on a walk around the school to collect the twigs and leaves and then give each students a few feathers. Then give them a picture of an owl to color, cut out and glue in the owl home that they made.
Give each student a piece of card stock with three owl pictures on it. Have them color and cut out the owls and then glue each one to a craft stick. They can then use their owl puppets to act out the story or to tell new stories about the owl babies.
Or, make a paper plate owl craft with your students.