Literature Text Set by mary grace poskin

Learning about Weather


This text set is focused on weather and climate and is created for parents and teachers of third grade students. This subject aligns with the NGSS standard 3-ESS2 which asks students to describe typical weather conditions expected during a season and to obtain and combine information to describe climates in different regions of the world. Not only does weather/climate affect students' lives daily, but it is also an important science concept for students to grasp so they can have a better understanding of the world around them. Weather can be unpredictable, so it is essential for students to learn about their climates so they can be prepared for severe weather or natural disasters and know how to respond. Additionally, by learning about weather in other parts of the country/world, students gain insight into predicting patterns and/or conditions in different areas of the world. Especially during third grade, students develop cognitive growth by "showing increasing interest in rules, logic, how things are put together, how things work, the natural world, and classification" (Wood, 2007, p. 103). Learning about the weather/climate is just one aspect of exploring students' natural world. According to Wood (2007), eight-year-olds "respond well to class projects and traditions that build a sense of unity and cohesion" (p. 103). Using this text set in your own classroom (or at home with your child) can be a great way for students to build on prior knowledge, participate in projects centered around weather/climate, and explore the natural world around them.


1) The story of snow

By Mark Cassino with Jon Nelson, ISBN: 0811868664, Chronicle Books, 36 Pages, Nonfiction

Summary: This nonfiction book has many beautiful pictures of real snowflakes up close, for students to admire and learn from! The book emphasizes how snow crystals form and the different shapes they can take. The in-depth explanations provide older students with information regarding snow crystals formation and science concepts behind the snowflakes.

Reading Components: Depending on students' reading level, I would have students practice fluency by reading either the bolded headlines on each page, or the more detailed explanations under these headlines. This book is versatile in that it can be used with many different reading levels based on how the text is presented. Students can also develop vocabulary skills by looking up unknown words within the text.

teaching points

It is through identifying vocabulary terms that this book meets the standard RL.3.4 – Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, distinguishing literal from nonliteral language. Many of the images and diagrams use both literal and nonliteral phrases when explaining snow crystals. Objective: Students will be able to identify vocabulary terms and nonliteral phrases in the book, specifically the phrase "are no two snow crystals alike?" (Bloom's Understand). This book would help students grow in areas of reading and critical thinking by closely reading the book for unknown words and thinking critically about the differences between literal and nonliteral phrases.

Additional Resources: For cross-curricular connections to this book, Chronicle Books has included a teacher's guide in detailing activities for students in science, math, music and art. There is also a link to this book being read aloud by a student.

2) as an oak tree grows

By G. Brian Karas, ISBN: 9780399252334, Nancy Paulsen Books, 32 pages, Illustrated Juvenile Fiction

Summary: This fictional children's book details the life of an oak tree from being planted to being struck by lightning in an intense storm. Throughout the book, brightly colored illustrations are used to show changing landscapes, seasons, and different modes of transportation and energy. Throughout the years, the reader sees a changing atmosphere from the same vantage point as the oak tree.

Reading Components: With the simplicity of the text, this book would be a great way to develop students' fluency in reading aloud to a partner or their teacher. Students could also be assessed on comprehension of the text by predicting what they think will happen next in the oak tree's life.

teaching points

To build on students' prior knowledge, the teacher could ask students to make predictions on how long they think trees live and if the landscape around a tree will change over time. This relates to the reading standard RI.3.3Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect. Students could determine the cause/effect of the tree being struck by lightning at the end, and discuss how that brings new growth to the tree. This also ties into the NGSS standard, Climate describes a range of an area's typical weather conditions and the extent to which those conditions vary over years. (3-ESS2-2) Objective: Students will be able to describe the changing landscape around the oak tree over a period of time (Bloom's Understand). This book helps develop students' reading skills for making predictions about an oak tree's life, and viewing illustrations for changing landscapes.

Additional Resources: For further research into oak trees, the last page of this book lists several facts about oak trees students' could read and research. Additionally, students could plant their own oak trees to further observe the life cycle of an oak tree and how weather can affect it.

3) awesome autumn

By Bruce Goldstone, ISBN:9780805092103, Henry Holt. & Co., 48 pages, Nonfiction

Summary: Bruce Goldstone's photographs are accompanied by fun text, engaging titles, and relevant questions about the season of fall. The nonfiction book addresses what you might wear at the beginning and end of fall, why leaves change color, how leaves know when it is time to fall, and what happens to fallen leaves. At the end of the book, there is also pictures of different kinds of leaves next to the name of the tree it came from.

Reading Components: This book provides many opportunities for students to develop vocabulary skills linked with pictures, especially at the end of the book when practicing different tree names linked to the pictures of their corresponding leaves.

teaching points

The strong connection between autumn photographs and vocabulary terms in this book relates directly to the reading standard RI.3.7Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur). The subject of autumn also aligns with the NGSS standard of describing typical weather conditions expected during a particular season (3-ESS2-1). This is shown at the beginning of the book when students see what clothing items are typically worn towards the beginning and end of fall. Objective: Students will be able to deduce the meaning behind words from autumn photographs and context clues (Bloom's Analyze). Students can determine what words such as "chlorophyll," "hornbean," and "gingko" mean through analyzing pictures and text. Because of the many visual aspects, students will use viewing and visual representation as they understand the image that correlates with different type of trees. Additionally, students will develop critical thinking skills by learning about the questions posed in the text and attempting to answer them.

Additional Resources: To hear a student reading aloud this book, click this link. To explore and play different activities related to different types of leaves, visit this website.

4) hurricane

By David Wisner, ISBN: 9780395629741, HMH Books for Young Readers, 32 pages, Illustrated Fiction

Summary: In this illustrated book, brothers David and George brave the weather by eating dinner with their family by the fireplace, and hear creaks and groans from the old house against the wind. In the morning, they are delighted when a fallen tree makes their perfect safari setting for playing. The illustrations are beautifully drawn and depict the wild imaginations of brothers during a storm.

Reading Components: The easy narrative shown with detailed illustrations makes the perfect supplement for lower level reading students to practice fluency skills in reading aloud and developing comprehension of text through support from the drawings.

teaching points

This book describes two brothers responses to what could be a very intense storm, but showcases their laid-back feelings through detailed illustrations. To make this connection to students, you could have students write their own responses to how they would feel if they were at home during a hurricane. This relates to the writing standard W.3.3bUse dialogue and descriptions of actions, thoughts, and feelings to develop experiences and events or show the response of characters to situations. Objective: Students will be able to develop their own written responses, feelings, and actions to a hurricane (Bloom's Create). Through this lesson, students will be able to develop their writing skills in constructing their own story outlining how they would respond to severe weather, such as a hurricane.

Additional Resources: For a read-aloud of this book including music and sounds, click on this link. For more ideas on how to incorporate hurricanes into the classroom, visit this website which details different hurricane activities.

5) Cloudy with a chance of meatballs

By Judi Barrett, Drawn by Ron Barrett, ISBN: 9780689707490, Atheneum Books, 32 pages, Illustrated Fiction

Summary: This book is a funny way to introduce the theme of weather in any classroom. After a dinner fiasco where a pancake lands on Henry, grandpa is inclined to tell his grandkids a story about a faraway land. In the land of Chewandswallow, food falls from the sky three times a day. But soon, the food gets out of control and out of proportion and so the members of Chewandswallow must flee the land on bread boats. After settling into their new routine, the members must adapt to "normal" life by buying their food in the supermarket. The drawings in this book bring the creative land alive as the kids listen to their grandpa's story.

Reading Components: Students reading this book aloud can focus on phonics and phonemic awareness as they speak slowly, pausing, and adding expression to their sentences. Many of the sentences in this book are detailed and descriptive with different food items and adjectives for students to practice reading aloud.

teaching points

As a way to introduce the unit on weather, students have the opportunity when reading this book to give a presentation to the rest of the class their own forecast on a particular part of the book- pancakes, ice cream, mashed potatoes, burgers, etc. This aligns with the speaking standard for third grade SL.3.4Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace. Objective: Students will be able to select a specific forecast from the book to report to the rest of the class (Bloom's Evaluate). Through this report, students can learn more about the importance of weather forecasting. Through giving reports, students develop speaking skills as they perform a forecast for the rest of the class.

Additional resources: For more activities geared towards weather forecasting, check out this website. To learn more about weather forecasting and how it works, click here.

6) snowflake bentley

By Jacqueline Briggs Martin, Illustrations by Mary Azarian, ISBN: 9780395861622, Houghton Mifflin, 32 pages, Alternative (video)

Martin, J.B. (1998). Snowflake Bentley. Illustrated by M. Azarian. New York: Houghton Mifflin.

Summary: This digital book details the life of William A. Bentley, the "snowflake man." "Snowflake Bentley" developed a technique of microphotography that allowed man to see the snowflake up close and observe the differences in each snowflake. This digital book allows students to follow along by highlighting the word spoken in blue as the narrator reads the story aloud, and brings to life the illustrations with video clips and snow falling.

Reading Components: As students listen to this digital book, they can follow along with the highlighted words to develop fluency skills and watch the life-like illustrations to gain comprehension of the story.

teaching points

Snowflake Bentley provides research into snow crystals, similar to the previous mentioned text in this text set, The Story of Snow. As both texts engage readers in discovering and viewing snowflakes up close, students could compare these two texts to gain more understanding on this topic. This aligns with the reading standard RI.3.9Compare and contrast the most important points and key details presented in two texts on the same topic. Objective: Students will be able to develop a venn diagram to compare the two books, Snowflake Bentley and The Story of Snow. It is often helpful to gain a full understanding of a topic by comparing and contrasting different resources over the topic. This concept also aligns with the NGSS standard, Obtain and combine information from books and other reliable media to explain phenomena (3-ESS2-2). Through examining this topic, students will visually represent the differences and similarities through use of a venn diagram.

Additional Resources: For more research on the science of snowflakes and why no two are alike, watch this fun video. For ideas on more activities related to Snowflake Bentley, click here.

7) wild about weather

By Ed Brotak, ISBN:9781579907495, Lark Books, 128 pages, Illustrated Nonfiction

Summary: This book provides information on how weather works, including the atmosphere and air pressure, sunshine, rain, storms, and severe weather. It also includes "50 Wet, Windy, and Wonderful Activities" to try with your students. This book also allows students to explore other climates and weather systems and lists weather quotes and statistics.

Reading Components: Students are able to develop vocabulary skills with the different vocabulary words defined throughout the book. Students also gain comprehension skills as the different activities listed confirm topics learned and read about before.

teaching points

This book's layout provides many engaging opportunities for students to interact with the text. For example, every chapter has a "forecaster's corner" and a "weather challenge" sidebar. This aligns with the reading standard RI.3.5Use text features and search tools (e.g., key words, sidebars, hyperlinks) to locate information relevant to a given topic efficiently. Objective: Students will be able to locate key words and "weather challenge" sidebar within the text to develop research (Bloom's Understand). When gaining research on weather, students will use reading and writing skills to locate information in the text and write about topics learned.

Additional resources: For more experiments and key terms regarding weather, visit this website created by meteorologist Crystal Wicker.

8) The cloud book

By Tomie de Paola, ISBN: 9780823405312, Holiday House, Inc., 32 pages, Illustrated Nonfiction

Summary: This book defines what clouds are, the different types of clouds, the different names of clouds, myths of clouds and the characteristics of each type of cloud. The charming drawings in this book allow students to stay engaged while learning lots of information about clouds. The book also includes sayings about clouds that help tell about weather, as well as a silly story about a cloud at the end of the book.

Reading Components: While learning about the different types of clouds, this book is an excellent resource for developing students' vocabulary skills as the three types of clouds (cumulus, cirrus, stratus) are mentioned and combined to make other types of clouds.

teaching points

Through the drawings and explanations of the different types and characteristics of clouds, students are able to identify the meaning of these vocabulary words. This aligns with the reading standard RI.3.4Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 3 topic or subject area. Objective: Students will be able to distinguish the names of different types of clouds (Bloom's Analyze). Through comprehension of vocabulary words, students will develop viewing skills of illustrations that visually represent the different types of clouds.

Additional Resources: To hear a read-aloud of this book with sound effects, click here. Assess students understanding of the different types of clouds through this free clouds flipbook!

9) if frogs made weather

By Marion Dane Bauer, Illustrated by Dorothy Donohue, ISBN: 9780823416226, Holiday House, 32 pages, Illustrated Fiction

Summary: This book uses rich vocabulary to describe each animal's preferred weather. From a frog, to a bird, to a bat, students are taught what each animal's environment would look like if they could be in charge of the weather. The illustrations use texture and shape to capture students' interest as they describe each animal's weather of choice.

Reading Components: This book has many reading components including vocabulary, phonics, and phonemic awareness. Many descriptive verbs and adjectives are used that students may not recognize. Literary tools such as alliteration and rhyming words help students develop phonemic awareness as they read aloud.

teaching points

This book provides readers with descriptive detail, effective word choice, and many literary tools. Although this book might a bit below the third grade reading level, teachers could develop this book by having students write about what kind of weather they would prefer and why. This aligns with the writing standard W.3.1Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons. Teachers could point out rhyming words and alliteration within the text, and encourage students to incorporate these elements into their own writing. Objective: Students will be able to support their preferred weather and incorporate literary tools into writing (Bloom's Evaluate). Introducing this book would be a great way for students to develop writing and listening skills as they incorporate literary tools into their writing and listen for these literary tools in the book.

Additional Resources: To develop some frog crafts, visit this website. For help with incorporating literary tools into writing, check out this list of literary tools.

10) how the weather works

By Christiane Dorian, ISBN: 9780763652623, Templar, 20 pages, Nonfiction

Summary: This book talks about extreme weather, normal weather, and focuses on how students can impact the Earth's climate. The pop-ups, brightly colored illustrations, and tabs allow students to be interactively engaged while exploring the concept of weather. This would be a great resource to end a unit on weather, as all ideas and information about weather are presented creatively in this book.

Reading Components: Students can develop fluency skills as they read the various explanations, pull open tabs, read the sidebars, and read text on pop-up materials. Students can also develop comprehension skills as they finish studying their unit on weather by reading and exploring the materials in this book.

teaching points

With the engaging format of this text, students can interactively participate in finding and reading information related to weather. This aligns with the reading standard RI.3.5Use text features and search tools (e.g., key words, sidebars, hyperlinks) to locate information relevant to a given topic efficiently. Students could also take the information learned from this text and, if used at end of the unit, develop a paper explaining their takeaways from this unit. Objective: Students will be able to locate selected material to develop a paper over weather (Bloom's Understand). Students will use reading and writing skills while finding key information in the text and writing what they gained from the weather unit.

Additional Resources: For assistance in developing a paper, visit this website. To hear Christiane Dorian, the author of this book speak, watch this video.


Created with images by quangle - "sunrise phu quoc island"

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