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Discovering Nature's Alphabet



Last updated Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Author: Krystina Castella and Brian Boyl
Date of Publication: 2006
ISBN: 159714021X
Grade Level: Kindergarten    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Apr. 2008

Synopsis: From Amazon.com: If you stand in just the right place, at just the right time, you are going to see some pretty amazing things. Like the three tall branches leaning against one another, creating the letter A. Or the spines of a cactus forming the letter F. And it looks like that bent, twisting tree trunk makes the bars of the letter K with that straight trunk in the foreground. Discovering Nature’s Alphabet is more than an ABC book: it’s a hiking game and alphabet hunt. Full of beautiful photos and practiced imagination, These pages take readers outdoors to let them see nature in a new light. The shapes of the alphabet are everywhere if you look hard enough; not just in the branches or vines, but in the cracks between rocks, the spaces between mountain cliffs, and the accidental clumping of a couple bits of seaweed. Whether you live near the ocean, the forest, or in the middle of a big city, there are letters to be found by the plucky young explorer in all of us.

Note to readers:
•  Read the Introduction and Afterward. This is more of a game than a story. You will and should spend more time looking at the pictures and having the kids identify the letter and the plant/animal.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What letter of the alphabet does the cover look like? (P)
•  If you turn it upside down, what letter does the cover look like? (d)
•  Do you know the alphabet? (Have them recite the alphabet)
•  Have you ever noticed shapes in plants, animals, or clouds?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What is this letter?
•  What is this plant? Have you ever seen this plant before?
•  Do you ever go on hikes or walk in the park/garden?
•  Have you ever noticed a palm tree looks like an “I’?
•  Many of these photos were taken in Southern California (Joshua Park, LA Arboretum in Arcadia, The Huntington Library and Gardens, Long Beach Aquarium). Have you ever visited these places?

Craft ideas:
•  Bring ahead option: Bring dried beans, macaroni, spaghetti, etc and make a letter from those items. Glue the items on construction paper. (It’s best to use lightweight items)
•  Draw your favorite letter–extra large. Color/draw flowers, animals, or designs on the letter to make it pretty.

Special activities:
•  Have the kids look at their palms and find letters/numbers on their palms.
•  Before returning to the auditorium, leave the classroom a little early and go outside. Have the kids look around the playground or in the sky and find animals, letters, or numbers in nature.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!