Reading and Writing Connections for this selection:

American Robin:
Territory Study

Reading Strategies:

  • Activate Prior Knowledge
  • Ask Questions and Make Predictions to Set a Purpose for Reading
  • Build Vocabulary Skills
  • Confirm/Refine Predictions
  • Reread for Text Details
  • Summarize Main Ideas and Supporting Details
  • Make Text-to-Self Connections
  • Analyze Author?s Craft: Using Powerful Verbs to Create Pictures for Readers
  • Identify Author?s Purpose
  • (About Reading Strategies)

    home territory, mating, acre, feeding grounds, neighboring squabbles, incubating, nestlings, veered off, charged, disputes, territorial boundaries, water rights




Introduce the selection by inviting students to make predictions based on the following clue words: territory, boundaries, neighboring, disputes, and acre. Encourage students to use their prior knowledge about each of the words by asking the following questions: What do you know about each of these words? How do you think these words will be used in a reading selection about American robins? What are possible connections that can be made? (Activating Prior Knowledge, Making Predictions to Set a Purpose for Reading, Building Vocabulary Skills)

Read aloud two of the lead sentences from the selection: "Somewhere out there, a robin "calls" your backyard its home territory. A robin's territory — the place where mating and nesting occurs — is usually less than half an acre." Invite students to think about the topic: American Robins: Territory Study. Post the following words: Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? In small groups, have students write questions about the topic under each category. For example: Who else lives in a robin?s home territory? What do robins look for when they select a territory? How big is half an acre? (Asking Questions to Set a Purpose for Reading)

Read "American Robins: Territory Study." Encourage students to "mark up the text" by circling unfamiliar words, underlining key words and phrases, and writing notes in the margins.

Revisit the selection to confirm and/or refine predictions made prior to reading the selection. Ask questions to facilitate students? work: How were the clue words used in the reading selection? What information from the text confirms predictions we made before reading the article? How did making predictions help you read and understand the text? Encourage students to practice these strategies, such as reading lead sentences, making predictions, and asking questions when they read independently. (Confirming/Refining Predictions)

Revisit the text to answer questions listed prior to reading. Ask questions to facilitate students? work: What facts did the article reveal about American robins and their territory? Which questions were answered by details in the text? Which questions are left unanswered? Invite students to research questions not answered in this article. (Rereading for Text Details)

Have students reread the selection with a partner. Invite them to circle the following verbs in the text: mate, nest, share, feed, chase, incubate, hatch, search, explore, charge, fly, veer, and owned. Have students summarize (orally or in writing) key ideas from the text using each of the verbs. (Building Vocabulary through Word Study, Summarizing Key Ideas in the Text)

Journaling Questions
1. The reading selection described how a Minnesota woman learned about robins by observing their behavior. What are some questions you have about birds and other wildlife that lives in your neighborhood? What questions would you like to research by observing wildlife from your home?

2. How can we make our neighborhood/backyard an ideal place for robins?

3. How would a robin describe your backyard (or neighborhood)? Is your neighborhood "robin-ready"? Why or why not? Related Link: Unpave the Way for Robins

Making Connections: Home Sweet Home
1. Invite students to make connections by talking about ways they "share territory" at home. Do they share a bedroom with siblings? What strategies do they use to avoid squabbles and disputes when asked to share spaces and resources? (Making Text-to-Self Connections)

2. Take a nature walk. Watch birds and other wildlife. Carry a notebook to write notes about what you see and hear. Make quick sketches to capture events you witness. (Making Text-to-Self Connections)

Evaluation (Readers Examine Author' s Strategies)
1. Authors use specific words to help readers create pictures in their minds. What verbs did the author use to help you visualize the behavior of robins? (Analyzing Author?s Craft)

2. Why do you think the author wrote this article? To entertain? To inform? To describe? To inspire? To persuade? Or a combination of these purposes? (Identifying Author?s Purpose)

Writer's Workshop

  • Narrative
    Imagine this article as a personal narrative by the Minnesota woman in which she describes the events she witnessed in her backyard. "From my kitchen window I witnessed the wonders of robins?" Make your own observations of birds/wildlife. Write a personal narrative that describes the wonders of nature you witnessed.
  • Descriptive
    Writers paint pictures with words. Sentences that make pictures are called Snapshot Sentences. Write snapshot sentences to describe the behavior of robins. Use information from this text and other sources to collect details for your sentences. Use the snapshot sentences to create a poem about robins.
  • Expository
    This article revealed information about which backyards provide an environment that meet a robin?s needs. Collect more information about this topic from other resources. Create a brochure, pamphlet, or letter for your neighborhood to inform your community about ways they can help robins and other wildlife. Related Link: Unpave the Way for Robins
  • Expressive
    Some authors express their thoughts and feelings through poetry. Visit your local library or bookstore to read poems authors wrote to express their thoughts about the wonders of wildlife. After observing nature around your home, express your thoughts in poems.