Kids love insects, bugs, and other little critters so much that we often end up cycling through multiple “theme” weeks involving them. As learners begin to read, it’s a great time to harness their fascination using beginning readers. This butterfly beginning reader is one of our favorites. Why? Because it does what all good readers should do–it repeats over and over and then has a “call to action” at the end. In this case, the action for kids to complete is to practice symmetry and colors by giving the poor, spotless butterfly some spots.
- Developing early reading and/or comprehension fluency
- Gaining fluency with insect vocabulary
- Mastering personal/subject pronouns
- Practicing the present tense of the English verb to have: sight recognition, comprehension, conjugation, relation to subject/personal pronouns
- Reviewing or learning basic colors
This pack expands or contracts depending upon the learning situation. The target vocabulary is:
- Adjectives: what, little, big, lots
- Colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple
- Insects: butterflies, bees, dragonflies, spiders, beetles, ants, ladybugs
- Insect-related words: wings, spots, pinchers, stripes, spiderwebs, legs, antennae
- General: no, don’t, of
- Numbers: two, four, eight
- Subject/personal pronouns: I, you, we
- Verbs: partial present tense of to have and to be
Huge thanks to Clipartino for permission to use the adorable clipart. You’ll find the non-color, but super-colorable, download below. There are 17 pages in total.
This pack is designed to be printed one-sided. This provides options for teachers and learners. Further, this allows young students to order the pages themselves without the frustration of dealing with front and back sides.
Secondarily, English capitalization is a bear, and some “rules” are actually matters of style or marketing. Therefore, since this book is targeted for beginning learners who may also be struggling with capitalization rules, we chose not to capitalize the insect terms as names. For example, “Dragonfly, Dragonfly” can be used when the term is a name (a proper noun), but for style and clarity, you might also choose “Dragonfly, dragonfly.” What you choose depends upon your goals, and here the goals are reading comprehension and clarity instead of discussing capitalization. When considering the plural nouns that are modified in the text, such as “little beetles” and “little ants,” the potential confusion is probably even more important to avoid.
Ideas for Use
Here are some ideas for the Butterfly Beginning Reader Pack. If you think of other ideas, we’d love to hear them!
Reading and Listening Comprehension
Reading this book out-loud, especially in shared-reading experiences, will help students hear the correct pronunciation, cadence, and use of words. Repetitive phrases and words help learners begin to sound out letters and predict what is coming, which builds confidence.
As you sense your learners being able to predict what’s coming next on the page, you can point out letters you know they know and ask about the sounds. Or, as they begin decoding, encourage them to sound out words. If they get too frustrated, though, such as showing anger or a sudden lack of enthusiasm, reading experts generally recommend you pull back a bit or try again in a different way, such as a game, but continue to read together as much as possible.
Like a Moth to a . . . Spiderweb
If you are learning English, this pack includes practice spiders, moths, and spiderwebs so that kids can practice matching personal pronouns with the correct conjugations of the key English verb to have (e.g., I have, you have, she has . . .).
Singular Versus Plural Vocabulary
You’ll find vocabulary cards that can be added to the printable book or cut out from the optional pages section. Want students to use context clues? Save the vocabulary cards/pages for a self or class check. Want students to use them as a mini-dictionary? Have students add them as the last pages of their books. We’ve included singular and plural forms of vocabulary. This are especially great for English Language Learners (ELL).
Give Mariposa Some Spots
After learning that she has no spots, the butterfly may want some added. This colors practice helps learners develop a sense of symmetry, spatial skills, and patterns. We included dots with and without color words on them, and everything is colorable so that learners get that much more practice, especially as they begin sounding out letters and decoding words. Of course, for older learners, this can be an optional part, but even many teenagers and adults like making and labeling butterflies. You’ll be surprised at how intricate many will be and how enthusiastic your art-inclined students get over this part.
Working with native Spanish speakers who are learning English? We’ve included a completely optional information and translation download below (second button called “Para hispanohablantes”). Translations include both “ustedes” and “vosotros/vosotras” forms.
Tips and Tricks
If you want to reuse some of the pages, you can try lamination or clear sheet protectors (the kind that go in binders) or even gallon-sized kitchen/food bags. Any of these three options will allow you to also use dry-erase markers instead of the included paper manipulation insects. Plus, this way, learners can write and erase as they practice. For the little pieces, try sandwich or snack bags or cut along the included lines instead of in circles.
Have a fantastic idea to share? We’d love to hear your ideas here or in the comments below!