Isn’t nighttime swell? Night introduces a whole new world of creatures that we never see during the daytime. And I’m not talking about this phenomenon.
Owls in particular are unique, and they feature some amazing adaptations that help them be successful hunters at night. Wings with soft edges enable them to swoop silently to ambush their prey, and strong toes wielding sharp talons help them snatch and carry away the unfortunate solutions to their hunger. Huge eyes, asymmetric ears and dish-shaped faces allow them to pinpoint where an animal is, even in the dark.
The owl featured in a preschool pairing for The Nature Booklist, on the other hand, is more benign. Little Owl’s Night by Divya Srinivasan features a young owl curiously exploring the world around him and meeting other nocturnal animals. The informational book paired with this is Where Are the Night Animals? by Mary Ann Fraser, which introduces the reader to nocturnal animals and their behaviors. This pairing may be the perfect match for an evening family literacy event.
In order to fully engage students in these texts and encourage them to curiously explore their own surroundings and promote collaboration, we have provided an active learning strategy we are calling “Little Kids’ Day” (get it?). The librarian/educator will lead the group on a nature walk and note animals they see along the way, such as a robin, ant, or squirrel. Students will then work together to create a basic story featuring the animals, split into small groups to illustrate the animals and their behaviors, and combine their illustration pages to make a short book. When everything is complete, all students will have the chance to explore the finished products and compare and contrast their illustrations. As mentioned above, a family literacy night event may be the perfect chance for students to share these books with their parents.
If you have the opportunity, a fun twist on this activity would be a nighttime nature walk for a more authentic link to the texts.
As always, please let us know in the comments section below if you try all or part of our pairing or activity, and how it went. See you next time!
Dr. Arnone is a proponent of libraries helping to serve their communities with programming about their local environments. She has taught "Environmental Programming with Libraries" and "Literacy, Inquiry and Nature for Libraries" at Syracuse University's School of Information Studies. She is a certified environmental educator in the state of North Carolina.