Oh Friends, it has been a long time since I published a literature-based unit study! While my girls and I have studied a few books off and on this semester, I haven’t posted about that type of learning since Christmas!
Since my youngest two are at the age where book unit studies are still such a fun way to learn, they are, well, my youngest two. And that means that they have to do a lot of tagging along with what the big kids are studying and I don’t always get to their particular favorite learning activities.
Don’t get me wrong: it’s not “bad” by any means for them to tag along with our learning about Ancient Egypt or the differences between Sparta and Athens. It’s just a different way of learning than when my oldest two were this age.
If you’ve been a homeschool mama for any length of time, you know that different seasons of life bring different homeschool demands.
And for us, this has not been a season of doing a lot of literature-based unit studies.
But wow, have I missed them!
All of that to say, I am thrilled that we were able to study along with the book The Salamander Room this past week. (aff link) This particular book has been sitting on my shelf for 6+ months, just waiting to be read and studied.
And this was the week! ::happy dances and shouts of glee all around!::
I can’t wait to share all of our wonderful activities with you!
While I had a lot of activities planned (yes, I do tend to over-plan ), we didn’t quite get to all of them.
I’m including them in this study so you can pick and choose the activities you would like to use with your own fabulous little learners.
This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for more details.
Make sure you add The Salamander Room to your book unit study list this year!
Salamander Writing Activity
A few weeks ago, I described the way my youngest two girls (newly 7 and 5 1/2) often do a simple writing activity. Since this activity is easy to use with any book, fiction or non-fiction, it was definitely on our agenda for The Salamander Room!
Some of my favorite paper for the young years is picture story paper! In this writing activity, my girls illustrated what their own salamander room would look like and then wrote a few words or sentences describing their rooms.
My 5 1/2 year old is certainly still working on her fine motor skills. What I love about this particular activity, is it gives us an opportunity to talk about so many things: word and letter spacing, spelling, how to hold your pencil, making sure she holds her wrist straight (she’s a lefty), and tons more.
I am not a person that pushes handwriting at all, because I learned that the hard way when my son was in K and 1st. That’s a post for another day. 😉
However, writing just a few words about the book or a sentence is just right for my daughter’s stage.
Life Cycle of a Salamander
We enjoy learning about animals and life cycles here at the Hill House, so it only seemed natural to learn about a salamander’s life cycle!
My girls worked through this neat life cycle mini book and wrote in their descriptions as they were able.
My 7 year old wrote a sentence per page and my 5 1/2 year old only wrote 1-2 words describing each page.
After reading through our other salamander books from the library, they were both able to narrate the life cycle as we worked through the mini-book together.
This page reinforces the life cycle of a salamander using the vocabulary: eggs, larva, and adult.
Questions Activity about the Story
The Story Questions are always a favorite with my girls!
After printing them on colorful cardstock (this pack is my current favorite and it’s cheap!), we place them face down in the middle of the table.
Each girl draws a card, reads it if she’s able, and then answers the question about the story.
This activity is an easy way to talk about the characters, setting, and other aspects of the story.
Story Questions are a favorite of mine, too!
The Salamander Room Reading Cards
Throughout the year, my 7 year old has enjoyed using reading cards with various books. These were especially helpful as she was in the beginning stages of reading.
Even though she’s reading easy chapter books now, she still enjoys these cards and finding them in the story!
I print the reading cards on card stock, go over them with her, and then she spends some time finding them in the text.
You can read more about how we use these here: Reading Fluency Cards
All About Salamanders Mini Book
All About Salamanders was the first information book I’ve ever created. I thought it would be fun for the girls to have a book with just a few facts about salamanders and pictures to color.
And they loved it!
It was their favorite project while we studied The Salamander Room.
While my 7 year old can actually read the text, my 5 1/2 year old “read” the story using the picture prompts.
Plus, a mini-book is just fun because it’s little. 🙂
Label the Parts of a Salamander
My youngest girl has always enjoyed a cut and paste activity, so I knew she would enjoy this Label the Parts of the Salamander activity.
Even though she’s not reading, she was able to put the labels in the correct place on the diagram.
I read each word to her, we talked about the beginning sound of each, and then she could place them correctly on her page.
Instead of using our regular handwriting practice for the day, my girls worked on The Salamander Room themed pages.
Each page features words from the book. It’s another great way to incorporate letter formation, letter spacing, letter sounds, and more with my young girls.
Books Used to Study Salamanders
We used several books from our library to study salamanders and their various habitats. These were our favorites!
Salamanders by Edward J. Maruska
This book was just the perfect non-fiction book for my girls. Each page address an aspect of the salamander’s life: what it eats, where it lives, etc.
Our favorite of the bunch!
Snakes, Salamanders, and Lizards by Diane Burns
I was hesitant to purchase this book, but I was pleasantly surprised! It lists a variety of salamander species and how they’re alike and different.
We thoroughly enjoyed reading through each one! Highly recommended.
Slimy Salamanders by Meish Goldish
This was another book that was perfect for the age and stage of my girls. The pictures were excellent and the text was informative without being too complex.
Salamanders by Nick Winnick
This book presented more in-depth information about salamanders, while still keeping a very child-friendly feel. We enjoyed reading about the salamander myths and legends at the back of this book!
Salamanders by Molly Kolpin
While this book provided excellent facts, it was a bit too simply for my girls’ stages.
This would make a perfect book for preschoolers, however.
Enjoy reading through The Salamander Room with your young ones! It is a joy to study!
You can download The Salamander Room printables for personal use only by clicking the image below:
NOTE: “Personal use only” involves using this product with your own children or grandchildren ONLY.
If you are using this packet in a classroom or homeschool co-op setting, you’ll need to purchase the classroom use license.
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