Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Who Needs a Reef?: A Coral Reef Ecosystem

Patkau, Karen (Author/Illustrator)
Tundra Books 2014 32 pages
First published: 2014
Series: Ecosystem
ISBN: 9781770493902 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Dewey: 577.7
Book type: Non-Fiction

Text Elements:

layout, setting, structures and features

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

This enchanting depiction of an underwater ecosystem is a captivating non-fiction journey under the sea. Dominated by colourful illustrations that immerse the reader in the underwater world, it is both easy to understand and filled with fascinating scientific information. We learn how a reef forms and how it protects the shoreline, and we meet the many plants and animals that live below the surface of the water.

The poetic text is the perfect companion to vivid visuals: “Above sea fans and sea grasses, a stingray sails.” Meaty technical language, like “zooxanthellae” and distilled scientific concepts related to the food chain and life cycles of the reef, are peppered throughout.

Using a digital illustration technique, the pictures are part photographic and part painterly, and are filled with a sense of movement and depth. They are layered and vivid, showing magnificent sea life floating, swimming and hiding. Occasional diagrams magnify plankton, bacteria and the inside of the reef structure at the microscopic level. A depiction of the reef at night is particularly stirring, with jellyfish that appear to glow in the dark.

Young readers will come to understand the unique role played by coral reefs and the need to preserve their delicate balance. There is a detailed map at the back, a pictorial summary with thumbnail images of the reef inhabitants, as well as a glossary of keywords and definitions.

  •  

    Look at some teacher-selected images of coral reefs. Start a list of adjectives that describe reefs. Add to the list as you read.

  •  Use sticky notes or flags to label the pictures according to the descriptions in the text.
  •  

    Build a table of contents: skim through the book, divide the information into chapters and devise a title for each chapter. What feature is missing from this book?

  •  Discuss the importance of coral reefs. How can children help preserve reefs? Make a video, poster or multimedia presentation to share this information.
  •  Explore the structures and features of the book.
  •  

    With a partner, read the text at the bottom of each page. Examine the illustration to find the creatures that are specifically mentioned. Check your accuracy by looking at the pictures at the end of the book. As a group, discuss what you did to help you make the appropriate link.

  •  

    Choose a sea creature. Create a short poem (Haiku, diamante or acrostic) to describe it.

  •  

    Discuss the importance of coral reefs in the ecosystem. Use information from your reading in your arguments.

  •  

    Find the cognates in the glossary. Define unknown words in your notebook.

  •  

    You are a resident of one of the Caribbean islands. Write a letter to your mayor about your concerns regarding the lack of information people have on the importance of protecting the coral reef.

  •  

    Research a coral reef from another part of the world. Create a media presentation about some of its inhabitants, using the book as a model. Include a Venn diagram to show which (if any) creatures inhabit both locations.

  • To exercise critical judgment
  • To use information
  • To use information and communications technologies
  • Environmental Awareness and Consumer Rights and Responsibilities
  • Science and Technology