Owl Moon Activities and Lesson Plans
Owl Moon activities beg to be part of your winter lesson plans. This is one of the beautiful picture books that is also filled with figurative language! This blog post explores various activities and lesson plans centered around Jane Yolen’s book, Owl Moon, a Caldecott award-winning book with illustrations by John Schoenherr. that can be incorporated into your early childhood classroom.
These research-based strategies aim to enhance reading comprehension, critical thinking, and creativity while celebrating the magic of a great horned owl, a little girl, and the secrets found in the night sky. Let’s dive in!
Owl Moon Book Summary
Owl Moon tells the story of a young girl who goes owling with her father for the very first time on a cold winter night. They trudge through the winter snow in hopes of spotting the elusive owl. P
Pa makes the call of the great-horned owl, but they do not see anything. They continue to crunch their way through the snow, and Pa makes the call again.
At last, they hear something in the trees above. Pa shines his light upwards as they see an owl watching them from a tree branch.
Pa, the little girl, and the owl study each other for a long time. Then, the owl lifts its wings and disappears into the dark night.
Owl Moon Reading Comprehension Lessons
Owl Moon is an ideal interactive read-aloud! Unlike the traditional read-aloud, where children sit quietly as the teacher reads the entire text before any discussion, the interactive read-aloud encourages conversation from the beginning to the end of the book.
We explore these great books in different ways while looking at text evidence and teaching a reading mini-lesson each day. This Caldecott winner makes my Favorite Mentor Text List. Do I say that with every book? Guilty!
You can read more about interactive-read alouds by clicking:
Owl Moon Visualization Lessons
Visualizing, or creating mental images while reading, is a crucial aspect of comprehension. Help children understand the concept of visualizing by explaining how their minds can paint pictures of the characters, the setting, and the events in the story. The sensory details in this book are plentiful!
Here is the Owl Moon discussion and writing prompt for the first day:
- Readers visualize pictures in their heads. “Our feet crunched over the crisp snow, and little gray footprints followed us. Pa made a long shadow, but mine was short and round. I had to run after him every now and then to keep up, and my short, round shadow bumped after me.” Draw a picture of what you are visualizing.
Owl Moon Sequencing Activity
Retelling stories is crucial as it helps students practice organizing and describing events, leading to improved reading comprehension. For English Language Learners (ELLs), story retelling offers a chance to analyze narratives and develop oral language skills by acquiring relevant vocabulary.
In this activity, students sequence events with these picture cards. Once the cards are in the correct order, students practice orally retelling the events with their partners. Spending time where the students do most of the talking helps their oral language development.
Character Analysis in Owl Moon
Analyzing characters in reading comprehension aids students in grasping the depth of a story. It cultivates empathy as it relates to the character’s emotions and reactions. This enhances comprehension and nurtures critical thinking, enriching the reading experience for young learners.
Here is the writing prompt for this day’s lesson:
- Knowing the characters helps readers understand what they are reading. You can get to know the characters by thinking about how they look and what they do and say. How would you describe the little girl’s character?
Exploring Figurative Language in Owl Moon
Figurative language asks the reader to look beyond the literal interpretation of words. Jane Yolen is famous for providing books that are filled with rich sensory language. We can also return to this book during a writing lesson as we think about the author’s craft in creative writing.
Check out how we interpreted her descriptive language!
Opinion Writing with Owl Moon
Engaging in opinion writing as part of reading comprehension encourages critical thinking. It urges students to scrutinize and articulate their perspectives on a text, enhancing their understanding and fostering communication skills. This approach makes the reading experience more interactive and insightful for young learners.
Here is the writing prompt for this activity:
- Do you think you would want to go owling? Provide reasons for your opinion.
Students added their own thoughts to this prompt.
Vocabulary Building with Owl Moon
Many people talk about phonics and phonemic awareness when discussing the Science of Reading. Still, besides those essential skills, we also need to provide lessons to help expand our students’ language/reading comprehension and vocabulary. The two vocabulary words are meadow and shrugged.
While these may not be new vocabulary words, we also expand on the meaning of each word and add context.
For example, for the word, shrugged, we explain what people may mean when they shrug. It can mean:
- I don’t know.
- I don’t care.
- It does not matter to me.
Read more about how we conduct our vocabulary lessons by clicking:
Owl Moon Craft
We like to include a craft in each of our reading comprehension units. This simple owl craft is a fun way to display various writing prompts on hallway bulletin boards, or you can attach the student retelling cards to the activity. This craft is fantastic for younger or older children.
You can find all of these fun activities in our winter picture book companion:
Owl Moon Read Aloud Video
Books are essential for an interactive read-aloud, but sometimes it is nice to have another model of reading fluency. Videos are great for this purpose.
Owl Activities and Lesson Ideas
I hope you found a few new ideas to add to your owl themed or winter lesson plans. If you are looking for additional activities you can do in your classroom, including snacks, exploring owl pellets, and a list of great owl nonfiction books, you can read more by clicking:
Do you want to see more lesson plans like this?
Hopefully, you found a few hands-on activities and lesson ideas you can try for your Room on the Broom week. As I said, this sweet book is a great story that I’m sure your students will love.
More Winter Read Aloud Blog Posts
Here are few other blog posts you might love!