“Life on a Coral Reef”
Written by: Mary Jo Rhodes & David Hall
Photography by: David Hall
Publisher: Children’s Press
Copyright Date: 2007
Number of Pages: 48
Trade books are essential for classrooms, but informational texts are just as necessary for a literacy rich classroom. However, like biographies, informational texts are usually dense texts that are a chore to read. Reading these texts are so tedious, and students tend to dread reading informational text. Scholastic is always publishing very student friendly books, and the genre of informational text proves to be no different. This book on the life on a coral reef is a perfect example of a student friendly informational text. Filled with colorful pictures, this books offers information in a manner that is easy to read. Important facts are highlighted throughout the text in captions, photographs, and in sidebars. Finally, the aspect that I love about this informational text is the bolded key terms that are defined in the glossary at the back of the book.
Photos are a “go to” in informational texts, but sometimes the photos are just as dull as the dense information. All the photos in this book are eye catching and full of color and texture. Likewise the photos highlight the information that is crucial to understanding life on a coral reef. The pictures display the wildlife and plant life that can be found on or around a coral reef. The placement of the pictures add to the overall flow of the book. The chapters are divided with full page pictures of fish and plants, and throughout the chapter, the pages are divided with pictures that include caption and sidebars. David Hall did a great job in his selection and placement of pictures throughout this text to give the information more depth in a visual way.
Informational text can be implemented in the classroom in many different ways. this particular book would be used in a upper elementary classes. First, I would use this is an example for a lesson on text features. The students would use photo copies of the text to search and find side bars and captions. Next, I would incorporate this informational text into a science unit on ocean habitats. I would have this book available during the lesson on coral reefs. This book can also be used in a lesson on research techniques, and the students would search through the text for facts to support their topic. The students would reference the book specifically to state their evidence. “Life on a Coral Reef” is a great example of interesting informational text that can be productive as a tools for the classroom.