"The Very Hungry Caterpillar" is a beloved children's book that was written by Eric Carle in 1969. For decades, this interactive picture book has been used in early childhood classrooms to inspire a love of reading. The story follows the main character, a caterpillar, as it eats and eventually grows into a beautiful butterfly, teaching about nutrition, counting and days of the week on the way. A variety of writing activities can be done following the reading of this story.
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Sequencing and Transition Words
Teach students about commonly-used transition words, such as first, then, next and last. After reading "The Very Hungry Caterpillar," have each student write the foods that the caterpillar ate in sequential order, using transition words within the writing. For example, "First the caterpillar ate... Next, the caterpillar ate..." This activity can also be done as a shared writing activity, where the class thinks together and students take turns writing on a piece of chart paper or an interactive white board.
After reading "The Very Hungry Caterpillar," hold a class discussion to ask students what they learnt about caterpillars and what else they would like to know. Based on the questions that students formulate, conduct research about caterpillars and/or butterflies using print and electronic sources. After conducting research, have students write the information, such as what caterpillars eat and where they live, in paragraph format. Alternatively, have each student create a colourful poster including pictures and interesting facts.
Integrate a math component into classroom writing by having each student create and write a math story problem using information from "The Very Hungry Caterpillar." For example, students can create an addition problem based on the amount of food that the caterpillar eats in the story. Emphasise key words such as "sum" and "difference" during the writing process. Have each student write her story problem neatly and illustrate it. Use the finished products as a notice board display.
Lists and Maps
Respond to reading with alternate forms of writing, such as lists and maps. Have each student write a list that summarises everything that the caterpillar ate in the story. Emphasise that lists do not necessarily have to be written in full sentences, but instead as point form notes. Alternatively, create a whole-class brainstorming map. On the map, have students add words to describe how the caterpillar feels, what the caterpillar looks like, or what it eats.
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