The Hermit Crab by Carter Goodrich

A story about a shy hermit crab who becomes an unexpected hero to his underwater friends.

Motivating Boys
The hermit crab in this story does not set out to be a hero… so begins this beautifully illustrated picture book by Carter Goodrich. Hermit Crab is rather shy and prefers to search for food and keep to himself. One day, he finds a new and different looking shell. One like he had never seen before. When a contraption lands in the center of town, everyone is afraid to go near it until they realize that flounder is trapped underneath. Hermit Crab comes upon the contraption and inadvertently saves flounder. But who’s the hero? Hermit Crab or the shell? The superhero aspect to this story makes it a motivating read aloud for boys. Lesson Idea: This book can act as a catalyst to motivate boys to write. Read aloud this book to your reluctant boy readers/writers. Have students brainstorm components to a superhero story. Conduct a shared writing experience with the group to write a superhero story.

Verdi by Janell Cannon and Time for Kids: Snakes by Editors of Time for Kids

A cute story about a snake who doesn’t want to grow up, but learns a valuable lesson about staying true to himself.

A nonfiction text about snakes.

Twin Texts
Cannon beautifully writes and illustrates this tale of a carefree snake who learns to love himself despite the fact that he has to grow up. Even though he must age, he does not have to lose the fun-loving, figure-eight forming side of his personality. Lesson Idea: If snakes or animals is a topic of study in your classroom, or if you are trying to find something to interest boys, Twin Texts is a great strategy. Choose a fiction and nonfiction text that complement each other. In this case, Time for Kids: Snakes is a great complement to Verdi. Read the first page which describes Verdi being sent off into the jungle by his mother. She wants her hatchlings to grow up big and green, but Verdi is resisting this idea. He likes his yellow skin and bold stripes. After reading the first page ask, “What more do you want to learn about Verdi?” Have your students list all that they want to learn about Verdi. Discuss. Read aloud the text and see if students wonderments were answered. Similarly, prior to reading Time for Kids: Snakes, have your students complete the K and W of a KWL. Read aloud the text (or have students independently read) and then have students complete the L. These two activities together should provide students with the ability to activate their prior knowledge and come to a deeper understanding of the topic of snakes.