Unit 4 Reader

Grade 1
Core Knowledge Language Arts® • New York Edition • Skills Strand
The Green Fern Zoo
Unit 4 Reader
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The Green Fern Zoo
Unit 4 Reader
Skills Strand
Grade 1
Core Knowledge Language Arts®
New York Edition
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Table of Contents
The Green Fern Zoo
Unit 4 Reader
Meet Vern. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Things That Swim . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Chimps. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Mandrills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Things with Wings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
Big Cats . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Groundhogs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
The Reptile Room . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
Termites . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
River Otters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
Cranes and Spoonbills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60
Pausing Point (Stories for Assessment and Enrichment)
The Ostrich . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66
Deer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68
The Petting Zoo. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70
Meet Vern
My name is Vern, and I have
the best job! My job is to take you
kids in to see the Green Fern Zoo.
We will see things with wings
and things with scales, things that
bite and things that sting, things
that creep and things that swim.
I have lots of fun facts and
tales to share with you. So let’s
see the zoo and have some fun!
Things That Swim
I hope you kids like things that
swim, be·cau se this is the room
where we keep all the fish.
The fish here are trout. A trout
is a fish that swims in cool lakes
and creeks. You can see that they
have lots of spots and marks. The
spots and marks help the trout
hide. They make the trout look a
lot like the sand on the bed of a
Here’s a big fish that makes all
of the wee fish run and hide. This
is a reef shark. It has that name
be·cau se it likes to make its home
close to a reef, where there are
lots of fish.
You can see that the reef
shark has fins and a set of gills
on its side. You can not see them
from here, but this shark has lots
of sharp teeth in its mouth.
Would a reef shark bite you?
Well, you are not the lunch that
this shark would like best. A reef
shark likes to feed on squid, crabs,
and shrimp. But it would be smart
not to get the reef shark mad at
you all the same!
Next, let’s see the chimps. We
have ten chimps here at the
Green Fern Zoo. You can see
them all out there if you look
The one you see here is Bess.
She has a snack in her mouth.
Bess and the rest of the chimps
like to munch on plants, nuts, and
Do you see that chimp with
the stick? That’s Bart. Bart likes to
have ants for lunch. To get the
ants, he takes a stick and sticks
it in an ant hill. Then he lifts it up
and licks off the ants. Yum, yum!
The chimp with the rope in his
hand is Max. He’s just a babe. He
was born in March. Bess is his
Max is a lot of fun. He likes to
swing on the rope and splash in
the pool.
The two chimps up on the
rocks are Carl and Norm. Carl
is the one on the left. Carl and
Norm are pals. But they were not
pals last week.
Last week we gave them a
branch from a fig tree for lunch.
Norm took the branch and ran
off with it. He ate all of the figs.
Carl was mad at Norm all week.
But that was last week. This
week the two of them are pals.
Here you can see two
man·drills. Man·drills are a lot like
Do you like the red nose? The
man·drill with the red nose is a
The man·drill on the left is
groom·ing the male with the red
nose. She is look·ing for ticks and
bugs. Man·drills like groom·ing
be·cau se it makes them look
good and feel good, too.
Look! One of the man·drills is
yawn·ing! You can see that he has
long, sharp teeth. Those sharp
teeth help him chop up his food.
Man·drills like a lot of foods. We
feed our man·drills ants, grass,
nuts, bark, plant shoots, and roots.
Man·drills have sacks in·side
their cheeks. They can stuff
food in the sacks and keep it
there un·til they need a snack.
Then they pop the food out and
munch on it!
Things with Wings
Next, let’s see some things with
This is a puff·in. He makes his
home up north, not too far from
the North Pole.
Look at those cute feet!
But they are not just cute. The
puff·in’s feet help him swim.
Note, as well, his big bill. The
puff·in can use his bill to get fish.
Puff·ins are born from eggs.
The puff·in mom and dad sit on
their egg. The mom sits. Then the
dad sits. In the end, the chick
pops out of the shell. The mom
and dad take care of the chick
un·til it can care for it·self. Look!
That puff·in has fish in her bill! She
will feed those fish to her chick.
In this next room, we have a
finch. Un·like the puff·in, the finch
makes a home in wood·lands.
He can use his bill to snap up grass
seeds for food.
I’m sad to tell you that the
finch is gett·ing to be quite rare.
We are proud to have five of
them here at the Green Fern
Big Cats
Do you like cats? If you do,
look there in the grass. Do you
see the cat?
That is not the sort of cat that
you keep in your home and feed
cat food. That is a bob·cat.
Bob·cats are good hunt·ers.
They hunt rabb·its, rats, and
some·times deer and sheep.
That bob·cat’s name is Rob·ert,
or Bob for short. Get it?
If you look up on that rock,
you will see a cat that’s bigg·er
than a bob·cat. It’s a pan·ther.
Pan·thers can have spots.
They can be tan, too. Here at the
Green Fern Zoo, we have two
black pan·thers. The name of this
one is Jet.
That’s Jet’s sis·ter, Flash, up on
the tree branch. Flash has strong
legs that help her run fast. She
has sharp teeth and sharp claws
that help her hunt rabb·its and
deer. She can use her claws to
scam·per up a tree if she needs
You can see that she is not all
black like Jet. She has some spots.
Here you can see a ground·hog.
Ground·hogs have sharp claws
that help them dig holes in the
ground. They spend a lot of time
down in those dark holes.
Ground·hogs like to feed
on grass and plants. But when
they run out of their holes to
get food, they have to be on
the look·out. Some critt·ers, like
bob·cats and snakes, like to dine
on ground·hogs. This ground·hog
here is sitt·ing up to see if there is
a snake or a bob·cat close by.
This ground·hog is named
Pepp·er. We feed her grass,
tree bark, and in·sects, but the
food that she likes best is corn.
We found that out yes·ter·day
morn·ing when she got out from
her pen.
We found her in the pett·ing
zoo. She ate a lot of the corn
that was there for the ducks and
The Reptile Room
Who likes snakes? Hands up if
you like them!
Some kids like snakes best of all,
and some kids can’t stand them.
If you do not like snakes, you can
skip this next room be·cau se it is
the rep·tile room.
This is a gar·ter snake. Gar·ter
snakes feed on slugs, in·sects,
and frogs. For those critt·ers, the
gar·ter snake is a kill·er. But for
us, it is harm·less. A gar·ter snake
could bite you, but its bite would
not make you sick.
This is a ratt·ler. He is a des·ert
dwell·er that hunts for rats and
rabb·its. He has a patt·ern on his
scales that helps him blend in and
hide in the des·ert sands. When
the ratt·ler is hidd·en, it is hard
for rats and rabb·its to see him.
A ratt·ler is not harm·less like
a gar·ter snake. If you ev·er see
this snake hiss·ing and coil·ing up,
you bett·er stand back and let it
be. The ratt·ler has sharp fangs,
and a bite from a ratt·ler could
kill you. But we are safe here in
the rep·tile room. There is a sheet
of glass keep·ing us safe from the
What do you kids like to have
for lunch? Hot dogs? Chick·en
What if I gave you a lump of
wood or a big tree stump for
lunch? Would you like that?
Well, if you were a ter·mite, you
would like it. Ter·mites are in·sects
that like to munch on wood.
See this big spike stick·ing up
from the ground? It looks sort
of like a rock, but it is a ter·mite
mound. If you could look in·side,
you would see lots of ter·mites.
If you would like to see what
ter·mites look like, take a peek in
this box.
As you can see, ter·mites look
a lot like ants. They have six legs
like ants. A ter·mite mound has
a queen who makes eggs, just
like in an ant·hill. Here you can see
that the ter·mite queen is much
bigg·er than the rest of the
Would a ter·mite munch on
your home? It would if your
home is made of wood. The
ter·mites from a big mound could
have your liv·ing room for lunch
and your bed·room for dinn·er!
River Otters
Do you like to run and jump?
Do you like to chase your pals?
Do you like to splash in the pool in
the summ·er? Do you like to slide
down hills in the win·ter?
Well, if you like to do those
things, you would make a good
ott·er! You can see three of our
riv·er ott·ers up on the rocks:
Al·ex, All·en, and Ag·nes. That’s
Al·ex up on top of All·en. The last
one is Ag·nes.
Ott·ers have short, strong legs
with webbed paws and sharp
claws. The webb·ing helps the
ott·ers swim fast and get their
food. Riv·er ott·ers hunt for fish,
frogs, and crabs.
When it is time for bed, the
riv·er ott·ers scam·per to their
den. They have nests on land that
are lined with grass, moss, and
Cranes and Spoon·bills
Here you can see two sand·hill
A sand·hill crane has long
legs, a dark, point·ed bill, and a
red spot next to its bill. Sand·hill
cranes are found in wet·lands.
They like to hunt for frogs, snakes,
and in·sects.
Those are sand·hill cranes, too.
In fact, that’s a mom and a dad
with their chicks. When sand·hill
cranes mate, they tilt their bills up
and make hoot·ing sounds. Then
the mom and dad make a nest.
The mom sits on the eggs for 4
weeks un·til the chicks are born.
That’s a spoon·bill. He has that
name be·cau se his bill is shaped
like a spoon.
The spoon·bill wades in pools
to get his food. He swings his bill
back and forth. If he feels an
in·sect swimm·ing in·side his bill, he
snaps it shut.
When spoon·bills mate, they
make a nest. When the chicks are
born, they can’t see. The mom
and dad have to care for them
until they can see.
The Ostrich
This is an os·trich. He is a big
one. He tips the scales at close to
two hun·dred pounds.
An os·trich has wings that it
can flap, but it can’t get off the
ground. Still, an os·trich can run
fast on land. It can run as fast as
a car!
If it gets mad, an os·trich can
kick you. My pal Fred here at the
zoo got kicked by an os·trich. The
os·trich broke Fred’s leg in three
spots! Ouch!
Look there! Do you see the two
deer in the woods? The one who
is look·ing at us is named Hope.
Hope was not born in this zoo.
I found her by my home one
morn·ing af·ter a storm. A tree
fell on her and broke her leg. She
could not stand up.
I drove her here and the vet
fixed up her leg. We named her
Hope and found a spot for her in
the zoo. To·day her leg is fine and
she is as strong as ev·er.
The Petting Zoo
Well, kids, the last thing that you
all get to see is the pett·ing zoo.
You can’t pet the os·trich, the
ott·ers, or the spoon·bills. And
it would not be wise to pet the
pan·ther or the bob·cat! But in
this part of the zoo, you can pet
all of the critt·ers.
This rabb·it’s name is Hoss. He
likes it when you rub his neck.
Here are two chick·ens. They
like it when you toss them seed
You can pet the chick·ens, too.
But some·times they get scared.
It’s best if you do not run up to
them be·cau se runn·ing scares
There’s Pam, our pet pig. You
can pet her, too. Pam likes to be
Well, kids, that’s it for me. I
hope you had a good time at the
zoo to·day. I had fun point·ing out
some of the critt·ers that I like
I hope some of you can vi·sit
with your moms and dads. There
is so much to see here at the
Green Fern Zoo. You could vis·it
us five times and still see lots of
cool things!
About this Book
This book has been created for use by students learning to read with the Core
Knowledge Reading Program. Readability levels are suitable for early readers. The
book has also been carefully leveled in terms of its “code load,” or the number of
spellings used in the stories.
The English writing system is complex. It uses more than 200 spellings to stand
for 40-odd sounds. Many sounds can be spelled several different ways, and many
spellings can be pronounced several different ways. This book has been designed
to make early reading experiences simpler and more productive by using a subset
of the available spellings. It uses only spellings that students have been taught to
sound out as part of their phonics lessons, plus a handful of Tricky Words, which
have also been deliberately introduced in the lessons. This means that the stories
will be 100% decodable if they are assigned at the proper time.
As the students move through the program, they learn new spellings and the
“code load” in the decodable Readers increases gradually. The code load graphic
on this page indicates the number of spellings students are expected to know
in order to read the first story of the book and the number of spellings students
are expected to know in order to read the final stories in the book. The columns
on the inside back cover list the specific spellings and Tricky Words students are
expected to recognize at the beginning of this Reader. The bullets at the bottom
of the inside back cover identify spellings, Tricky Words, and other topics that are
introduced gradually in the unit this Reader accompanies.
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Core Knowledge Language Arts
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E. D. Hirsch, Jr.
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These materials are the result of the work, advice, and encouragement of numerous individuals over many years. Some of those singled out here already
know the depth of our gratitude; others may be surprised to find themselves thanked publicly for help they gave quietly and generously for the sake of
the enterprise alone. To helpers named and unnamed we are deeply grateful.
Contributors to Earlier Versions of these Materials
Susan B. Albaugh, Kazuko Ashizawa, Nancy Braier, Kathryn M. Cummings, Michelle De Groot, Diana Espinal, Mary E. Forbes, Michael L. Ford,
Ted Hirsch, Danielle Knecht, James K. Lee, Diane Henry Leipzig, Martha G. Mack, Liana Mahoney, Isabel McLean, Steve Morrison, Juliane K. Munson,
Elizabeth B. Rasmussen, Laura Tortorelli, Rachael L. Shaw, Sivan B. Sherman, Miriam E. Vidaver, Catherine S. Whittington, Jeannette A. Williams
We would like to extend special recognition to Program Directors Matthew Davis and Souzanne Wright who were instrumental to the early
development of this program.
We are truly grateful to the teachers, students, and administrators of the following schools for their willingness to field test these materials and for
their invaluable advice: Capitol View Elementary, Challenge Foundation Academy (IN), Community Academy Public Charter School, Lake Lure Classical
Academy, Lepanto Elementary School, New Holland Core Knowledge Academy, Paramount School of Excellence, Pioneer Challenge Foundation
Academy, New York City PS 26R (The Carteret School), PS 30X (Wilton School), PS 50X (Clara Barton School), PS 96Q, PS 102X (Joseph O. Loretan),
PS 104Q (The Bays Water), PS 214K (Michael Friedsam), PS 223Q (Lyndon B. Johnson School), PS 308K (Clara Cardwell), PS 333Q (Goldie Maple Academy),
Sequoyah Elementary School, South Shore Charter Public School, Spartanburg Charter School, Steed Elementary School, Thomas Jefferson Classical
Academy, Three Oaks Elementary, West Manor Elementary.
And a special thanks to the CKLA Pilot Coordinators Anita Henderson, Yasmin Lugo-Hernandez, and Susan Smith, whose suggestions and day-to-day
support to teachers using these materials in their classrooms was critical.
Every effort has been taken to trace and acknowledge copyrights. The editors tender their apologies for any accidental infringement
where copyright has proved untraceable. They would be pleased to insert the appropriate acknowledgment in any subsequent edition
of this publication. Trademarks and trade names are shown in this publication for illustrative purposes only and are the property of their
respective owners. The references to trademarks and trade names given herein do not affect their validity.
All photographs are used under license from Shutterstock, Inc. unless otherwise noted.
Matthew M. Davis, Core Knowledge Staff
Michael Parker
Code Knowledge assumed at the beginning of this Reader:
Vowel Sounds and
Consonant Sounds
and Spellings:
/i/ as in skim
/p/ as in tip, tipping
/e/ as in bed
/b/ as in rub, rubbing
/m/ as in swim,
/a/ as in tap
/t/ as in bat, batting
/n/ as in run, running
/u/ as in up
/d/ as in bid, bidding
/ng/ as in king
/o/ as in flop
/h/ as in ham
/ee/ as in bee
/k/ a s in cot, kid, rock,
/a_e/ as in late
/g/ as in log, logging
/l/ as in lamp, fill
/i_e/ as in time
/ch/ as in chin
/r/ as in rip, ferret
/o_e/ as in home
/j/ as in jog
/y/ as in yes
/u_e/ as in cute
/f/ as in fat, huff
/sh/ as in shop
/oo/ as in soon
/v/ as in vet
/x/ as in box
/oo/ as in look
/s/ as in sit, hiss
/qu/ as in quit
/ou/ as in shout
/z/ as in zip, dogs, buzz
/oi/ as in oil
/th/ as in thin
/aw/ as in paw
/th/ as in then
punctuation (period,
comma, quotation
marks, question mark,
exclamation point,
/w/ as in wet
Tricky Words:
a, I, know, so, of, all,
some, from, word,
are, were, have, one,
once, to, do, two, who,
said, says, was, when,
where, why, what,
which, here, there, he,
she, we, be, me, they,
their, my, by, you, your,
could, would, should,
down, because
Code Knowledge added gradually in the unit for this Reader:
• Beginning with “Meet Vern”: the sound /er/ spelled ‘er’ as in her
• Beginning with “Things That Swim”: the sound /ar/ spelled ‘ar’ as in car
• Beginning with “Chimps”: the sound /or/ spelled ‘or’ as in for
• Beginning with “Mandrills”: two-syllable words
• B
eginning with ”Groundhogs”: the Tricky Words today, yesterday, tomorrow;
/t/ as in asked, /d/ as in filled
The Green Fern Zoo
Unit 4 Reader
Skills Strand
grade 1
The Core Knowledge Foundation