This story is about a child named
Toby who visits the Channel Islands off the
California coast with his family. Toby learns
about the unique plants and animals on
each island and the importance of respecting
INTRODUCE THE BOOK
INTRODUCE THE TITLE AND AUTHOR
students the title and the author of Toby’s
Vacation. Based on the cover illustration, ask
students to describe the image they get of
what the book will be about.
Discuss what students
know about endangered species. Ask them
to name animals they can think of that are
endangered, like the spotted owl. Prompt
them to discuss reasons why these animals
PREVIEW/USE TEXT FEATURES
preview the book, ask them to look at the
photographs and read the captions. Based on
these features, ask students what they think
the book will be about. Draw their attention to
the photographs on page 11. Ask them what
they think the book will tell them about these
SETTING AND THEME
READ THE BOOK
Have students set a purpose for
reading Toby’s Vacation. Prompt them to think
about the importance of preserving our environment and taking care of plants and animals.
STRATEGY SUPPORT: VISUALIZE
read, visualizing will help them better
understand what they are reading. Have
students write down descriptive words from
the text that helped them picture what they
read. Visualizing also helps students develop
a clearer understanding of setting and theme.
How many islands make up the
Channel Islands? (eight)
What is the setting? (Santa Cruz
What words or phrases on this page
help you visualize the setting? (largest island,
mountain ranges, ravines, tide pools, sea
caves, deer, mice, many reptiles, sea lions)
Why is Alcatraz famous? (It used to
have a prison where dangerous criminals were
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REVISIT THE BOOK
1. San Diego; palm trees, big buildings, wide
roads, beaches, ocean.
2. Possible responses: birds, trees, foxes,
3. Responses will vary; a point of land
extending out into water.
4. Possible responses: cleaning up trash, not
polluting, recycling, walking instead of
Discuss with students
one of the themes of this story, such as the
importance of helping endangered species.
Ask students how this theme affects them.
Prompt them to think about ways the threat of
animal extinction affects Earth and its people.
Suggest students imagine what it
would be like to visit one of the Channel
Islands. Have them write a short description
of the experience, using vivid details.
Students can learn more
about endangered animals
by researching them on the Internet
or in the library. Suggest that they choose
an endangered animal that interests them
most and read about ways people are trying
to preserve them. Encourage students to get
involved in some way, such as having a bake
sale to raise money or writing a letter to the
government asking for help.
Have students look up each word in a
dictionary and write the definitions on a
sheet of paper. Then have volunteers write
a sentence using a vocabulary word you’ve
written on the board. Repeat this until all
words are used.
Have students write each vocabulary
word on one side of an index card and its
definition on the back. Then have students
take turns reading the definitions and
guessing which words go with them.
TARGET SKILL AND STRATEGY
SETTING AND THEME
that setting is the time and place in which
a story occurs. As students read, ask them
to write down the setting of the story and
have them ask themselves: Does the theme
depend on the setting of the story? Remind
students that theme is the underlying
meaning of a story, a “big idea” that stands
on its own outside a story. As students
read, have them answer the following
question: What does the writer want me
to learn or know from reading this story?
VISUALIZE Remind students that to
visualize is to create a picture in the mind.
As students read, prompt them to pay close
attention to imagery and sensory details.
Using a graphic organizer, have students
write words and phrases from the text that
help them form their mental pictures.
ADDITIONAL SKILL INSTRUCTION
Remind students that
sometimes they are given ideas about
several things or people in a text that they
can make a statement about as a group.
This statement is called a generalization.
Valid generalizations are accurate or
true. As students read, have them make
generalizations about each island. Ask them
to list facts to support their generalizations.
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Setting and Theme
• Setting is the time and place in which the story occurs.
• Theme is the subject or idea of a story.
Directions Based on your understanding of Toby’s Vacation, answer the questions below.
1. What is the setting of the story?
2. What is the story’s theme?
3. Does the theme depend on the setting of the story? Why or why not?
© Pearson Education 5
4. What is another setting where the theme of the story would still be the same? Why?
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Directions Write the vocabulary word that matches each definition.
Check the Words You Know
1. a type of seaweed
3. a sea animal that has a shell
5. a vein
6. a point of land extending out into water
7. den or home
Directions Write three sentences, using as many vocabulary words as you can.
© Pearson Education 5
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