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ELA Readings in Hudson River Natural History

Lesson Plan

Students will practice English language arts skills by listening to or reading and then responding to short articles about Hudson River nature, science, and history.


Students will respond to articles in ways that require:

  • reading, listening, and writing for information and understanding;
  • understanding scientific concepts, principles, and theories pertaining to the physical setting and living environment.

Grade level:

Elementary (Grades 3-5)

Subject Areas:

English Language Arts, Science

New York State Standards:

English Language Arts Standard 1
Mathematics, Science, & Technology Standard 4


  • Read and listen to acquire facts and ideas from texts.
  • Gather and organize information about organisms and environmental phenomena.
  • Write to interpret, apply, and transmit information.


Preparation time: 5 minutes
Activity time: 20-40 minutes per reading


Each student should have:


The articles in this collection allow teachers to integrate instruction in reading and writing with study of the Hudson River. Their content relates to organisms, events, and phenomena addressed in other lesson plans included in the Hudson River Estuary Program's curriculum offerings. For example, the articles "The Atlantic Sturgeon of the Hudson River" and "Blue Claw" may be assigned to students who are also working on the math skills lessons "On the Trail of the Hudson's Migratory Fish" and "On the Trail of the Blue Crab." The article "From the Mountains to the Sea" is intended to serve as a general introduction to study of the Hudson. Similar Hudson River lessons for kindergarten to third grade offer simple activities as well as questions on the readings. Those with content related to the articles in this collection are linked above.


  1. Introduce the topic covered in the article.
  2. The articles can be read aloud to the class to practice listening skills or assigned as student reading, either in class or as homework.
  3. The questions associated with each reading may likewise be covered with the class, or given out as in-class work or homework.

Vocabulary List and Answer Keys:

Available in the PDF version of this teacher's section and in the package that bundles all of the readings.


  • Assess comprehension by having students share answers to questions about readings, or collect and grade sheets.
  • Make up additional questions about content of readings.


These children's books cover the Hudson and related topics.

  • Locker, Thomas. Where the River Begins. Puffin Books, New York: 1993. Ages 4-8
  • Lourie, Peter. Hudson River: An Adventure From the Mountains to the Sea. Boyds Mill Press, Honesdale, Pennsylvania: 1998. Ages 9-12.
  • McKinney, Barbara. A Drop Around the World. Dawn Publications, Nevada City, California: 1998. Ages 4-8.
  • Wallace, Karen. Think of an Eel. Candlewick Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts: 2004. Ages 4-8.
  • Whitcraft, Melissa. The Hudson River. Franklin Watts, a Division of Grolier Publishing, New York: 1999. Ages 9-12.

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  • The Hudson River Estuary Program
    NYSDEC Region 3
    21 S Putt Corners Rd
    New Paltz, NY 12561
    fax: (845) 255-3649
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