The Keeper of the Wild Words The Nature Book List

This charming picture book tells the story of a grandmother and granddaughter seeking out particular nature words that are disappearing. The sharing of "wild" knowledge, before it becomes "lost" and the sensory details provided by the text and beautiful illustrations are a powerful combination and will encourage nature observation and enjoyment. 


Educator notes:

  • This book includes an envelope in the back for children to keep their own "lost words", which could be used in various ways to build vocabulary. The theme of social change and the power of words are important in this text.
Author: Brooke Smith Illustrator: Madeline Kloepper Publication year: 2020 Publisher: Chronicle Books, LLC ISBN: 9781452170732 Number of pages: 62 pages NAAEE: Strand 1: Questioning, Analysis, and Interpretation Skills Find At Your Library


Spring After Spring: How Rachel Carson Inspired the Environmental Movement  books

This picture book biography chronicles the life of the famous environmentalist, Rachel Carson. Brimming with information, both visually and with text, this book will inspire young readers to observe the natural world around them, and will educate them about the difference one person can make when using the power of those observations.


Educator notes:

  • This book is recommended for lessons on the environment, famous women,and social change.
Author: Stéphanie Roth Sisson Illustrator: Stéphanie Roth Sisson Publication year: 2018 Publisher: Roaring Brook Press ISBN: 9781626728196 Number of pages: 31 pages NAAEE: Strand 1: Questioning, Analysis, and Interpretation Skills Find At Your Library
Topic: environment, nature, words Age: Primary (K-3) Active Learning Strategy: Vocabulary Building

Type: Individual and Whole Group Exercise

Title: Capturing Lost Words!


Learning Objectives: The student will:

  • Read and explore the vocabulary of the world of nature
  • Learn to use context clues to determine the meaning of new vocabulary words
  • Share unique 'lost word' stories with peers and plan for further learning



This activity involves students identifying unfamiliar words and listing them out to create a nature word worksheet. Students will build their word list individually and together as a group. This activity is meant to cover multiple subject areas and could continue synchronously throughout the school session. Students should be encouraged to add words regularly and time should be allowed for in depth discussion as time permits. Encourage sensory observations and have students engage with and ask any questions about the wonderful world of nature.




  • Individual copies of The Keeper of the Wild Words and Spring After Spring texts.
  • Paper, notebooks or journals, and display area for common postings of words.
  • One or more dictionaries, for classroom use and word discovery support.


Direct Instruction:


  1. The Librarian and/or educator will read both texts aloud to students.  Group discussion will follow to explore themes, share experiences, and talk about the power of words and observations.
  2. In small groups or individually, students will record "the lost words" and attempt to decipher their meanings using context clues from the text and other background knowledge they or other students may have or share.
  3. Particular encouragement should be given for making sensory observations. Have students talk about how words describe and convey meaning with the five senses. Using the Spring after Spring text in particular, connect the importance of sensory observation with the environment and current life experiences.


Guided and Independent Practice:


Topics on nature are endless and the words surrounding the various areas such as botany, biology, and meteorology, to name a few can build and strengthen vocabulary and comprehension. This limitless variety can spark the curiosity of students who may choose further observation and exploration on environmental topics. Connecting to the local environment will deepen the knowledge building of the student's own, observable natural world.




This activity is a great way to build skills in using context clues and other resources to identify the meanings of new words and grow their vocabularies. As part of a larger curriculum about nature and eco literacy, this activity is a wonderfully engaging introduction to using the senses in our everyday life to explore, observe and learn. Picture book biographies are an engaging way to connect young students with real people who made a difference in the world. The theme of social change is also present and timely in these texts, and can supplement learning in other areas of the curriculum.