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Donald's Tale of the Coral Reefs



Donald's Tale of the Coral Reefs
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 3 to 4
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   3.29

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    heading, sewage, snorkel, zooxanthellae, species, reefs, fertilizer, stress, polyp, satellite, affects, mudslides, special, father, packed, itself
     content words:    Mother Nature, El Nino, Florida Keys


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Donald's Tale of the Coral Reefs
By Jennifer Kenny
  

1     Donald's father has a special job. He studies coral reefs. Today he was going to visit some near Florida. Donald knew coral reefs were beautiful. What else was there to know about them?
 
2     "What is coral really?" Donald asked.
 
3     "It's an animal, a polyp that makes a shell around itself. Inside it lives with algae. These algae have a very long name. They're called zooxanthellae. The algae make food and share it with the coral. When colonies of living coral grow together for hundreds of years on top of older ones, reefs form," Dad said.
 
4     "The corals look so amazing. Even their names like Starburst or Brain are so cool," Donald said.
 
5     "They are. They look cool. They have cool names. Around one out of every four fish species call coral reefs home," Dad said. "Coral reefs also make barriers that can protect beaches and homes. Many people use coral reefs as part of their work. Coral reefs have even been used as part of medicines to help people get better."
 
6     "Wow!" Donald exclaimed. "Is that why you say coral reefs are like rain forests?"
 
7     "Yes," Dad said. "They are both beautiful. They also are home to many different kinds of plants and animals. It's a shame we're losing both."
 
8     "Why are we losing coral reefs?" Donald asked in shock.

Paragraphs 9 to 17:
For the complete story with questions: click here for printable


Extended Activities:

1.  Research the connection between humans and climate change.

2.  Make a 3-D coral.

3.  Pick a type of coral. Write five facts about it.

4.  What does bleaching coral mean?

5.  How do people use coral?

6.  Find out two types of fish that live in coral.



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