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All About Coyotes

Coyotes and their Families

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When most people think of coyotes, they often associate them with dogs or wolves. In fact, coyotes, dogs and wolves are all part of the same family. Each type of animal has special traits that make them unique. Coyotes have many fascinating characteristics that make them fun to study. Stop and Think!

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Coyotes are fairly small animals, weighing between 20 and 50 pounds. They are about the size of a Collie dog. Their fur is tan or gray-colored, and some coyotes have white bellies. Coyotes that live in cold climates grow thick fur coats in the winter to protect them from the cold.

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Coyotes usually live in sheltered areas. They live in dens only when a female is giving birth or when there is bad weather. The dens can be made out of old badger or fox holes, or hollows in the side of rocky ledges.

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Coyotes live in packs that usually have between 3 and 8 members. The pack travels together and shares food. When a female coyote gives birth to her pups, she will go into a den alone. A litter is usually between 6 and 8 pups. Females birth a litter almost every year!

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Coyotes are opportunistic animals. This means that they take advantage of any food they can find. A normal coyote's diet includes rabbits, mice, birds, and most other wild animals. Although they live in packs, coyotes like to hunt alone. When hunting, they can run up to 40 miles per hour. Coyotes are omnivores, so they will also eat all kinds of fruit and vegetables. However, when their food supply is low, coyotes will wander into urban areas to look for food. A starving coyote will eat garbage, garden vegetables, and even small pets. Stop and Think!

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Create your own summary. Use the Key Points list below or use the Text Help toolbar to highlight and collect key points you choose from the text. Then write a summary in your own words. You could also try sketching your summary.

Key Points

Coyotes are different from dogs and wolves.

Coyotes are as big as a medium-sized dog, and their fur is tan or gray-colored.

Coyotes live in dens during bad weather or when giving birth.

They live in packs and have 6 to 8 pups a year.

Coyotes are omnivores and find food from the wild, but may also find food in trash cans, back yards, and other sources near people.

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Choose one of the strategies you've practiced here—visualize, summarize, predict, or question. Pick one that works well for you and is suited to the passage.

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Use the Text Help toolbar located above to highlight and collect the words and phrases. Paste them into your word processor and write, sketch, or discuss your response.


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Monty's Thoughts

The author compares coyotes, dogs, and wolves and mentions that each animal has unique traits, emphasizing that coyotes have fascinating characteristics. This makes me want to find out more about what interesting attributes coyotes have.



Monty's Response

As I read the first paragraph, I notice that the author is focusing on the distinctive characteristics that differentiate each animal, in particular, coyotes. I then realize that the author is going to start describing the coyote's characteristics.

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Hali's Thoughts

When I predict what will happen in a book, I first check the title of the book and the cover picture. This helps me predict what the book is about and gives me clues about the author's intention as I read the first paragraph in the book.



Hali's Response

When I read the first paragraph, I remembered the title of the book, 'All about Coyotes,' so I could easily predict that the author would talk about the coyote's characteristics.

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Pedro's Self Check

Ask yourself these questions to help yourself make a good prediction:

Does your prediction connect what you know with information in the text or image?

Did you make an educated guess, not a 'wild' guess?

Do your predictions change as you read more and get more information that doesn't match your earlier prediction?

Did you predict what might happen (a 'crystal ball' kind of prediction) OR what the text or image is preparing you for ('predicting the moves of the text')?

Did you use keywords in the text structure to help yourself make predictions? (Example: If the text contains the words, 'for instance,' you can expect to find examples.)

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Monty's Thoughts

The author compares coyotes, dogs, and wolves and mentions that each animal has unique traits, emphasizing that coyotes have fascinating characteristics. This makes me want to find out the coyote's special attributes are.

Close Window

Hali's Thoughts

When I predict what will happen in a book, I first check the title of the book and the cover picture. This helps me predict what the book is about and gives me clues about the author's intention as I read the first paragraph in the book.

Close Window


Pedro's Self Check

Ask yourself these questions to help yourself make a good prediction:

Does your prediction connect what you know with information in the text or image?

Did you make an educated guess, not a 'wild' guess?

Do your predictions change as you read more and get more information that doesn't match your earlier prediction?

Did you predict what might happen (a 'crystal ball' kind of prediction) OR what the text or image is preparing you for ('predicting the moves of the text')?

Did you use keywords in the text structure to help yourself make predictions? (Example: If the text contains the words, 'for instance,' you can expect to find examples.)

Close Window

Monty's Thoughts

When I read the first paragraph of a book, I can easily predict what the author will talk about in the rest of the book because the author will provide hints about the main topic to catch the reader's attention.

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Hali's Thoughts

When I finish reading, I like to ask myself this question: 'What is the main thing the author has tried to convey?' Answering the question helps me understand and remember better what I have read.

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Monty's Thoughts

After I read each summary, I asked myself if the summary left out any important information. Two of the summaries did. I chose the summary that captured all the important facts.



Monty's Response

Coyotes look like medium sized dogs with brownish-grey fur. They use their dens when the weather is bad or a female is giving birth. Coyotes eat small wild animals, fruits, and vegetables but may also look for food where people live.

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Hali's Thoughts

When I summarize, I try to include all the important facts to capture the gist of the passage. I also try to state them as concisely as possible, instead of writing every detail.

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Pedro's Self Check

To check your summary, ask yourself if your summary—

Captures the main ideas and key information.

Has the right amount of detail (not too much, not too little).

Combines several ideas or facts into one statement.

Paraphrases, or explains in your own words.

Includes information from text and images.

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Monty's Thoughts

After I read each summary, I asked myself if the summary left out any important information. Two of the summaries did. I chose the summary that captured all the important facts.

Close Window

Hali's Thoughts

When I summarize, I try to include all the important facts to capture the gist of the passage. I also try to state them as concisely as possible, instead of writing every detail.

Close Window


Pedro's Self Check

To check your summary, ask yourself if your summary—

Captures the main ideas and key information.

Has the right amount of detail (not too much, not too little).

Combines several ideas or facts into one statement.

Paraphrases, or explains in your own words.

Includes information from text and images.

Close Window

Monty's Thoughts

When I approach the end of a chapter, I like to summarize. This helps me review what I know so far about the facts and what questions I might have to discuss with a friend or teacher.

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Hali's Thoughts

Visualization is one of my favorite reading strategies. Sometimes I close my eyes and imagine the descriptions. Other times I like to draw what I am seeing. Once I took photographs and made a short movie with them. It really made the scene come alive.