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All About Coyotes

Fact or Fiction?

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Resources Native American folklore is filled with tales of the "trickster" coyote, like "How Coyote Stole Fire." Coyote earned a reputation for being a sly, sneaky predator. Stories of his adventures have been retold for hundreds of years. As a result, it is sometimes hard to tell the difference between "coyote fact" and "coyote fiction." Here are some common myths about coyotes - and some facts to help you decide whether or not they are true. Stop and Think!

One coyote myth is that coyotes sometimes hunt human beings. This is fiction! Coyotes do not hunt human beings. In fact, coyotes are likely to be more scared of us than we are of them. They are naturally shy animals. Coyotes will only attack when they feel frightened. If you run into a coyote that comes too close, the best thing to do is stand as tall as possible, wave your arms, and make a lot of noise. Usually the coyote will run away.

Another myth about coyotes is that they always steal and eat livestock. Farmers are often anxious about coyotes attacking their animals, so they set traps and put up fences to keep them away. Many times, coyotes are blamed for damage done by dogs. In fact, coyotes rarely eat livestock unless they are injured or starving, and lacking other food to eat. Coyotes that live close to humans may struggle to find enough food in the wild. If they come across a food source such as livestock, they will attack.

Coyotes earned their place in folklore because they are smart, secretive animals. However, they can be dangerous. Human beings should never feed coyotes, or encourage them to approach. The more comfortable they get around people, the more likely coyotes are to attack. They might look similar to dogs, but coyotes should never be treated as pets. Coyotes are necessary creatures to the balance of nature. We can appreciate and respect them as beautiful, wild animals. 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.

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Many myths surround coyotes.

One myth is that they hunt humans, but they are actually shy animals.

Another myth is that they steal livestock, but they only do this when they are starving.

Coyotes can be dangerous.

Humans should never treat coyotes like pets.

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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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Monty's Thoughts

This passage talks about the many myths that surround coyotes. Therefore, I should ask a question that helps me remember that stories about coyotes can be myths.



Monty's Response

The author says that coyotes earned their reputation through folklore. When I ask myself how coyotes got their reputation, I will remember that stories about coyotes were passed down and could be therefore be myths.

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Hali's Thoughts

When I create my question, I start with a 'why' question word, because it seems to me that 'why' questions lead to more in-depth answers.



Hali's Response

The author says that it is hard to tell the difference between 'coyote fact' and 'coyote fiction.' When I ask myself why this is so, I will remember how myths come about and will question what I know about coyotes.

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Pedro's Self Check

Do your questions—

Ask about something important, not trivial?

Get to the point?

Often start with a question word (who, what, when, why, how)?

Focus on parts of the text or illustrations?

Require a substantive answer, not just a 'yes or no'?

Ask about character, setting, key events, lessons learned, objectivity, bias, or perspective?

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Monty's Thoughts

This passage talks about the many myths that surround coyotes. Therefore, I should ask a question that helps me remember that stories about coyotes can be myths.

Close Window

Hali's Thoughts

When I create my question, I start with a 'why' question word, because it seems to me that 'why' questions lead to more in-depth answers.

Close Window


Pedro's Self Check

Do your questions—

Ask about something important, not trivial?

Get to the point?

Often start with a question word (who, what, when, why, how)?

Focus on parts of the text or illustrations?

Require a substantive answer, not just a 'yes or no'?

Ask about character, setting, key events, lessons learned, objectivity, bias, or perspective?

Close Window

Monty's Thoughts

I enjoy asking questions about a story or text. I like to use the highlight tool to identify key information so that I know what I want to ask about.

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Hali's Thoughts

One thing I think about when I write summaries is that it's important to use my own words. That way, I know I understand what I'm writing, rather than just copying the author's words.

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Monty's Thoughts

The paragraph talks about coyote myths and gives two examples. The author also warns us that coyotes can be dangerous. Therefore, I chose the summary that included these key points, and that flowed well.



Monty's Response

The many myths about coyotes make it hard to distinguish fact from fiction. They are rumored to hunt humans and steal livestock, but they are too shy, and only attack when frightened or starving. Coyotes can be dangerous so people should never treat them like pets.

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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

The paragraph talks about coyote myths and gives two examples. The author also warns us that coyotes can be dangerous. I first listed the key points and then wrote my summary based on the list. Finally, I made sure that the summary flows well.

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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.

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 book and what questions I might have to discuss with a friend or teacher.

Close Window

Hali's Thoughts

I enjoy asking questions about a story or text. I like to use the highlight tool to identify key information so that I know what I want to ask about.