The Secret of the Fallen Log Lesson Plan

Academic Standards


Reading Objective:

Children will follow the story of an owlet rescue and identify the contribution of each rescuer.


Science Focus:

animal rescue


ELA and Social Studies Skills:

key details, vocabulary, writing, sequencing


Page 4 Skill:

read a chart



veterinarians, X-ray machine, owlets



RI.2.1 key details; RI.2.2 identify the main topic; RI.2.4 determine meanings of words; RI.2.5 use text features; RI.2.10 read informational texts; W.2.3 recount sequence of events; SL.2.1 collaborative conversations; SL.2.3 ask and answer questions

Guided Reading Level:



Lexile level: 


Provide students with some background on animal rescue.


Build background knowledge (10 min.)

Watch our video "Creatures of the Night." After children have finished watching the video, discuss the following question:

  • Why do some animals stay awake at night?

Set a purpose for reading (5 min.)

  • Pass out the issue, and discuss the cover. What animal could be stuck in the log?
  • Next, read the As You Read prompt on page 2: “Think about all the ways people helped the animals in the log.” Encourage children to think about this prompt as they read.


Read together (20 min.)

Pass out the Read and Think printable. Use it to check comprehension as you read the issue together, pausing to ask the questions. 


Review vocabulary (3 min.)

Next, play the online vocabulary slideshow. This issue’s featured terms are veterinarians, X-ray machine, and owlets.


Assessment: Reading Quiz

Pass out the Reading Quiz to review key concepts from the issue and assess students’ proficiency on key nonfiction reading skills.

  • Students will practice identifying long and short vowel sounds in words with the “Owl on the Prowl” game.

You can use our printable worksheets to focus on important ELA skills. Here's how.

ELA Focus: Vocabulary (15 min.)

  • Use the Word Work printable to deepen students’ understanding of the words veterinarians, X-ray machine, and owlets.

Editor’s Pick: Writing (15 min.)

  • The Wh- Questions skill sheet guides students to analyze what they have read and restate key details from the article.

ELA Focus: Sequencing (15 min.)

  • Students will recall the owlets’ journey and the role each worker in their rescue played with the Secret Owls Sequencing skill sheet.

After reading “The Secret of the Fallen Log,” visit our archive to read the article “Little Owl’s Big Trip.”

  • Click the audio button above the article to have it read aloud for your class. Kids can also read it on computers.
  • After reading, pass out our Venn Diagram Anytime Skills page. Students can use this to compare and contrast the two articles. Talk about how the owls’ journeys are alike and different. How were they found? Who helped them?

Here is a past issue you can use to extend your lesson on animal rescue:

  • How to Rescue Baby Eagles,” February 2020. This issue follows another group of baby animals that humans helped return to their home.

You can find a higher-Lexile-level and a lower-Lexile-level version of the article online here:

  • Higher Lexile level: 570L
  • Lower Lexile level: 450L