Teaching Process Skills with Children’s Literature: Hello Ocean

While growing up children are constantly curious and active in exploring their surroundings.  Pam Munoz Ryan and Mark Astrella’s book Hello Ocean illustrates a common summer trip to the beach through all five senses.

Hello Ocean is a descriptive book using great imagery to emphasize the differences between the five senses. Ryan’s book not only introduces students to the differences in the senses, but it also incorporates additional elements of figurative language such as alliteration, personification, onomatopoeia, metaphors, rhyme and rhythm.

I hear the ocean,
a lion’s roar,
crashing rumors
toward the shore,
water shushing and rushing in,
then whispering back to the sea again.

While Ryan uses challenging vocabulary for beginning readers, Astrella’s realistic pictures help to illustrate possible unfamiliar terms.  This will help students to better understand the uses of all five senses, especially if they have experienced a similar summer trip. And yet, even without past experiences to draw upon, the pictures accurately illustrate Ryan’s text and help with the understanding of the new concept.

Curriculum Connections
Hello Ocean could be used as an introduction to a kindergarten class, but is better suited for a first or second grade classroom. Used in a kindergarten classroom, students will be able to see the relationship between the text and the accompanying pictures.  With this connection, the students will begin to understand what each of the five senses can detect in all surroundings.

In an older elementary classroom, students will be able to gain more than just an introduction of the senses. Ryan’s language helps to introduce new elements of writing (metaphor, rhyme, alliteration) that can be extended as part of a language arts lesson. In Virginia, the corresponding Standards of Learning for Kindergarten are K.1c and K.2a, while in first grade the Standard of Learning is 1.1a.

Additional Resources

  • Author Pam Munoz Ryan’s website offers various links for further exploration into how we use our five senses and how animals differ using their senses. Ryan’s web page also links to other sites that provide activities of the five senses including the use of optical illusions, braille, and a sense testing game.
  • Teacher Planet provides an outline for a unit on the senses. The unit plans contains lessons plans for all of the senses in addition to extension activities and printables for further clarification of how we use each sense. 
  • Enchanted Learning provides teachers with printable worksheets that can help students with learning how to classify objects based on the sense that would be most likely used in observation. These printables challenge students by encouraging them to observe objects using different senses.

Book: Hello Ocean
Pam Munoz Ryan
Mark Astrella
Charlesbridge Publishing
Publication Date:
February 2001
32 pages

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