TCM 9005_GR5 Pers - Teacher Created Materials

TCM 9005_GR5 Pers - Teacher Created Materials

P ersuasive 8


An eastern tiger salamander native

to east and central North America,

is in danger of dying out. Its habitat

is disappearing and many of the

salamanders are being captured by

human collectors.

Persuasive 8

It’s not easy being green—or blue, for

that matter. Frogs, toads, and other

amphibians are disappearing at a rate

that has scientists concerned. A report

released in October 2004, said that about

one-third of the world’s species of

amphibians are vulnerable or in danger

of dying out. “What we’re seeing is

unprecedented,” said the report’s lead

researcher, Simon N. Stuart.

Among other statistics in the report

are these:

• Nearly one-third (32%) of the world’s amphibian

species are threatened. That’s 1,856 species.

• As many as 168 amphibian species may already

be extinct.

• At least 43% of all amphibian species are

declining in population. Fewer than 1% of species

show population increases.

Researchers say there are many reasons for the

decline, including habitat loss. Rain forests and

wetlands are being cut down and destroyed at an

alarming rate. In addition, a highly infectious

fungus is attacking many species of amphibians in

South and Central America.

There could be other factors at work, however,

and that’s what really worries people. Amphibians

are more sensitive to pollution than humans are.

Fewer salamanders and frogs could mean there’s

an increase in air or water pollution. It makes us

ask the question: If the frogs and toads are dying

off, who’s next?

The reports of disappearing amphibians give

scientists valuable information as they hunt for the

causes of this troubling trend. The news gives the

rest of us a reason to be concerned.

The blue poison arrow frog, which lives in Central and

South American rain forests, is an endangered species.

The Status of Amphibian Species

in 2004

Near Threatened

(359 species)


(668 species)


(761 species)

Source: Global Amphibians

Status Unknown

(1,290 species)





(427 species)

Extinct/Extinct in the

Wild (35 species)

Level 5 i1053 ©TIME FOR KIDS

Fiction Link: Be sure to read “How to Be a Frog,” Fiction and Poetry Card 2

Frog and Toad Are in Trouble

Making the Most of Captions

Reader’s Response

❍ 1

❍ 2

❍ 3

Writer’s Response

❍ 1

❍ 2

Why do you imagine amphibians are

disappearing at a faster rate than other

threatened species?

How is color used in the pie chart to call

attention to endangered species?

What might be some results if a third of

Earth’s amphibians die out?

How does this author give scientific

weight to the main idea that amphibians

are in trouble?

Why does the author include photographs

of amphibians?

Be the Writer

A number of Earth’s many animals are

endangered, that is, they could become extinct

if something is not done to help them.

Pollution, overhunting, and loss of habitat are

some problems they face. Research and report

on an endangered animal. Use pictures,

graphs, or other visuals to make an appeal for

its safety.

vulnerable infectious

unprecedented factors

From the Writer

In some nonfiction articles, visuals are just

as important as words in communicating the

main idea. In such a case, the writer should

create captions carefully to deliver as much

information as possible without being

repetitive or boring.

Captions, the sentences or labels attached

to visuals, explain what the picture shows. They

also generally summarize or recap important

ideas discussed in the article.

Look at the pie chart included in this story.

Its caption explains that it shows the status of

amphibian species worldwide in 2004. The

article’s title has already alerted us that it will

discuss how frogs and toads (and other

amphibians) are in trouble. We can figure out

that the chart shows the nature of the problem.

A quick review confirms this. Quite a few

species have died out or are in serious danger

of disappearing. (The labels “Extinct,”

“Critically Endangered,” “Endangered,” and

“Vulnerable” are placed so that your eye goes

to them first.)

Two photographs show examples of

amphibians that are in trouble. Captions for

these photos identify the animals and also

summarize important points from the article:

endangerment and two of its causes—loss of

habitat and interference by humans.

After reading the title and captions and

looking at the visuals, you have a good idea

what the article will have to say. As you write

captions, keep the main point of your story in

mind and use the captions to help add more

information or repeat important points.

Level 5 TCM 9005 i1053 ©TIME FOR KIDS

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