The Insect Hunt - Tip Sheet

An image of the cover for the book "The Insect Hunt" showing two young children holding hands and walking in a forest holding butterfly nets


The Insect Hunt - Teacher Tip Sheet

Purple Series - Book 3 - The Insect Hunt

Grapheme/Phoneme Correspondence

Tips and Activities to Try

Introduced in This Book

  • long <u >/o̅o̅/ (in VCe pattern)

Previously Introduced


  • all short vowels, <u >/o͝͝o/
  • <o >/ō/, <e >/ē/, <y >/ī/, <ee >/ē/, <ay >/ā/, <ai >/ā/, <y >/ē/, <a-e >/ā/, <i-e >/ī/, <o-e >/ō/, <u-e >/yū/


  • all single consonants and clusters
  • <ng >/ng/, <nk >/nk/
  • <s >/s/ and /z/, <c >/s/


  • <th >/TH/ voiced, <th >/th/ unvoiced, <ck >/k/, <ff >/f/, <zz >/z/, <ss >/s/, <ll >/l/, <sh >/sh/, <ch >/ch/, <qu >/kw/, <-tch >/ch/, <-dge >/j/, <wh >/wh/

Additional Concepts

  • <al >(<a >as short /ŏ/ before <l >)
  • <wa >(<a >as short /ŏ/ after <w >)
  • <er >/er/, <or >/or/

Key Concepts to Understand

  • long <u >can be pronounced as /yū/ and /o̅o̅/
  • dialects determine pronunciation (e.g., some dialects may pronounce a /yū/ in words where others use a /o̅o̅/ - there are many ways to spell /o̅o̅/ (e.g., <u >, <u-e >, <ew >, <ue >, <oo >, <ui >, <ou >)

Note: there are only a small number of words that use <u-e >to spell the phoneme /o̅o̅/, other spellings are more frequently used


Words for Reading and Writing

Here is a list of words that can be used for phonemic awareness activities, reading, dictation, games cards, etc.:

  • dude, duke, dune, tube, flute, flume, fluke, rule, rude, tune, June, prune

You can differentiate for students by dropping some of the words in these phases (e.g., “the big red jet” can just be “the jet”).


Tips and Activities to Try

Introduced in This Book

  • suffix <-er> as comparative (more)

Previously Introduced

  • suffix <-s >third person singular, plural, and possessive
  • suffix <-ing >as present participle
  • suffix <-ed >as past tense of a verb
  • compound words
  • suffix <-er >as comparative
  • suffix <-y >

Key Concepts to Understand - <-er >

  • suffix <-er >has multiple functions, some are:
  1. as an agent → denotes a person (“one who”) or thing that performs a specified action or activity such as teacher or mixer
  2. comparative (e.g., stronger )
  3. derivational suffix of verbs, indicating repeated or diminutive action (e.g., flicker )

Activity to Try

  1. Provide students with a suffix -er card (use red to differentiate from the base).
  2. Teacher reads a base such as teach , (either written on the board or orally presented).
  3. Students repeat teach , hold up suffix -er card and say the new word teacher .

Keep in mind the suffixing convention: replace marker <e >when attaching a vowel suffix. Words ending in a vowel, such as dance , are best presented orally. Students are responsible for repeating the base and adding the suffix <-er >, NOT independently decoding the base. Therefore, words with vowel teams that have not yet been taught can be used in this activity. The goal is to understand suffix <-er >as a meaningful unit, not as something to sound out.

Suggested bases:

  • dance, teach, play, paint, clean, run, walk, mark, help, sing

Here are phrases that can be used for reading and/or dictation practice. These phrases can be combined to create sentences. A good opportunity arises to address syntax if the resulting sentence is not grammatically correct.

Noun Phrase

Verb Phrase

Prepositional Phrase

their stronger tube

went drifting

by the fluffy, mossy water

the longer, hilly driveway


alongside the grassy place

June, the prune

went swimming

in the deeper pond

some rude, bossy dukes

left their flutes

after playing their tunes



You can differentiate for your students by dropping some of the words in these phases (e.g., “by the fluffy, mossy water” can just be “by the water”).


Tips and Activities to Try

  • Review: doubling suffixing convention

Key Concepts to Understand - doubling convention

  • when a base ends with a single consonant preceded by a single vowel (e.g., run , skip ), the final consonant doubles when attaching a vowel suffix (e.g., <- ing >, <- er >)

Note: The letters <w >and <x >are never doubled because:

  1. <w >s have already been doubled → <u ><u >“double <u >”
  2. historically <x >was seen as representing two consonants: → <k + s >

The replace marker <e >suffixing convention will be thoroughly explained in Purple, Book 6 “Biking”. Note that in The Insect Hunt, we only include the <-er >suffix in words that do not require replace <e >.

Refer See Page 4 of Morphology Information Background Sheets.


Activity to Try - To Double or Not to Double

  1. Underline the final grapheme and circle the preceding grapheme in each base.

    run + ing

    skip + ing

    jump + ed

    hope + s

    Does the base end in a final consonant preceded by a single vowel?

    Is the suffix a vowel suffix?

  2. Then answer the questions with an x or a Words that double must have both questions checked.
  3. Write a word sum for the word that requires the doubling convention: run n + ing→ running

High Frequency Words

Tips and Activities to Try

  • ”some”

Key Concepts to Understand

  • some / same and come / came are best taught together
  • historically <u >s were written as <v >s and therefore were sometimes replaced with <o >s when beside <m >s (e.g., some would have looked like svм - but more squished together)

Comprehension Corner - The Insect Hunt

Vocabulary Development

  • The author wrote, “The moth’s wings blended in with the trunk of the tree!”
  • Do you know a word that describes this kind of blending?
  • What are some comparing words in the story? (e.g., taller )

Making Connections

  • What insects have you caught? What did you do with them?


  • Why do you think Luke made the rule that they must let the insects go after they catch them?


  • What were all the insects that Luke and Jude found on their hunt?


Tip Sheet written by Shari Kudsia and Helen Maclean - April 2023 - © SyllaSense Inc.