Unit Study Ideas for Stellaluna by Janell Cannon

This post is part of the 31 MORE Days of Literature Unit Studies series. You can find all of the links to the thirty-one studies in this post. If you’d like to use these ideas to create your own unit study, this post has step-by-step instructions as well as a free unit study planner. (Want to know more about what, exactly, a unit study is? This post will help.)

While you’re reading and working on your unit study, you can download this free printables pack of graphic organizers for reading. It has a plot chart, venn diagram, KWL chart, two mini book report organizers, a character analysis chart, a plot outline chart, and a reading response sheet where students can record facts while reading.

Stellaluna unit study ideas
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The story of Stellaluna is a sweet one, a story of friendship and diversity. The book makes a great read aloud because there are so many good talking points. There is also the opportunity to launch out on a whole unit study all about bats.

Book Information

Author- Janell Cannon
Recommended ages- PreK-3rd grade
Synopsis- Stellaluna is a small fruit bat. She is much loved by her mother who always assures Stellaluna that she will be there to protect her. Once, however, when Stellaluna’s mother is out hunting for food with the little bat clinging to her, she is attacked by an owl. Stellaluna falls off during the attack and lands in a nest of birds.
Mother Bird quickly agrees to care for Stellaluna, along with her nest of three small birds- Flitter, Flap, and Pip. But, Stellaluna must stop acting like a bat and must learn to act like a bird. When her mother finally comes to find her and take her back to live with the bats, Stellaluna invites her bird friends to come and see how she lives.
Ultimately, Stellaluna realizes that bats and birds are very different, but this doesn’t mean that the two cannot be friends.

Language Arts

VocabularyPrint six sheets of bat templates on card stock. Write twelve vocabulary words from the story on twelve bats and cut them out. Write definitions of the words on the other twelve bats and cut them out. Use the bats to play a memory style game, matching the words and their meanings. You can choose words to fit the age and ability of your children. Younger children could even match simple words for word recognition practice instead of vocabulary.
Sequencing- Print this page and cut the bats apart. Have kids put the cards in the order that the events happened in the story.
Creative writing- Stellaluna was separated from her mother. What would you do if you were separated from your mother in that way? Older kids can write a story about this. Younger kids can dictate and draw a picture.
Making predictions Stellaluna is a good story to be used to teach kids how to make predictions about what will happen. Stop at key places in your reading and let kids predict what will happen next- when Stellaluna falls, when she is told to stop hanging upside down to sleep, etc.
Creative writing– We see what’s happening to Stellaluna after she’s separated from her mother. What do you think is happening with Stellaluna’s mother during this time? Older kids can write a story. Younger kids can dictate a story or draw a picture.
Book report- This free template (must make a free account with Teachers Pay Teachers) will let kids record facts from the book so kids can make a bat shaped book or a mobile craft.


Bats- The bats4kids website has great information about where bats live, what they eat, and more.
BatsIncredible Bats has an interactive page with videos, printables, a bat information quiz, and a bat x-ray.
Bats- Stellaluna and her mother are fruit bats. This page has information- and a printable fact sheet- about fruit bats.
Birds– Stellaluna falls into a bird’s nest and has to act like a bird to fit in. Learn more about birds from this Duckster’s page.
Birds- Learn more about what makes a bird a bird from this Kidzone page.
Compare/contrast- Use this Venn Diagram to compare birds and bats.

Crafts and Fun

Use the free printable on this site to make finger puppets that you can use to retell the story.
With the free printable here, kids can make a mini book about bats.
With these step-by-step instructions, kids can draw a bat.
Bat booklist

Bat-themed Booklist

The Truth About Bats (A Magic School Bus book)
Bats! (Time for Kids Science Scoops, Level 3)

Other Resources

Scholastic has a Soar With Bats interactive site that will let kids explore and make observations about bats as if the are scientists. Although there are two levels, kids need to be able to read and comprehend in order to use the site.
Homeschool Share has a free Stellaluna lapbook.

Don’t miss the other literature units in this series!

Literature unit studies for kids

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