Subskill: Reading Comprehension
Concept: Facts and Details
Grade Level: Upper Elementary
Yellowstone National Park, the first national park in the world, is a 28,000-square-mile region located in northwestern Wyoming that extends into the neighboring states of Montana and Idaho. In the year 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant signed a law declaring this area a national park in order to protect its unique natural resources. Most of Yellowstone National Park rests on a plateau located within the central Rocky Mountains, which was built up by volcanic action. As a result, this park is famous for its giant geysers, bubbling hot springs, lava formations, waterfalls and canyons. Named for the Yellowstone River that flows through it, Yellowstone National Park is home to one of the greatest wildlife refuges in the world.
Yellowstone has about 200 geysers, but its most famous one is nicknamed “Old Faithful,” because approximately every ninety minutes it erupts and blasts a jet of steam and hot water up as high as 150 feet into the air. The hot springs located in the park help animals to survive the winter by preventing streams and meadows from freezing. For example, this allows a winter habitat for birds that would otherwise have to fly south to warmer weather. The nearly extinct trumpeter swan owes its survival to Yellowstone National Park for this reason. Hunted for their beautiful feathers, trumpeter swans have found refuge here, and now over 600 trumpeter swans are year-round residents. In addition, more than 200 species of birds exist here, including the rare great gray owl, the osprey, white pelican, and bald eagle.
Among the varied animal life of Yellowstone National Park are mammals, such as, elk, bison, moose, coyote, antelope, bear, mountain sheep, and wolves. Grizzly bears are Yellowstone’s most famous animals. They roam the park freely, but rangers work to prevent them from eating garbage out of trash cans because it is dangerous to tourists. The gray wolf was hunted to the point of extinction in the 1940’s because it was thought to be a danger to humans and livestock. In 1994, the National Park Service began a program to slowly introduce the endangered gray wolf back into the park. Today, gray wolves are monitored and protected by scientists.
Although there are numerous rivers, lakes and springs in Yellowstone National Park, only twelve known species of fish live here. The most abundant is the cutthroat trout, which got its name for the red streak under its jaw. It is a primary source of food for many mammals and birds that live in the park.
Yellowstone National Park is not only an area of great natural beauty and abundant wildlife, it is also a place to study volcanic forces and heat flow deep inside the earth. In recognition of its value to people all over the world, Yellowstone National Park has been designated a World Heritage Site.
Here are some questions to ask after listening to the passage:
Where is Yellowstone National Park located?
What erupts out of a geyser?
According to this passage, why don’t park rangers want grizzly bears to eat garbage from trashcans?
How did the cutthroat trout get its name?