New essays promote forest literacy


Reading is a crucial skill that we use daily to gain knowledge, understand information, and communicate ideas. In our society, literacy is access. This key life skill opens the door to progress, power, privilege, and opportunity across a lifetime (National Institute for Literacy, 2009).

Teachers, school districts and state officials put intense emphasis on making sure students pass tests that show they are reading at grade-level or above by the end of first grade, and continue to develop grade-level reading skills throughout their school careers.

There’s no doubt reading is important. But what’s the forestry connection? The beautiful thing about teaching reading is that you can teach other subjects while you’re at it.

That’s the idea behind 50 one-page essays OFRI has created: First, we wanted to create a literacy tool teachers can use to give students necessary reading and comprehension practice. And at the same time, we wanted to help open students’ eyes to Oregon’s vast and amazing forests.

OFRI contracted with curriculum experts to write essays appropriate to different grade levels. Then we had scientists and foresters review them for accuracy. The essays cover everything from the role of slugs to the story of David Douglas and the Douglas-fir. Each reading includes questions to gauge comprehension. And the essays are grouped by grade level, with one downloadable PDF for each grade from second to eighth, plus a few additional essays for grades nine to 11 in one file.

To access these dual-purpose essays, go to this page and click on “Publications” in the left column. Scroll down to “Forest Literacy Readings” and select the right one for your needs.


9755 SW Barnes Rd., Suite 210        
Portland, OR 97225        
Phone: 971-673-2944        
Fax: 971-673-2946

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