The Butterfly House by Eve Bunting is a beautiful, heart-warming story of a girl who rescues a caterpillar and how she and her grandfather build a butterfly house to care for it.  

This is one of those rare treasures (like so many of Eve Bunting's books) that I read every. single. year!

How to Use it in Your Classroom

I use this story during my butterfly unit.  It has the perfect blend of a narrative as well as facts about the painted lady butterflies.

BEFORE READING: Making Predictions & Accessing Schema


Before I even open the book, I like to invite the students to enjoy looking at the cover and making observations. This is the perfect time to encourage children to make predictions about the story.
A prediction is a smart guess about what may happen after looking at clues.
Ask leading questions:
  • What do you predict the story will be about?
  • What on the cover makes you think that?


Next, access your students' prior knowledge – schema.
Prior Knowledge (schema) is what we already know about a topic.
Ask some open-ended questions:
  • What do they already know about butterflies?
  • You might want to use the ‘Predictions & Schema' page from the (free) book companion. (Find it below)

DURING READING: Making Inferences

While reading the story, pause and invite your students to make inferences about the story.

An inference is a reasonable guess we make about the meaning when we take clues from a text and add what we already know about a topic (background knowledge).

Some questions to encourage inferencing:

  • What would the jay have done to the ‘small creature'?
  • Where does the grandfather live?
  • Where is the girl at the end of the story?

You may want to fill out the ‘Making Inferences' graphic organizer with your students as you read the book.  I like to do it as a group so that the students can express themselves verbally as they practice making inferences.


AFTER READING: Extending Learning

This story lends itself beautifully to the further investigation of the life cycle of the butterfly.  I have included a cute little flap book and life cycle cards to use to teach and review the life cycle of the butterfly in the FREE packet (see below).

These life cycle cards are perfect to review the life cycle of the butterfly.  They have real photos of each stage of the butterfly's life.

Your students will love making this flip book!

When I was teaching, I would read this story on the last day of school.  I told my little sweeties that they were like those caterpillars – I had tried my best to care for them and teach them what they needed to flutter into life!  (WARNING: you may have some tears.)  
Then I said that I was like the girl, now older, who would love for them to come back to me in the years to come and tell me all the amazing things that are happening in their lives – and many of them do! 

And they tell me that raising butterflies and hatching chicks were their favorite school memories.

Additional Activities & Resources

If you would like additional resources to teach the life cycle of the butterfly, check out my butterfly unit, filled with science and literacy resources and activities.

Just fill out the form below and I will send you the FREE Book Companion.


My name is Peggy Means. I am a child of God and a retired elementary teacher. I loved teaching and creating engaging resources for my students. Now, I love sharing my resources and ideas with busy teachers around the world.

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