3rd Grade Assessment – Unit 2 – RL.3.3, RL.3.1, RL.3.5, RL.3.2
Otter in the Cove
by Miska Miles
1 Maggie sat down near the edge of the low, rocky cliff and baited her hook. The beach was empty. Not even Barnaby was in sight. That dog! Probably sound asleep and snoring under the kitchen table this very minute.
2 Green water frothed beneath her feet, and strings of ropy kelp swung with the waves.
3 Out in the cove, the kelp was yellow-brown, and its big floating bulbs glittered in the morning sunshine. But something was different. Strangely
4 Five small logs floated high on the water. Gray and white sea gulls cruised above them. Puzzled, she sat without moving—waiting.
5 A small herd of otters rocked with the roll of the waves, cradled in blankets of kelp, forepaws folded on their chests.
6 Swiftly, a young brown otter swam toward the still figure on the edge of the cliff.
7 The otter came close. Maggie was almost afraid to breathe. His eyes were dark and unblinking, his round flat nose shining black, whiskers short and stiff. Then he slipped back into the water and was gone.
8 Offshore, the logs came to life. A mother otter floated on her back, her baby curled on her stomach. She curved her body and lifted her head. With her forepaws, she picked up the baby and held it over her shoulder. Two otters wrestled, tumbling over and over.
9 “Dad won’t like this.
10 Maggie dropped her line into the water.
11 The pole jerked and Maggie reeled in the line. A fish flopped up over the rocks. She took the hook from its gill and held the jerking body between her hands.
12 She whistled—coaxingly sweet.
13 Nearby, the otter surfaced.
14 She held the flapping fish and the otter waited.
15 She whistled again—a soft whistle.
16 The otter came closer. Two gulls hovered above him. Maggie tossed the fish toward the otter.
17 A gull dipped, seized the fish, and looped high into the sky. The otter was gone.
18 Maggie waited. And there he was again. This time with a mussel in one paw and a rock in the other.
19 He put the rock on his chest and cracked the mussel against it. Maggie tried to count the staccato clicks of mussel on rock—ten, twenty, thirty sharp quick clicks. And when the food was ready to eat, he held it in his paws, rolled over once, and glided back to his herd.
20 When Maggie caught a second fish, she took it home.
21 Old Barnaby, gray-muzzled and lazy with age, lay near the door. His tail struck the floor in welcome. Maggie reached out with a foot and scratched his back.
22 “Why didn’t you take Barnaby along?” her mother asked.
23 “He wouldn’t go,” Maggie said. “He doesn’t like to run in the sand anymore.”
24 Each day after school, all the following week, Maggie fished and watched.
25 Otters rolled and frolicked in the cove, and in a minute or so, there he was—her otter—with his funny stubby whiskers and his big, dark, round eyes.
26 When Friday afternoon came, she burst into the house and grabbed her fishing pole.
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