Today I finished Thomas Rockwell's How to Eat Fried Worms with one fourth grade group. For those who do not remember the end of the story, Billy's mom (he is the boy who agreed to eat 15 worms in 15 days) receives a letter from Dr. McGrath, their family physician, telling her of the recent dangers he has discovered about the consumption of worms. Using rather extravagant language, the "doctor" warns her to stop Billy from eating any worms until he returns in two days.
One student exclaimed, "Why wouldn't he just call her if it was that important?"
Another started chuckling. I asked what he found amusing, and he said, "Fulmar."
"You know about fulmar?" I asked.
"Yes. It is a seabird" he told me.
"However did you know about them?" "They were in a book I read called That's Disgusting. They have incredibly oily bodies."
The depth of wide-reading and background knowledge cannot be underestimated.