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New Teachers

Science and Reading

Author Post
Hannah Lee Hannah Lee 1525 Points

Hello, I am currently a student in the Education program at my University. When I go out to my field placements I have been having trouble engaging students with reading science topics. What are some creative ways I can capture the attentions of young students to read about science?

Betty Paulsell Betty Paulsell 48560 Points

No matter what grade you are teaching you might want to start by reading some science picture books to students. Show them how enthusiastic you are about reading to them about science. Maybe this will capture their interest in reading more about science topics. One of the classic read aloud science book series is The Magic School Bus. It has been around quite awhile, but still holds the interest of children while teaching them a lot of science concepts.

Tina Harris Tina Harris 65805 Points

Betty is so correct about reading books. It can even work with high school students (as long as it is presented correctly - mine liked Magic Schoolbus, too!). One thing that can definitely get students interested in talking is the use of discrepant events. When students see one, they want to know what and why things happened (and possibly try it themselves!). There are several books/ e-books and a few free chapters in the Learning Center on how to integrate discrepant events into instruction. Once they have seen something interesting in science, they will be more interested in reading about it.

Patrick Mangan Patrick Mangan 110 Points

Science reading in general can be very dry, even for us science people. Maybe if you designed an activity around the reading that required them to focus on it, such as a set of reading comprehension questions, or maybe something a little more fun. You could also try to find a video that could go alongside the reading and help the students make sense of it at the same time. That depends on the reading, though.

Hi Hannah,

You did not mention what level of elementary students you but if it is K-4 level you might like to look at this free resource which is the first chapters of a Picture Perfect book
Why Read Pictures Books in Science Class? (Chapters 1-5)

If you search for Picture Perfect Science you will find lots of resources on this in the LC

BTW - I loved your profile quote !
"I am not a teacher, but an awakener." -Robert Frost

My best, Arlene

Carolyn Mohr Carolyn Mohr 89723 Points

Hi Hannah,
As Arlene said, if you let us know what grade level you are interested in, we can provide more appropriate suggestions. For the middle and secondary level students, I love the Everyday Science Mysteries books by Richard Konicek-Moran. You can purchase individual book chapters as well. Here is one I use when I am teaching periodicity and pendulum movement:
Grandfather's Clock

Barbara Caldwell Barbara Caldwell 5000 Points

I teach ELA as well as science. My students enjoy reading online books about science topics and taking the little quizzes at the end. I have several books from av2books.com.

Janine Fernandez Janine Fernandez 1890 Points

As most of the replies have stated, picture books are a perfect way to engage students when dealing with scientific content. If you are in the lower elementary grades, you can use any of Vicki Cobb's books. They are available for free preview at Harper Collins publishing. You can also use the series: Picture Perfect Science. There are books for K-2, 3-5, and middle school grades. These books are my go to for pretty much any topic in science. Not only do they incorporate picture books, but you can get entire lesson plans using technology and other ideas to engage students.

Brittany Phillips Brittany Phillips 515 Points

Engaging students into science activities can be done easily through the use of science picture books. Also, there are several hands on activities that will immediately engage students into the content. Showing students you are excited about the subject matter will excite them as well. There are so many exciting activities you can do in science, which will almost always lead to an effective, exciting lesson. I enjoy using Pinterest for ideas! Hope this helps.

Stefanie Graban Stefanie Graban 170 Points

I teach high school science. I have found that the best way to engage them in reading is to make it a story. For example, I have a set of stories about the 1918 influenza that I use when I talk about viruses. I don't tell them that it was influenza until the end of the story, so it is sort of like a mystery, "guess the ending" kind of thing. They do get very interested to the point where they argue with each other over what the correct answer is! Science reading is very dry and boring. Who wants to read a bunch of big words that you don't understand? Any way that you can make it more fun is a plus!

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