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Elementary Science

What Children's Books Do You Use in Science Istruction?

Author Post
Kathy Renfrew Kathy Renfrew 37248 Points

When I teach a force and motion unit I usually use 'Sheep in A Jeep' as an introductory book to force.

Another book is Forces Make Things Move. Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. HarperCollins, 2005.Bradley makes abstract concepts relatable to everyday experiences: forces, reactions, inertia, friction and gravity. Read-aloud 1st-3rd grade

Karina Alcala Karina Alcala 1550 Points

When I was teaching my lesson. For the teaching I used the same book "Force makes things move" by Kimberly. I really the book and it cover a lot about force. I would really recommend this book for the teachers that are focusing on force.

Carlos Castillo CARLOS CASTILLO 720 Points

thanks for the information, very helpful

Arlynn Guerrero Arlynn Guerrero 515 Points

Thank you for the recommendations Kathy!


Maureen Stover Maureen Stover 41070 Points

Hi Kathy,

Pairing and science and literacy to teach science is one of my favorite cross-curricular ties. Here are some of the books I use:
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (life cycles)
Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me by Eric Carle (moon phases)
Armadillo Ray by John Beifuss (moon)
The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle (seeds and plants)
Where do the Puddles Go? by Fay Robinson (water)
Stone Soup by Heather Forest (sink and float)
My Shadow By Robert Louis Stevenson (light and shadow)

Theses are just a few of the books that I use when introducing new concepts. I also really like the Picture Perfect Science Lessons series.

I recently noticed that NSTA press has a new book, Teaching Science Through Trade Books. I haven't had a chance to read this book yet, but it's on my summer reading list. Has anyone else read this book yet?


Kevin Podeweltz Kevin Podeweltz 3235 Points

I've gotten many ideas from the Teaching Science with Tradebooks. We do a school forest trip to make Maple Syrup, so we use Sugarbush Spring and Grandpa's Sugarbush In Children & Science they have a picture book part each month... learned about Electrical Wizard from there. It's about Nikola Tesla and making electricity.

Angie Kennedy Angie Kennedy 1055 Points

Thanks for sharing such great information! I teach 4th grade reading and will be adding science to my teaching content this year. Love including literature in other subjects!

Jamie Wilder Jamie Wilder 1315 Points

Your post was very helpful! I love the idea of including literacy in every subject and lesson. I am in school now to become an elementary school teacher and want to collect as much resources as I can and many different ideas. These books are definitely something I will look into and possibly use in my own classroom! Anything else you could recommend will always be helpful.

Halle Moshier Halle Moshier 2835 Points

Hi Maureen, Thank you for putting a list of good books to use for lessons in science. It is a good way to tie in literacy while also learning about science. Would you recommend using a book to introduce science lessons to students? Or are there other ways that you would prefer rather than reading a book? Thank you! Halle

Julie Bentley Julie Bentley 4010 Points

Good evening Maureen, Thank you for listing those books for science. I have heard of a few of them, especially from when I was young and one book was actually introduced to me during my science methods course. Now that I think of it, science can truly easily be integrated into the classroom...especially through literacy. I am a literacy minor at my university and I am definitely from now on going to look more into science books for students that I continue to work with. I took note of the books you listed above, they will benefit and make great resources for me as a student teacher and soon to be classroom teacher! A couple questions for you, was there a book that your students absolutely loved? As a teacher have you always tried to tie in science in some content area? Thanks for that great list of books! It sounds like you are integrating science beautifully! Julie

Carolyn Mohr Carolyn Mohr 92316 Points

I agree, Maureen. The Picture-Perfect Science Lesson series (both of them: k-4 and 3-6) make it so easy to integrate fiction and non-fiction books with science lessons. I use the two books suggested by the Picture-Perfect Lesson on Classification, Dichotomous Keys, Shells and Arthropods, Name That Shell:
Seashells by the Seashore
Author Marianne Berkes - I found this one in my local library.
A House for Hermit Crab
Author Eric Carle - This one is at everyone's library.


Carlos Castillo CARLOS CASTILLO 720 Points

I also agree with you Carolyn, thanks

Kathy Renfrew Kathy Renfrew 37248 Points

I have also begun to use some of this year's NSTA Outstanding Trade Books.

The Watcher by Jeanette Winter. I use this book as a way to introduce observation, the importance of recording data, perseverance ( Mathematical practice#1 ) as well a book that demonstrates how everyday people can become scientists.
Butterflies by Seymour Simon This book is about life cycles and adaptations of butterflies.
Even an Octopus Needs a Home Irene Kelly An aawesome picture book about animals and their habitats. intriguing illustrations.

I am attaching a brief powerpoint about the Watcher. When I gave this presentation, I started with a read aloud, where I was thinking aloud, and asking some of the higher level questions i would be asking K-1 students. Please feel free to ask questions and I will respond the best I can.



The_Watcher.pptx (1.28 Mb)

Frieda Lamprecht Frieda Lamprecht 1555 Points

Thanks for always posting information that we can all use immediately! Love your heart to share! I just ordered this book and will use it in my life science workshops with primary teachers.

Caryn Meirs Caryn Meirs 26235 Points

Kathy - thank you for posting this question - it will be great to go book shopping with the suggestions that everyone gives! Two books that I used for the first time this year with really great results: Poles Apart: Why Penguins and Polar Bears will Never Be Neighbors by Elaine Scott and Curious Critters (which I think is on the NSTA recommends list this year) by David FitzSimmons.

Amanda Lizano Amanda Lizano 2745 Points

Although I'm not an official teacher (yet!), I've used Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett for 2nd-3rd grade through my field experience. It seems a little wacky but the kids reinforce the idea of precipitation as something falling from the sky. We go through the book again for sequence of events and relate it to what kinds of weather we experience here (in FL) and then some different types around the nation/world. They take the figurative meaning not actual food falling from the sky but heaps of different things falling. We also did measurements of rainfall and even collected hail and analyzed it where students made observations and did a mini 5E lab on why they believe hail forms based on what they have already learned about weather and how it forms.

Kathy Renfrew Kathy Renfrew 37248 Points

Amanda, I love Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and I used it in Morning Meeting to introduce the study of precipitation to my 5th & 6th graders. Yup... I would do it again, but my next move beyond gathering precipitation , etc. would be to introduce informational text about precipitation. It might be newspaper article about the effects of the heavy rains on the already full streams and rivers. This informational text might very well be abovr their reading level but by doing "close reading" instruction with the students they would be able to read and comprehend it independently. Oooops, I am off topic a little... Maybe I will repost this in a different thread. Kathy

Edith Flores Edith Flores 1360 Points

I found a great one for any classroom, "Q if for Quark: A Science Alphabet Book" by D.M. Schartz. It is a great resource to have in your classroom library. Edie

Melissa Lopez Melissa Lopez 2280 Points

This forum is great! So many books to help introduce and enhance student learning. I like the last post that mentioned the science alphabet books. I think themed alphabet books are great, and for the younger students they can be introduced to concepts of science by learning some vocabulary. I also like the idea of using the book "Cloudy with a chance of meatballs". I think that book would be a good introduction to nutrition or weather patterns. I have found the book "Flash, Crash, Rumble And Roll" by Franklyn M. Branley, to be helpful in previous classrooms. This book goes into lightning and thunder and all of the details that go into how and why it happens.

Marie Jean Marie Jean 3545 Points

I enjoy reading the comments you guys make about the different books to use in science instructions. I've read some of those books myself and I see how they can be use in a science classroom. I actually did a lesson plan with the Very Hungry Caterpillar with a 2nd grader and he loved it. To introduce the lesson We spoke about the life cycle of the butterfly and then we read the book. This was actually a language art lesson that I wanted to incorporate science in. The student loved it and I loved the reaction that I got from it. I really like this forum and will continue to follow. Please update more information on books and how we can use them in science lessons.

Carolyn Mohr Carolyn Mohr 92316 Points

Hi Marie Jean and other posters to this thread.
I thought you might be interested in this URL that has all of the Outstanding Science Tradebooks for K-12 that have been published between 1996 to 2012 - that's 11 years' worth!

Kathy Renfrew Kathy Renfrew 37248 Points

I want to say 'Ditto' t Carolyn's post. I am honored to been chosen to be on this committee. I was involved in choosing last year's book and I am currently immersed in candidates for the 2012 list.

Three of my favorites are:

? Far From Shore: Chronicles of an Open Ocean Voyage. Sophie Webb. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
80pp. Trade ISBN 978-0-618-59729-1,$17.99. (4–8) What a wonderful way
to introduce science notebooks to students! This book tells the story of
an ocean journey from the scientist’s perspective using text, watercolors,
and other pertinent information. Glossary, Index. (KAR ) II, VIII

About Hummingbirds: A Guide for Children. Cathryn Sill. Illustrated by John Sill. Peachtree Publishers.48pp. Trade ISBN 978-1-56145-588-1, $16.95. (K–2) Reading About Hummingbirds is a wonderful way for young children to be introduced to these intriguing birds. Clear, sharp illustrations next to short but complex sentences about the hummingbirds invite the reader. Afterword, Glossary,Suggestions for further reading and additional resources. (KAR) IV

The Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life with the Chimps. Jeanette Winter.Schwartz & Wade. 48pp. Trade ISBN978-0-375-86774-3, $17.99. Library ISBN 978-0-375-96774-0, $20.99. (K–3) The book clearly depicts observation as one of the critical skills of inquiry. Observation is
introduced through a description of Jane watching, listening and becoming accepted by the chimps. Jane kept notes about all the work she did with the chimps. Author’s Note (KAR) II

What books are others currently using in classroom instruction?


P.S. You can find other 2011 Outstanding Science Trade Books in the Science & Children March issue. Outstanding Science Trade Books

Michael Leslie Michael Leslie 2110 Points

A good book that I read to my students when we begin our lessons on the Solar system is "Postcards from Mars" It might be a little lower level than what my students are use to reading but it gives a goos simple introduction to the different planets of the solar system as well as a good introduction to the lesson of each student making their own post card about a planet. This student made post card has the students research facts about their assigned planet and create a postcard for a family member who will travel there shortly. It's a goos segway to the more meaty topics of the solar system and an overall fun activity for the students.

Kyle Nakamoto Kyle Nakamoto 1560 Points

Reading your posts get me thinking in terms of a learner. "What would a sixth grader want to do?" Totally hands on, building stuff, watching cool videos and competition. If you could eat it that is a bonus. I have used as a great intro tool to teach terms and ideas as well as integrated building towers and simple chemical reactions in my career as a teacher. I would love other ideas and lessons that meet this criteria. tower, bridge building, robotics kind of stuff without too much of reliance on bought materials. The internet is so broad, I have a hard time sifting through and choosing appropriate standards based activities which are fun as well as useful.

Jennifer M Tanko Jennifer M Tanko 2190 Points

Depending on the age, Magic School Bus is an obvious but effective series. I'm currently a pre-teacher (pre-internship, for that matter) but that series was a favorite of mine and was partly responsible for the fact that science was my favorite subject. I've used these books in tutoring experiences and they do a wonderful job of relating large-scale concepts to students' experiences.

Sherrilyn Sampaia Sherrilyn Sampaia 550 Points

One picture book that can be used as a start off introduction to science process skills and keeping a science journal is Nature in the Neighborhood by G. Morrison. Introduce the book by asking text complexity questions such as what is going on in this picture? Tell students to look for evidence. Then, ask students if they have any questions about what they see or wonder about. Continue reading and answer those questions from the text. Then, take a field trip outside and have students sketch something of interest to them and make observations. Have them ask questions about what they see. They can record the date, time, and weather too. Back in class, tell them that sometimes we still have some unanswered questions that we need to find out for ourselves. Brainstorm ways to learn more about the I wonders. I like to use this picture book and activity to introduce inquiry skill, journaling, and using nature as science.

Betty Paulsell Betty Paulsell 48560 Points


I agree with you....The Magic School Bus series is one of my favorites. I know it was written for primary grade children, but my sixth graders loved it too. The first time I got it out they laughed and wondered what I was doing with a picture book. But then they decided they were fun after all even in sixth grade!! Sneaky way to get them to listen and learn!!

Caryn Meirs Caryn Meirs 26235 Points

I have just begun experimenting with the use of a document camera to get science books in front of all of my kids in a way that makes them more interactive. For me it works best with e-books on the ipad. I have the "board tools" application for Smart Boards installed on my computer and even though I do not have an interactive white board - I can use the features such as shading (looks like a roll up blind) to cover over illustrations so students focus on the text, or use the highlighter to emphasize a particular passage. Does anyone else use their books in conjunction with some sort of classroom technology?

Maureen Stover Maureen Stover 41070 Points

Caryn, I also like to use e-books when I can, but many of the books that I use are the "old-fashioned" kind ;). I really like to use the document camera to display the books so the entire class can easily see the words and pictures. Before I got the document camera, I'd always have kids who said they couldn't see, ask me to go back because they missed the picture, etc. Not a huge classroom management issue, but it is nice that I can seamlessly incorporate books into my lessons. Maureen

Kris Shimizu Kris Shimizu 350 Points

While introducing the EDP (Engineering Design Process) we had our kindergarteners design a house for the fourth little piggy. The student's job was to design a house strong enough to withstand the breath of the big bad wolf (a fan). Materials such as cardboard, foil, straws, craft sticks, tape, glue, etc...were provided to the students to build a house. A good book to use with this lesson is "The Fourth Little Pig" by: Teresa Noel Celsi I also like using Gail Gibbons books for science because of the wonderful illustrations that help students to visualize and organize what they are learning.

Jonelle Renti Cruz Jonelle Renti Cruz 615 Points

I teach 5th grade, and I've used Weather Science Fair Projects by Robert Gardner. It has easy to demonstrate and assemble projects that are easy for elementary students to understand. Also, there are great illustrations in it.

Caryn Meirs Caryn Meirs 26235 Points

In the last issue of NSTA Reports there was an article about Outdoor Classrooms. The article made mention of three wonderful trade books: Seeds, Stems and Stamens by Susan Goldman, Ten Seeds by Ruth Brown and The Ink Garden of Brother Theophane. In tracking these resources down for my own collection. I came across this awesome website called Great Kids Books. Every Monday they review nonfiction books - check it out!

Kathy Renfrew Kathy Renfrew 37248 Points

I have spent the last two days working in a 3rd and 4th grade science classroom working with students around Loree Griffin Burns book " Citizen Science" In all the classes we began by looking at the cover and figuring out what the author and illustrator was trying to tell us. As the students responded,I asked them what on the cover was supporting their answer. Next I tried to come up operational definition of a citizen scientist. Then I read the book out loud , stopping to ask text-dependent questions. With the 4th grade this led into a investigation about birds, beaks, and their foods. With the 3rd grade we worked with complex text and text dependent questions leading into a short writing piece. This will be presented in San Antonio. To be continued......

Carolyn Mohr Carolyn Mohr 92316 Points

How exciting it will be to get to attend the San Antonio conference, Kathy! I noticed that in the March issue of Science and Children that the List of Tradebooks for 2012 is out.
Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students k-12: Books Published in 2012

Jonelle Renti Cruz Jonelle Renti Cruz 615 Points

I teach 5th grade, and when we had to do research on alternative energy sources, I found this great series of energy books. It's called the Library of Future Energy series. They have great pictures, background information, and text that is simple enough to understand. The site says that it's 5th grade level text but can definitely be used for older students too.

This site has a picture and the titles of the books: Your text to link here...

Sherrilyn Sampaia Sherrilyn Sampaia 550 Points

I agree that picture books are a great way to reach diverse learners. I am currently doing a unit on life cycles and I like to read both fiction and non fiction genres. I read the Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle to teach the life cycle of a butterfly using children's literature. The Kids are very enthusiastic and familiar with this author. I also use on line children's literature on PBS Kids. To teach constellations I used Jay Jay the Jet Plane.

Courtney Fullmer Courtney Fullmer 340 Points

There are soooo many wonderful books out there to teach science! Before I list off a whole bunch of awesome books, I must say that not only do I but my students love Sid the Science Kid. Whenever we have indoor recess, we turn on PBS and the students get a great science lesson. Does anyone else use Sid the Science Kid for instruction? Anyway, here in Hawaii we don't get much variation in our weather! So, one of the books we read is called "When a Storm Comes Up" and it talks about all different types of storms and vocabulary that not many students are familiar with, such as sleet and they think it's so awesome!!! Here are some other books that I use: My 5 Senses S is for Scientists The Hungry Caterpillar The Tiny Seed What is Science? The Lorax Colours Living Color A Tree for All Seasons M is for Melody: A Music Alphabet The Magic School Bus Inside the Human Body And the list goes on, this is all I could think of off the top of my head!

Kathy Renfrew Kathy Renfrew 37248 Points

Carolyn, Thank you for posting the link to the Outstanding Trade books. There are at least 2 sessions that I know of happening in San Antonio. One is during the Elementary Extravaganza. During that session Presidential Awardees In Science will be sharing they have created. Last week I piloted a few lessons I created around Loree Griffin Burns "Citizen Scientist". After using it with students, I am currently revising that lesson. Next week I will be working on Rachel Carson and Her Book that Changed the World. I can hardly wait to try out some of the lessons. They will be posted on the conference site. Kathy

Jonelle Renti Cruz Jonelle Renti Cruz 615 Points

Hi there. Books are such great resources. This is the book I've been using to teach about the solar system: 13 Planets: The Latest View of the Solar System by David A. Guilar. There are also great articles in Kids' Discover Magazine.

Lilian Franklin Lilian Franklin 945 Points

Hello all, I enjoyed reading through your lists and seeing books and resources I have loved incorporating into my own learning activities (e.g., The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Sid the Science Kid) and found some titles that I am excited to read and discover (e.g., Q is for Quark: A Science Alphabet Book). Literature is definitely a wonderful way to introduce, supplement, and connect science concepts to each other and to other subject areas. I recently completed a unit with my preschool students about taking care of our planet and I especially loved two books that I shared with them. The first, The Busy Tree by Jennifer Ward, describes a tree's activity from its roots to its branches. My little ones saw how the tree provides so much for so many -- from chipmunks eating acorns, ants lined up on the trunk, spiders spinning webs, and leaves breathing out air for all to breathe in. The second book, [i]Our Tree Named Steve[i] by Alan Zweibel, shows a tree as a member of a family. The tree has grown up with the children and been there for its family throughout the years. Through these titles, we touched on concepts like the interdependence of life (e.g., tree providing food and oxygen), life cycles (e.g., tree, animals, people), and the many uses of trees (e.g., home for animals, food, shade, play, etc.). Both books show how important our environment is in ways that young learners can relate to and why taking care of our natural resources is very important. I definitely suggest everyone reading these titles because all ages would enjoy them.

Kathy Renfrew Kathy Renfrew 37248 Points

I have been thinking about implementing the science & engineering practices of the Next Generation Science Standards and one book that came to mind is "Firebug Connection" by Jean Craighead George. [i]Book Description Publication Date: Feb 1 2000 | Series: Ecological Mysteries "When a raven, flies at you, there will, be a murder." That's what Maggie's grandmother once told her, and the longer twelve-year-old Maggie stays with her parents at the Biological Research Station--or Bug Camp, as she calls it--the more she believes it. Soon after a raven's appearance, something strange happens to Maggie's beautiful new fire bugs. Instead of molting into the next stage, the bugs grow grotesquely large and seem to be doomed. Is global warming the culprit? Acid rain? Or...murder? One thing is certain--it's an eco mystery, and Maggie, with the help of Mitch, a young computer whiz, must try to track down the killer.In this environmental whodunit, 12-year-old Maggie can't figure out why her exotic and beautiful new fire bugs are dying so suddenly. Is it global warming, acid rain, or murder? With the help a young computer whiz, Maggie tracks down each ecological clue in a mystery that is ‘fascinating and (especially for budding naturalists) inspiring.''K. [/i] Maggie, the main character uses many of the scientific and engineering practices of NGSS. There are eight practices: 1.[i] Asking questions (for science)[/i] and defining problems (for engineering) 2. Developing and using models 3. [i]Planning and carrying out investigations[/i] 4. Analyzing and interpreting data 5. Using mathematics and computational thinking 6. [i]Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)[/i] 7. Engaging in argument from evidence 8. [i]Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information[/i] I have identified the science & engineering practices, I know are utilized in this ecological mystery. If I was going to use this as part of a science unit, I would go looking for some pieces of complex informational text so that I could address Common Core State Standards at the same time. Thoughts? Kathy

Stephanie Fox Stephanie Fox 2550 Points

This was a great forum!! I am most certainly looking for book recommendations. I will be sure to pass along this information. It is so important to read to the elementary age group and sometimes reading a book as your warm-up/introduction to the topic can make it so much more fun for them.

Carmen Cruz Carmen Cruz 2125 Points

"The boy and the airplane" is a great inferencing book and can be tied into force and motion.

Carmen Cruz Carmen Cruz 2125 Points

" Oscar and the Bird" great book for electricity!

Carmen Cruz Carmen Cruz 2125 Points

"Oscar and the bat" great book to teach sound energy!

Carmen Cruz Carmen Cruz 2125 Points

"Angela's Airplane" you can teach sequencing and the forces required for flight!

Kathy Renfrew Kathy Renfrew 37248 Points

How about the book Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World? This was one of last year's Outstanding Science Trade Books. I used the lessons I am attaching with a group of 3rd graders but it could certainly be used through grade 5.
It includes work with close reading. I think it is heading in the right direction.

Hope people find this helpful.

Paula Taylor Paula Taylor 4005 Points

Hello everyone, Great forum! I really enjoyed reading all your posts and book recommendations. My book recommendation is Bartholomew and the Oobleck, by Dr. Seuss. It is cleverly written and is a perfect fit for discussing the different states of matter and the concept of suspension. A definite must in a third grade science classroom.

Janyce Delgado Janyce Delgado 1465 Points

Hello there! There are so many book recommendations I can use when I become a teacher. As of now I am a pre-service teacher and all these good examples are really giving me wonderful ideas. Thank you for all your posts. In the school I go to do my hours, the teacher read to the students The Snowy Day by Erza Jack Keats. It shows students about temperature and just in time for the upcoming of winter. It’s a good children’s book. I recommend for grades K-2.

Jessica Herrera Jessica Castro 1015 Points

Hello, There is one book that, although I have not personally read, I wanted to suggest because I have heard several teachers talk about it. It is called Rachel Carson and Her Book that Changed the World by Laurie Lawlor.Rachel Carson. For you convenience I have copied and pasted the synopsis I found onlinebelow. I hope this helps A biologist and environmentalist, wrote Silent Spring, a game-changing book that pointed out the dangerous effects of chemicals on the living world. Lawlor's exploration of Silent Spring conveys the importance of the work and the impact of Carson's message. Baltimore, Md.: Holiday House Publishers, 2012, 32 pages. Best, Jessica Castro Herrera

Kathy Renfrew Kathy Renfrew 37248 Points

Jessica, I shared lessons written for the book you mentioned just a few posts up. Kathy

Lisa Liss Lisa Liss 230 Points

Although they seem to be early childhood books, Jerry Pallota has a bunch of ABC books that are higher level Science books. The Extinct Alphabet Book is great to delve into for some awesome animals. Jerry has cool hidden pictures on the pages too, Elvis....

Patti Schaefer Patricia Schaefer 2435 Points

If you are looking for help in selecting books on particular topics, a great resource you should consider is the Cooperative Children's Book Center (for K-12 and more), part of the University of Wisconsin School of Education. They publish lists each year on the best books and organize their lists by topic. Their lists are available online. Many teachers I work with use them as a reference to find new titles on topics they are teaching and then work with their school librarian (or local public libraries) to attain the books.

Samantha Coyle Samantha Coyle 2245 Points

If this is as great as you make it sound, I can't wait to check it out. It might help me save time searching for books. The hard part may just be in attaining them. Thank you for sharing this resource.

Kaye Hagler Kaye Hagler 20 Points

Activities and book suggestions for this topic and other key areas can be found in Inquire, Investigate, Integrate: K-2 Science Connections, published by Capstone Press and available on Amazon.

Pamela Auburn Pamela Auburn 68625 Points

Has anyone mentioned Picture Perfect Science
i also found a list or two on GoodReads
Silver Birch Prize Winners
Picture Books about the Environment
Sea Animals

Kathy Renfrew Kathy Renfrew 37248 Points

I love this topic but I think we need to be careful not to lose the science to the literacyaccidentally

We need to remember our purpose is to teach the science standards, NGSS or the standards you are using. The informational text is used to help the students understand the science concepts better.

A bonus might be that we are usually able to meet Common Core literacy standards but it is not a given every time we use literacy in science class.


Frieda Lamprecht Frieda Lamprecht 1555 Points

I agree, it is not the reading to replace the science, the reading and writing should enhance and develop the concepts and vocabulary and enable the students to use language to explain what they are investigating.

 Stephanie Coy 1720 Points

I am a first year teacher and don't have a huge library; so I look at the theme of each of my books to see what science content I can pull from each. There is a little in each book at times.

Katherine Hogan Katherine Hogan 350 Points

Stephanie, you use the same word I do, too: to pull the science from the story. I think the Berenstain Bears is a great series for this because there are so many activities they're involved in. Kathy

Mary Clare Fields Mary Clare Fields 2480 Points

What a great resource, appreciated the link to the Outstanding Science Trade Books! These will come in handy on a project I am working on with my fellow teacher candidates as well as when I plan lessons in my future classroom!

Kathy Renfrew Kathy Renfrew 37248 Points

One of this year's Outstanding Trade Books, Electrical Wizard will be be the focus of my workshop on Sunday morning in Boston. I hope to see some of the Learning Center readers & writers.

Check it out Electrical Wizard

This is a awesome book to use as part of your energy unit. Great connection to energy transfer.

Dennishia Bailey Dennishia Bailey 1300 Points

“The Magic School Bus: Ups and Downs a Book About Floating and Sinking” is a good book to use for teaching density/ floating and sinking. You can even find the episode of the show online.

Samantha Coyle Samantha Coyle 2245 Points

Magic School Bus books can be hard to do whole group I feel, just because there is so much going on - the story, comversation bubbles, etc. It might be a great choice for a classroom library to support the topic, depending on your students and their reading levels.

Peggy Ashbrook Margaret Ashbrook 10973 Points

I agree with you Samantha, that all the wonderful details in the Magic School Bus series tend to be lost in reading aloud to a large group. I often see the paperback versions for sale in community book sales. What do you all think? Would having multiple copies for small groups of several children to gather around while the book is being read be successful?

Kim Bautista Kim Bautista 950 Points

National Geographic has published a number of excellent children's science books in recent years. I agree with others, it is important not to dilute the science concepts in the literacy, too. :-)

Mireya Alvarado Mireya Alvarado 1455 Points

For one of my classes I had to find books or articles that can be used to teach different lessons some of the books I found were: Pluto Visits Earth!- By: Steve Metzger Meet the Planets- By: John Mc Granaghan Planets around the sun- By: Seymour Simon The Teeny Weeny Tadpole-By: Sheridan Cain The Very Hungry Caterpillar- By: Eric Carle The Life Cycle of a Flower- By: Bobbie Kalman Animal Life cycle: Growing and Changing- By: Bobbie Kalman

Michelle Diosa Michelle Diosa 435 Points

This is very helpful! Thank you so much for sharing!

Samantha Coyle Samantha Coyle 2245 Points

Tiny Seed is another Eric Carle book that connects well with science. Dealing with plant seeds traveling and growing into new plants. I personally connected it to the needs of a plant, which we tied in to a song I found on YouTube. I can't remember what it was called, but I remember it said "For a plant to stay alive, it needs 5 things, I would not lie." My kindergarten students seemed to enjoy it - but it was stuck in my head forever since I had to learn it to teach it!

Elizabeth Ruiz Elizabeth Ruiz 1035 Points

all of these books sound great! I am currently a student teacher, but I will definitely be using these books in my future classroom! Thanks for sharing!

Peggy Ashbrook Margaret Ashbrook 10973 Points

Such good suggestions of book titles and places to find more! Fortunately by Remy Charlip, is a great book for getting children started thinking about what will happen next, noticing patterns and asking questions. After reading it, you can follow up by asking the children if things turned out the way they thought it would (spoiler alert—it has a happy ending). Reading books aloud, especially those that allow children to predict what might happen next, or what a character is thinking, give children practice in coming up with questions and ownership in voicing them. It gives us adults practice too, in allowing enough “wait time” for children to to formulate their thoughts. We can encourage participation by making it clear that we want the children to make the predictions and that we will respect and accept all (polite) answers (and not provide any).

Frieda Lamprecht Frieda Lamprecht 1555 Points

Have you looked through the books in, Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12? There are some great new books. I used Lola Schaefer books, (She is a writing consultant and they are beautifully written too.) Eco-mysteries from Jean Craighead George. (Students read in Lit. Circles, then wrote their own as they were studying ecosystems in science.)

Conna Rech Conna Rech 690 Points

Einstein Anderson, Science Sleuth by Seymour Simon is a wonderful series of chapter books. I've used them as guided reading books and the kids do the experiments at the end of each chapter at home and bring in their science logs to share with the groups, along with pictures of them working on the experiments. Very engaging!

Samantha Coyle Samantha Coyle 2245 Points

"Do You Know Which Ones Will Grow" by Susan Shea is one of my favorites for using during a living and non living unit. It has a pattern to it, and it has interactive flaps. It worked great in a kindergarten classroom, and it helped them practice with the concept. I used it after explaining how to tell if something is living, and the characteristics.

Peggy Ashbrook Margaret Ashbrook 10973 Points

The illustrations and rhyming are great! What definition of "grow" do you discuss with the children before reading the book, since none is included in the book? Do children ever say, "Yes, a stool can grow and become a chair if you build a back on to it?" Do children have misconceptions about biological growth?

Wendy Ferris Wendy Ferris 630 Points

Peggy, I once had a 4th grader who said that rocks grow so they are living things. When I asked him what his evidence was that rocks grow, he said because there are big rocks and there are small rocks. After thinking for a minute that he was dumb as a rock, I realized that this could make sense to a child. Luckily, some other kids started to explain to him that rocks shrink and this started a very interesting conversation. Eventually we were able to start hearing some scientific vocabulary like erosion and it was all good.

Samantha Coyle Samantha Coyle 2245 Points

Surprisingly, none of my children had any issues with this book. They understood that a stool does not grow like humans do. While the book revolves around things growing, our lesson was actually about if something is living or non-living. Before reading the book, I had put together a little kindergarten friendly PowerPoint to introduce the topic, and then we tried to figure out how do we know if something is living (I had not yet told them, just simply asked them "Is this living or non-living?"). We made an anchor chart where they called out what they thought was living. Then we went over the criteria and tested their items (i.e. a ball doesn't need food and water, so we marked it out; a lion needs food and water so it got a check mark). We checked each item and made sure they met all the criteria if they were living. The book was just a little practice after we had learned it all. They gave a silent thumbs up or down if they thought something would grow, and therefore was living. Afterwards, they drew their favorite living and nonliving object, which some got to share with the class. I felt this lesson went really well for kindergartners, the only thing I did not address in this particular lesson was that of whether plants are living or nonliving.

Peggy Ashbrook Margaret Ashbrook 10973 Points

Thank you for the details Samantha! By including discussion of growth--a criteria for life--in a discussion of living vs non-living, the children got to analyze their evidence.

Tracey Williams Tracey Williams 1750 Points

This is great reading. I am finding books to suggest to our K-3 teachers who are being asked to teach scienceas part of their reading block. As a fifth grade teacher I know that science background makes a huge difference in my students engagement and learning. I love having suggestions to share to help our busy teachers include science. Loved The Watcher and the power point.

Tracey Williams Tracey Williams 1750 Points

This is great reading. I am finding books to suggest to our K-3 teachers who are being asked to teach scienceas part of their reading block. As a fifth grade teacher I know that science background makes a huge difference in my students engagement and learning. I love having suggestions to share to help our busy teachers include science. Loved The Watcher and the power point.

Wendy Ferris Wendy Ferris 630 Points

I'm so glad you asked this question. I teach 5th grade too and will be checking back to look for the ideas people provide for you. I also provide professional development to help elementary teachers connect science lessons to the ELA Common Core. The lesson I model with is about water pollution and keeping our water sources clean because it is very difficult and costly to clean it. It is connected to the third grade modules in NY state and we do an investigation where we provide a bunch of materials for students to create a system for cleaning polluted water. We read a portion of the book "One Well" which talks about the pollutants that end up in the water and as we read they add pollutants into a tub of clean water. The book is great for any water topic. Beautiful pictures and very informative.

Heather Brown Heather Brown 2125 Points

I love that someone has posted this! I am in a 5th grade class placement for my internship and found that the children seem to get board from just reading nothing but research type articles. I fear that the kids would get board of the content, or feel discouraged because most of the articles are too hard for them to read. I think that by using some of these suggestions (especially the one with Pluto) can really bring some life back into the lessons as well as differentiating reading materials for some of the struggling readers. I will for sure keep checking this, and hopefully can provide some of my own recommendations for others.

Karen Ventura Karen Ventura 990 Points

This was extremely helpful. Thanks everyone!

Thora Ansell Thora Ansell 1175 Points

A great introductory resource to teach 2nd graders about the ocean (ecosystem) is the book- Down, Down, Down: A Journey to the Bottom of the Sea Hardcover by Steve Jenkins. available on amazon-

Frieda Lamprecht Frieda Lamprecht 1555 Points

Thanks for sharing!

Ashley Morrison Ashley Morrison 1675 Points

I love using books to teach other subjects because it is a good way to grab students attention. I like to use books with lots of color and big pictures. There are plenty of non-fiction books out there about science content, but I really like to use fiction books to teach a concept because fiction books are usually easier to relate to. A book series that I love and that I have found students to love is The Magic School Bus by Joanna Cole.

Emily Cartwright Emily Cartwright 1080 Points

Great article! 

Samantha Marie Ensenat Samantha Ensenat 2780 Points

When thinking of children's books to use in a science lesson, I always go to Joanna Cole's The Magic School Bus series. She covers so much ground within the field of science, all areas are explored. When watching the television show growing up, many times I didn't even realize I was learning anything until I was faced with the subject matter in a classroom setting or mentioned something in casual conversation that I actually had been introduced to through the series of books or the show. It's a good precursor to a lesson if you read the books before delving in very deep to the subject matter, and after reading and beginning the lesson, I like touching back to make connections to the story once the group reaches a point of understanding or a challenge similar to one found in the book. I also get a lot of ideas for activities from the books, like connecting chemical reactions to baking, or completing a circuit with a metallic candy wrapper.

Tiffany Hamker Tiffany Hamker 465 Points

There are many great children's books that can be used in a science classroom. Dr. Seuss has a few books that work really well for science. The Lorax and Bartholomew and the Oobleck are two that I think of right off the top of my brain. The magic school bus is a great series as well. I plan on reading a book from the Magic School bus to my 1st grade class in my field school.

Jennifer Clark Jennifer Clark 425 Points

I just used the Dr. Suess "Oh Say Can You Seed?" book for my kindergarten science unit on the needs of plants and plant parts. It was very useful because I could integrate my Reading Language Arts standard of rhyming into it.  If you go to Pinterest you can type in the subject of your NGSS standard and it will usually bring up books that are great for these lessons. Also using Appendix B from the Common Core website for reading and language arts to search for informational texts that can be used for your grade level. 

Sandra Barnard Sandra Barnard 685 Points

[size=3][font=Arial]I used “Natural and Man-made” (My World of Science Series) by Angela Royston in a lesson about natural and man-made materials. It had great examples and pictures for my first grade class. I also used “The Robins in Your Backyard” by Nancy Carol Willis when combining these lessons in a STEM lesson. The students learned that a baby robin weighs about a nickel. After constructing their nests, we tested the nests using nickels. [/font][/size]

Caylee Stahl Caylee Stahl 475 Points

I just used two different books with my 4th grade class to teach them about the forces acting on an airplane, and I learned that they LOVED reading a story to learn about Science. They were confused why I was reading a book in Science at the beginning because they are used to taking notes and doing labs, but once they saw the connection and once I saw how much more they were engaged, it was very effective! First, I used the book "How People Learned to Fly" by Fran Hodgkins. It directly talks about the forces acting on a plane (lift, drag, thrust, and gravity) and how planes evolved and were invented. Later in my unit, I used "Violet the Pilot" by Steve Breen to teach the kids about how they were going to be inventors like Violet and make their own planes. They loved both of the books!

James Peronto James Peronto 355 Points

This seems like a wonderful idea to teach students science!

NIcole Motley Nicole Motley 365 Points


The Best Nest by P.D. Eastman is a great book to use when teaching lessons on natural materials, man-made materials, or birds.

NIcole Motley Nicole Motley 365 Points

Also, If you don't have the book handy just go to and there are several book read versions.

Nicole Feoli Nicole Feoli 580 Points

There are tons of children's books that would be helpful in teaching science. In my opinion, the Magic School Bus series are perfect books for teaching any unit in science. The series covers animals, dinosaurs, earth science, environment, forces and motion, the human body, insects, kitchen science, plants and ecology, power and energy, space, and so much more! What is also great about these books is that most of them have movies to go along with them! Children love books as well as movies. 

Martin Komer Martin Komer 160 Points

I enjoyed "What If" by Randall Monroe. It can be a fun addition to lessons and I think its a good addition to a classroom library.

Kathy Renfrew Kathleen Renfrew 37248 Points

I am not familiar with this title . Can you tell me a bit more about it and how you used it in the classroom. One resource to check out for integrating text into science instruction is NSTA's list of Outstanding Trade Books. Kathy

Nicolette McWatters Nicolette Chetta 775 Points

Thank you for sharing these book titles! I'm excited to find them and include them in future science lessons.

Kathy Renfrew Kathleen Renfrew 37248 Points

One of my new recommends is The NotableNotebooks . I am developing lesson plans about introducing science notebooks with 4th graders. My plans will include student science talk, a reading aloud of the book, maybe us doing a close read of part of the text and then practicing writing in our science notebooks. Kathy

Audrey Stall Audrey Stall 835 Points

I noticed that someone mentioned tradebooks. I have sufficed many standards, science and other subjects, with lessons based on "The Lorax" by Dr. Seuss. I have used this with second & third graders and they love the story! In one of my science courses in college, we used "The Lorax" to elaborate on content we were learning. It is applicable for all ages as a tradebook and can suffice many standards in regards to science, reading and writing.

Amy Harwell Amy Harwell 715 Points

Great suggestions! Thank you for recommending Stone Soup and Where the puddles go! I think using literature to introduce a science lesson helps students make connections to other disciplines as well as real world connections. Thanks again!

Nancy Vo Nancy Vo 795 Points

Thanks for sharing! Great resources!

Oded Kariti Oded Kariti 110 Points

The Everything Kids' Science Experiments Book has some great experiments for kids. I use this with my class and kids at home. - Oded Kariti

Karen Patino Karen Patino 545 Points

I think it is awesome that you want to incorporate books to your lessons. In a previous class observation the teacher used the book I Face the Wind by Vicki Cobb. This book also asks the readers questions which causes them to think about what they already know and apply it to new ideas.
The book How Big is a Foot? by Rolf Myller is also an excellent book that I enjoy myself. Another great read is Counting on Frank by Rob Clement and this book encourages students to ask questions as they explore.  

Sandra Arredondo Sandra Arredondo 300 Points

I find it difficult to incorporate science based books in my fourth grade classroom, that excite my students. If there are any that you suggest, or have based lessons on please let me know!

Emily Shinkle Emily Shinkle 3168 Points

I used a book in a 5th grade lesson about controlled experiments, entitled "11 Experiments That Failed" by Jenny Offill. The students found this book informative as well as hilarious! The story revolves around a young female scientist who tests experiments on her unsuspecting family. It was especially important to preface this story with an adamant, "Don't try this at home!" because some of the experiments could be quite chaotic or destructive. When we discussed the book and our own ideas of experiments afterwards, we talked about ideas that would be safe and non-destructive. However, starting with this funny book set the lesson up quite nicely.

Yahilin Gomez Yahilin Gomez 435 Points

Hello! I'm currently working on my education degree and have recently experienced how beneficial it is to use literacy books to teach science content. During my recent field experience in the classroom, I learned from the teacher how beneficial it is for the students. It provides them with a great opportunity to be engaged in the reading and connected to learning about science. This teacher had used "From Seed to Pumpkin" by Wendy Pfeffer to teach the students about the life cycle of a plant. The teacher commented that she also uses "Are you a Ladybug?" by Judy Allen to teach students about the life cycle of a ladybug. She actually had the kids create an interactive booklet for the pumpkin cycle and a habitat for the ladybug. I've learned how valuable it is to incorporate these in curriculum instruction and definitely plan on doing so myself.

Amanda Daughtry Amanda Daughtry 130 Points

I use Elbow Grease, written by John Cena, and the kids love it!  There are three books, but the first can be read by John Cena and found on Brightly Storytime.   I give every student a monster truck, two blocks, and a piece of cardboard to build a ramp.     Day 2 , I read the second one, Elbow Grease vs. Motozilla, and that is where I  as the class to work together (theme of the book) and create motion with  their monster trucks as a team. 


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