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Elementary Science

Science and Reading

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Pamela Auburn Pamela Auburn 68605 Points

Reading Rockets offers Reading packs that connect science and literacy Here is an eaxmple Go on a "night sky" reading adventure! Teachers can support reading together at home with our reading adventure packs — designed to encourage hands-on fun and learning centered around paired fiction and nonfiction books. (Level: Third Grade)

Maureen Stover Maureen Stover 41070 Points

Hi Pam! Thank you so much providing a link to the Reading Rockets program. I visited the website and noticed that they have several different thematic units that link reading and science. I really like the way that this program encourages family involvement. Do you know if these resources are standards based? Thanks! Maureen

Kathy Renfrew Kathy Renfrew 35938 Points

A program that I will recommend, that is standards-based, but was developed prior to the Common Core is Seeds of Science, Roots of Literacy. I believe the program was developed for grades 2 -5.Science and literacy or Seeds of Science

Kathy Renfrew Kathy Renfrew 35938 Points

As teacher begin to consider what texts they will use in their classrooms..I hope they consider some of the following short texts:

    Super Science ( Scholastic)
    Time for Kids
    National Geographic
    Other magazines

Another valuable under used resource is the NSTA Outstanding Trade Book list. Each of thse books have been read by approximately 10-13 people who collaboratively decide this particular book is good enough to be put on the list. You can the find the lists on the NSTA site.

Pamela Auburn Pamela Auburn 68605 Points

Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize This prize is award for communicating science to young people. The winner will be announce in November. You can find the short list of competitors here

Kathy Renfrew Kathy Renfrew 35938 Points

An under used resource for reading enjoyment and instruction is NSTA's Outstanding trade Books. These are a group of books for Grades PK -12 which have been read by a committee and chosen as books of the highest quality. The committee is made up of science educators who collaborate with NSTA and the Children's Book Council to recommend these books to other educators and the public.

One of my many favorites from the 2012 OSTB List is Far from Shore Chronicles of an Open Ocean Voyage by Sophie Webb.

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. This book will also help to corrupt the stereotype of the scientist with the frizzy hair, white lab coat and exploding substances. Sophie, a field biologist and naturalist who speciality is birds, has long, blond ,braided hair as seen in one of illustrations and is sitting at a desk working on a computer.

The book has maps,labeled diagrams, illustrations, and a glossary.

This book might be a read aloud during a study of ocean life or it might be used as a reference for a student who wants to know more about field biologists. There are too many potential uses for me to list them all.

Consider using this book in your classroom.


Pamela Auburn Pamela Auburn 68605 Points

The Rock from Mars: A Detective Story on Two Kathy Sawyer, .gives an incredible insight into how science works and relates to the Martian meteorite that was a possible fossil bacteria carrier... The Day the World Discovered the Sun, by Mark Anderson, about the three major expeditions to measure the Transit of Venus...great details..a wonderful read Chasing the Sun: TheEpic Story of the Star that Gives us Life by Richard Cohen which includes something astonishing or fascinating on almost every page

Pamela Auburn Pamela Auburn 68605 Points

Here is a nice collection of trade books on the weather Kids are often fascinated by the weather. What are clouds made of? Where does thunder and lightning come from? Why does a tornado spin into a funnel? Explore the world of weather with our collection of fiction and nonfiction picture books, activities, interactive apps, online resources for deeper learning, and more. Browse 23 more kid-friendly themes at our new sister site, Start with a Book.

Pamela Auburn Pamela Auburn 68605 Points

This brief discusses the growing use of electronic media among young children; new digital divides between rich and poor, rural, and urban children; and what states can do to ensure thoughtful adoption of new technologies and interactive media by early childhood programs.

Crystal Radcliffe Crystal Radcliffe 1640 Points

It seems like science and social studies are the two subjects that always get pushed aside because there isn't enough time in the school day to teach them. I think one of the easiest ways to incorporate social studies or science is by having students read nonfiction books having to do with these subjects, this way students are getting the reading practice they need while also learning some science! While I understand this isn't ALL we should be doing in the elementary classroom, it is a start. I imagine that once students start to read about science, they are going to be curious about science, and then inquiry lessons can be made. So far in my studies (I'll be student teaching this Spring), I've come across several picture books that can be used at all grade levels. One of my favorite authors is Gail Gibbons. She has a multitude of books including: Alligators and Crocodiles Coral Reefs Galaxies... Galaxies... Hurricanes! Pumpkins Sharks Trains Exploring the Deep Dark Sea Weather Forecasting

Pamela Auburn Pamela Auburn 68605 Points

The December/January edition of educational leadership looks at common core implementation. In the article "Making the Shift" the author advocates (1) Building Knowledge through content rich non fiction and (2) Reading and Writing grounded in evidence. I especially liked these ideas as opportunity to link science and language arts. Many teachers complain that there is not enough time to teach science in elementary classes. Connected curriculum may help. Alberti, Susan (2012) "Making the Shifts, Educational Leadership 70 (4) p 24 and Duke, N (2004) The case for informational text Educational Leadership 61 (6) 40-44

Kathy Renfrew Kathy Renfrew 35938 Points

Thank you for sharing the resource. I totally agree with you that literacy is part of science and it should be part of effective science instruction. But there is a difference...reading and writing about science alone does not meet the criteria for effective science instruction.

I just want us to be careful to differentiate between the two.


Matt Sandine Matt Sandine 665 Points

Hi Pamela, Thank you so much for the links to the different science literature websites. I find it so important that teachers work across content areas in order to enhance lessons. So much of what students learn relates to other disciplines, yet some teachers fail to explain that. Cross-curricular lessons also can help students see that what they are learning applies to the real-world. If every teacher managed to do cross-curricular activities, there would be no more of those pesky, "When will we ever use this?" questions coming from students. The Reading Rockets website seems very interesting and I look forward to checking out all it has to offer. Also, I second what Crystal said about the Gail Gibbons books. Ms. Gibbons has a multitude of books pertaining to different science concepts. Her books have very simple illustrations and make difficult science concepts easy for students to digest. Take care, Matt

Elena Snow Elena Snow 595 Points

Thank you for the great resources! I am always looking for interesting science texts to add or supplement to my lessons :)

Pamela Auburn Pamela Auburn 68605 Points

Nonfiction works can be used to teach literary techniques and model quality writing styles, such as using strong introductions and conclusions, metaphor and onomatopoeia... I like the idea of having students break down texts as a way to understand the effective use of language and evidence.

NSTA Book Beat" target="_blank">May 2013: Using Children’s Books to Guide Science Inquiry [i]Among all the good reasons to teach science and reading together, Picture-Perfect Science series authors Emily Morgan and Karen Ansberry highlight one truly compelling one: Research points to gains in science as well as reading when children’s literature and literacy instruction are used in the science program. This month’s issue of NSTA’s Book Beat features a new resource that can help you seamlessly teach science and reading in a way that draws students to enjoy and succeed at both. [/i]

Kathy Renfrew Kathy Renfrew 35938 Points

I have been thinking about all the potential places in a science lesson and/or unit that quality pieces of informational text could be added for many different purposes. I am thinking about articles from the newspaper or magazine. It might be something from Time for Kids, National Geographic magazines which are written at 3 different reading levels, Scholastic Super Science. It might be from the science text you are using. It might be an Outstanding Science Trade Book. it might an excerpt from an adult text. I am sure there are many more that I have not mentioned. I purposely left out fictional literature bu there is often a place for that as well. I am thinking that there are also multiple places where a piece of text would enhance the science understanding. Maybe students could be involved in an investigation, collected some data and done some initial analysis. Maybe there is an article that contradicts their findings. The text in that case might be be used to challenge students' thinking. What are some other possibilities for using informational text in the classroom/ Does anybody have a specific piece of text that they used for an intentional purpose in their instruction? Kathy

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