A major intent of any science curriculum is to promote science literacy. To be scientifically
literate, a person must be able to read and understand a variety of science texts so that he or she
can thoughtfully engage in meaningful conversations about science issues.
Textbooks are not enough. Even primary students should be reading in a variety of genres: Newspaper articles, magazines, research reports, websites, primary sources, biographies- as well as full length trade
nonfiction books as they grow their vocabulary. Why? Think about what you read—among life long learners we find in our literary diets of some “required for work”, text to stay informed as a citizen or consumer, materials about practical information as well as other stuff “just for fun”.
We often make all the choices in reading materials for students-but real readers assign
themselves (i.e. The Daily News vs. Los Angeles Times. Offering choices and guiding students (so that they have the skill to determine what type of material will be best fit their needs) should be a goal.
While full-length fiction novels are more often found in the English class, there may be one that
correlates to a unit of study—whether you use it as a class or offer it up as an extension is up to
you. A fiction short story may be a great engagement piece that helps students get excited about
an upcoming unit. Non-fiction is the text we encounter most often in science (textbook, tests
etc…) but providing a variety of sources helps students find relevancy.
Students should have opportunities to be challenged in their reading; however, kids need to read
what they can read. If everything we offer is beyond a student’s reach they quickly shut down
and choose to learn nothing at all. As adults, certainly you have picked up novels, comics, etc.. that is far below your reading abilities, but you found engaging. Stock up on both easy and hard
Kids get plenty of long reading in school. Make sure it is balanced by quick snippets too. Start a collection of newspaper articles, magazines and other short sources. You can use them in class
to start discussions. Real reading doesn’t have to take large amounts of time. On the contrary
Give students the chance to work from the source—memoirs, autobiographies, lab reports and
research documents, government reports or scientific findings. Field studies or even artifacts
(such as a physical object).
Well, here are some planning materials that K-12 Teachers can easily integrate into lesson plans for science that will give a depth of scientific understanding in an entertaining manner:
Nonfiction Trade Books Tied DIRECTLY to Common Core Science Standards: CC Standards –All Grades: Integrate information from two texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.
• Barretta, Gene.Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin. illus. by author. Holt. 2006. ISBN 978-0-80507-917-3. Gr 2–5
• Byrd, Robert. Electric Ben: The Amazing Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin. illus. by author. Dial. 2012. ISBN 978-0-8037-3749-5. Gr 4–7
• Fritz, Jean. What’s the Big Idea, Ben Franklin? illus. by Margot Tomes. Putnam. 1976. ISBN 978-0-698-20365-5. Gr 3–5
• Schroeder, Alan. Ben Franklin: His Wit and Wisdom from A to Z.llus. by John O’Brien. Holiday House. 2011. ISBN 978-0-82341-950-0. Gr 2–5
• Gibbons, Gail. Monarch Butterfly. Holiday House. 1989. Pre S–Gr 2
• Marsh, Laura F. Caterpillar to Butterfly.National Geographic. 2012. ISBN 978-1-4263-0920-5. PreS–Gr 2
• Kudlinski, Kathleen V. Boy, Were We Wrong About Dinosaurs! illus. by S. D. Schindler. Dutton. 2005. ISBN 978-0-52546-978-0. Gr 2–4
CC Science Standards, K-8 Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text, and CC Science Standards K-8 Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur).
• Leedy, Loreen. Seeing Symmetry. illus. by author. Holiday House. 2012. ISBN 978-0-8234-2360-6. Gr 2–4
• Macaulay, David, and Sheila Keenan. Castle: How It Works. illus. by David Macaulay. Roaring Brook/David Macaulay Studio. 2012. ISBN 978-1-59643-744-9. Gr 1–3
CC Science Standards, K-8 Determine the meaning of words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 2 topic or subject area.
• Mann, Elizabeth. Empire State Building. illus. by Alan Witschonke. Photos by Lewis Hine. Mikaya. 2003. ISBN 978-1-93141-406-7. Gr 4–8
• Pinkney, Andrea Davis. Let It Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters. illus. by Stephen Alcorn. Harcourt. 2000. ISBN 978-0-15201-005-8. Gr 4–8
CC Science Standards, K-8 Identify the main topic and retell key details of a text.
• Rappaport, Doreen. Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. illus. by Bryan Collier. Hyperion. 2001. ISBN 978-0-78680-714-7. K–Gr 3
MIDDLE SCHOOL/HIGH SCHOOL
CC Science Standards 9-12 Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is valid and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; identify false statements and fallacious reasoning.
• Aronson, Marc and Marina Tamar Budhos. Sugar Changed the World: A Story of Magic, Spice, Slavery, Freedom, and Science. Clarion. 2010. ISBN 978-0-61857-492-6. Gr 8 Up
• Burgan, Michael. Breaker Boys: How a Photograph Helped End Child Labor. Compass Point. 2012. ISBN 978-0-7565-4510-9. Gr 6–9
CC Science Standards 9-12 Analyze the interactions between individuals, events, and ideas in a text. (e.g., how ideas influence individuals or events, or how individuals influence ideas or events).
• Burns, Loree Griffin. Tracking Trash: Flotsam, Jetsam, and the Science of Ocean Motion. Houghton. 2007. ISBN 978-0-61858-131-3. Gr 6–9
• Freedman, Russell. Who Was First? Discovering the Americas.Clarion. 2007. ISBN 978-0-618-66391-0. Gr 7 Up
CC Science Standards 7-12 Analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of the structure an author uses in his or her exposition or argument, including whether the structure makes points clear, convincing, and engaging.
• Hoose, Phillip. Moonbird : A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95. Farrar. 2012. ISBN 978-0-374-3046803. Gr 7 Up
CC Science Standards 7-12 Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a question or solve a problem.)
• Macaulay, David. Mosque .illus. by author. Houghton. 2003. ISBN 978-0-61824-034-0. Gr 7 Up
• Schlosser, Eric and Charles Wilson. Chew on This: Everything You Don’t Want to Know About Fast Food. Houghton. 2006. ISBN 978-0-61871-031-7. Gr 7–10
CC Science Standards 7-12 Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how the author acknowledges and responds to conflicting evidence or viewpoints.
Stone, Tanya Lee. Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream. Candlewick. 2009. ISBN 978-0-76363-611-1.