When it comes to literacy,we often think of Language Arts but reading material is all around us. Last week I began discussing content literacy with a focus in math. There are many ways to infuse literacy in all subject areas to help imbed reading education throughout your daily lessons. One of your main goals as teacher is to encourage students to build a love for reading and by incorporating multiple styles of literacy which relate to the material being taught, students will be more inspired to read books of multiple genres. This week I want you to think beyond the language arts classroom and center your child like curiosity with science. The majority of children find science topics intriguing which will be beneficial as you plan your lessons and broaden your students knowledge of science literacy.
Utilize online resources. Students today are extremely engaged in a technological world. Finding online resources to integrate science literacy is a wonderful tool. Common Core Standards has a Listening component and younger readers need to build those listening comprehension skills. Many children find reading a book on a tablet, computer, or smart board to be more appealing and in turn will keep more students engaged in the lesson. Big Universe has an abundant amount of books for teachers to select. There are many Non-fiction texts provided in the “Free Reads” books section that you can utilize. There are also many resources on BrainPop and United Streaming. The websites offer videos, lesson activities, and quizzes with all sorts of science topics. Using video clips or online read alouds can allow for your more reluctant students to be engaged in content literacy.
Interactive Science Read Alouds. This strategy allows students to read a text independently with little coaching from the teacher. Interactive Read Alouds can be created by the teacher or selected from a reliable source. You may be able to find some interactive read alouds on youtube, teachertube, and scholastic. Students are put with a partner and the teacher selects a text based on a relevant science topic. The teacher then provides a set of instructions for the students to follow as they read the text with a partner. The instructions tell the students when to stop and what to do. For instance, the directions may tell students to illustrate what the text is telling them, underline the most important sentence, or summarize a particular part of the text. Partners can then discuss their responses and continue with the text.
Project Based Content Reading. I have found this method works well with any grade level provided with slight modifications. Depending on the science content, assign students to research and design a presentation or experiment that collaborates with the topic. Most students enjoy working with others to create an intriguing product. Students can use a variety of resources to study the science topics and experiments to design their product. Not only will students be using their literacy skills to master that science content but they will also be utilizing their speaking skills,which happens to be another Common Core Language Arts Standard. Students will enjoy acting as the instructor and teaching their peers about a science topic or engaging them in an experiment that relates to the topic currently being studied.
Science Focus Wall. Include science vocabulary on your current word wall or create a science focus wall. I personally prefer the focus wall, as students will know where to look in the classroom when I am referencing one of our science topics or science vocabulary words. I also use a walking word wall so students can take those vocabulary word cards back to their seats to use as needed. The focus wall contains an area that provides words and information regarding the current science content as well as sections with previously learning science topics.
Scientific Literacy in your Classroom Library. Most likely you have a well organized classroom library with reading levels and/or reading genres. Be sure to keep a variety of science specific texts on hand. Your classroom library should have several fiction and nonfiction texts related to the science topics you teach in your classroom. This will provide you an easy resource for classroom read alouds during a particular unit of study and inspire your students to read books related to content being taught in the classroom.
You want to maintain a goal of keeping content literacy interesting by integrating your science lessons with interactive reading material. Show your students they can read a variety of texts and can use those reading skills to teach others content literacy within science.