In her newest book, Reading Science, author Jennifer Altieri reminds us that literacy skills aren’t add-ons to the science class—they are critical parts of instruction. Since science requires specialized literacy demands, students should be prepared for, not only today’s science class, but for future science classes and the world beyond the classroom. Jennifer writes that a love of reading is just a start and that literacy in all areas keeps doors open. We started our conversation about when content literacy should be used, and what it means:
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By Jennifer Altieri, adapted from her new book, Reading Science: Practical Strategies for Integrating Instruction
We know that the images our students encounter often require that the reader not only examine the information in a visual representation but also draw inferences from it (Fang 2004; Lemke 1998). Just as students need strategies for comprehending the written word, they must be taught how to comprehend images and synthesize the information they gain from the images with that which they gain from words in the text they are reading. As we work with our students, we can review comprehension strategies they currently use with words and discuss which ones can also work with images. Here are five reminders about how we read and gain information from the words in a science text—and how that relates to “reading” images:
Adapted from Jennifer Altieri’s new book, Reading Science: Practical Strategies for Integrating Instruction
Although there are many science trade books available to support integrated instruction, choosing and locating them can be a challenge.
One of my favorite sources for identifying good science trade books is the Database of Award-Winning Children’s Literature, a website created by a librarian. The website allows a teacher to search over ten thousand texts through a variety of variables, such as age of reader, publication date (important to ensure up-to-date information), science topic, and awards won. You can also search for texts reflecting people of specific ethnicities or genders. This is important so that all students can see role models similar to themselves in science texts.
The next question is how to select the texts that best meet our content goals. The Science Trade Book Evaluation Guide, provided as part of Reading Science, can help you analyze the five key aspects of science trade books. This list provides a brief snapshot of each area; the Evaluation Guide goes into greater depth.
See below for the archive of our Twitter chat with Jennifer Altieri discussing connections that can be made between content areas and literacy. Follow Jennifer (@JenniferAltier1) and use #ReadingScience for more!
Jennifer Altieri's newest book Reading Science reminds us that literacy skills aren't add-ons to the science class—they're critical parts of instruction. Since science requires specialized literacy demands, students should be prepared not only for today's science class but for the science class of the future and the world at large. In this post adapted from the beginning of the book, Jennifer explains the need for science teachers to teach literacy if we want our students to be able to understand scientific material.