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A while ago I subscribed to Carol Hurst's Children's Literature newsletter. This current edition focuses on insects and spiders.
At the end of the newsletter are other suggested sources and lesson ideas
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Thanks so much for sharing that link! This is one of my favorite topics, cross-curricular science and literature. I have attached an interesting journal article from New Advocate a children's literature journal, that discusses integrating literature and science. NSTA Press also has several excellent resources including Picture Perfect Science Lessons that integrate literature and science.
Moving_Toward_Inquiry.pdf (0.37 Mb)
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Hi Maureen, Pam, and Thread Readers,
I reviewed this journal article about connecting literature and science: Perspectives: Children's Literature and the Science Classroom by Sandra K. Abell.
It has lots of great ideas for teachers asking how and why.
I liked how she included the research that supports specific ways to include literature with science.
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This is a very important discussion especially as the Common Core in English Language Arts is calling for teachers to up the ante when it comes to content and complex texts. While not all of the Outstanding Science Trade Books have complex text, the content is accurate.
I also think it is important to say that reading isn't science , but reading is an important part of science instruction. So I am posting the link and the welcome from Julian Texley to the Outstanding Science Trade Books.
[quote]Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K–12: 2010 (Books published in 2009)
What makes an outstanding book for a young reader? Although it would be hard to create a rubric for every book, experienced teachers recognize them quickly. They fascinate and captivate with both their content and style. Award-winning trade books inspire young readers to want more…more information, more books, more inquiry, more science.
The 37-year-old partnership between the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and the Children’s Book Council has been a celebration of great books. Studying the lists over the years, it is clear that there are trends in publishing. This year—the 40th anniversary of humankind’s “one small step” on the Moon—there is high interest in both space exploration and technology. Several of the winners describe scientific achievements that occurred when most of our students’ parents were children, yet their emphasis on scientific method and the excitement of inquiry will inspire future thinking in every reader. In a sense, many of this year’s winners comprise a “stimulus” to a new generation of innovative technologists. This is also the year when the entire world has struggled to come to consensus on climate change.
Other strands have remained constant over the years; the life sciences remain the most consistent source of high-interest books at the elementary level. Many of the winners have special features that make them ideal for sharing; lyric prose that reads like poetry; large, detailed graphics and photos that can be used for inquiry; and dual-level text for young readers and their mentors to share.
To earn a designation as an “outstanding trade book” a publication need not be absolutely perfect from every perspective. Some of the books work best for certain audiences and might be less effective for others. A few were recommended with reservations that are noted in the extended NSTA Recommends review (click on the titles to read the extended versions of the reviews). But every one has the potential to be that special invitation to a lifelong adventure in science for a student near you.
Those of you who’ve enjoyed this list for years will notice a change in the categories this year. Rather than group the books according to topic, we’ve reorganized them this year according to the National Science Education Standard that they most fully support (although many will fall into more than one, and this is noted in each annotation). You’ll also notice that this year we’ve attached some supplemental material that can be used to extend learning. Click the links at the end of the review to learn more. Happy reading!
Juliana Texley, Lead Reviewer, NSTA Recommends
More information and the annotated descriptions for the 2010 books acn be found at :
[url=http://www.nsta.org/publications/ostb/ostb2010.aspx]Outstanding Science Trade Books[/url]
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When I was in the classroom, a couple of years ago, I used a low cost resource called Search It Science. As an individual teacher I had access to the database for six weeks for $10. This was long enough for me to get all the information I needed for the whole year of science instruction. This was an annotated database created by Wendy Saul and published by Heinemann. It was organized in many different ways. Say iwas teaching a unit on Motion and Design, I could search the database for "force & motion and get an annotated list of many books that would support my instruction. This database was created in 2001. The plan at that time was to keep it updated. I called Heinemann this morning, only to find out it has not been updated so you know the books in the database are at least 10 years old. I can say that the resource was very helpful to me. Today I would say look first at the Outstanding Science Trade Books for books to support your instruction first. the good thing about Search It Science was its ability to be searched in multpile ways.
Having that background I will give the website description and the link.
Heinemann website describes it like this[quote]
The Search It! Science database of more than three thousand highly recommended science titles enables teachers, librarians, and students to develop bibliographies in seconds. Want a list of thirty-five titles on the environment for fourth graders with a wide range of reading levels? You'll find it. Looking for biographies of African-American scientists that include photographs? Here they are. What about a good science-related read aloud? That's here too. By combining literary, scientific, graphic, and issue-oriented elements, K-8 teachers, students, and librarians can expand or shrink their list of recommended titles. Search It! Science was actually built to mimic the real-life search strategies of users with access to an up-to-date collection of scientifically accurate, diverse, well-written books.
[url=http://www.heinemann.com/products/002057.aspx]Search It Science[/url]
Thanks Pam for the link and starting this thread!
Carolyn referenced a great article that is part of the November 2008 Science & Children - the issue is dedicated to Science & Literacy connections! It is interesting to me how important a role nonfiction resources will be under the CCSS. I have not really felt that connection in what I have read so far of the conceptual framework.
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Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! for the Search it Science link! I have just joined and it is a FANTASTIC resource. Again thank you so much for sharing the link!
Thank you for the link. I have looked at the sight and will use it this year. I will send links to you as I find ones that will link literature to science. Thanks again.
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I just reviewed an excellent article that connects literature and science. It is called, "Feathering Your Nest". First grade teachers wishing their children scientists opportunities to explore and observe bird nests will find the inquiry and literature components well executed.
Thanks for starting this thread, Pam!
As a middle school science teacher, I've often wished my students came to me better prepared for reading non-fiction texts. As several before me have already commented, elementary teachers are under a huge amount of pressure to focus instructional time on reading, especially reading comprehension.
I did a quick search in NSTA's library and literally found a plethora of resources on elementary reading. I narrowed my search to focus on non-fiction texts, http://learningcenter.nsta.org/search.aspx
P.S. My go-to strategy for middle schoolers and non-fiction texts is Cornell Notes. I did not find a resource for this in NSTA's library, so I'm including a link here to an example. Perhaps it could be modified for elementary students? If so, I would be very interested to see the modifications. One thing that's not really explained in the example I've attached is that the "Key Points" listed on the left side of the page are usually taken from the section headings within the chapter or article.
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You make an excellent point. Non-fiction text is very different to read than fictional literature. In the new Common Core ELA Standards, students are supposed to read and have instruction in 50% literature and 50% informational text.
I also agree your collection is superb.
I especially like Science 101: How is reading a science book different from reading other books?
Maybe we can share one of our faorite informational books we use in science class?
One of my all time favorites is Emperors of the Ice by Richard Farr. It is all about surival in Antarctica.
You have inspired me to put some order to my chaotic lists kept in scattered computer files. (At least when I pass no one with have to rummage through the attic - just through my computer files) Anyway here is a list (there could be more elsewhere) on non-fiction for young adults
Hidden Evidence: 40 True Crimes and How Forensic Science Helped Solve Them by David Owen - 2000, 240p.
The world of forensic crime fights for justice with the invisible.
Silent Snow: The Slow Poisoning of the Arctic by Marla Cone - 2005, 246p.
A wake up call to change our thinking and behavior to salvage our Arctic environment.
Count Down: Six Kids Vie for Glory at the World's Toughest Math Competition by Steve Olson - 2004, 244p.
This story of the 2001 Math Olympiad and its U.S. team shows that math is not just for nerds.
The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe by Theodore Gray - 2009, 240 p.
The 118 elements of the periodic table are photographed and described with humor, style and authority.
The Nothing That Is: A Natural History of Zero by Robert Kaplan - 2000, 225p.
It's amazing how interesting a book about nothing can be.
Spix’s Macaw: The Race to Save the World's Rarest Bird by Tony Juniper - 2003, 287p.
Rare parrots sold on the black market can go for $40,000. There is only one Spix's macaw left in the wild—can it survive?
The Race to Save the Lord God Bird by Phillip Hoose - 2004, 196p.
This is the suspenseful story of America's first endangered species, the Ivory-billed woodpecker, and of the world's awakening to our power to destroy life.
Rats: Observations on the History and Habitat of the City's Most Unwanted Inhabitants by Robert Sullivan - 2003, 242p.
From the disgusting morsels rats love best to the way they altered the politics of New York, enticing ratty details fill this intriguing history.
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach - 2003, 303p.
For anyone interested in what happens when you donate your body to science, this humorously macabre work shines some light on the bizarre details of your entrails.
The Radioactive Boy Scout: The True Story of a Boy and His Backyard Nuclear Reactor by Ken Silverstein - 2004, 209p.
Quiet David Hahn sidesteps his dysfunctional family to create a dangerously effective reactor in the middle of his suburban neighborhood.
Electric Dreams: One Unlikely Team of Kids and the Race to Build the Car of the Future by Caroline Kettlewell - 2004, 290p.
This true tale of a high school competition to convert an automobile into an electric vehicle is full of characters and will leave you "shocked."
Stone, Tanya Lee. Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream. Candlewick. 2009. The story of the “Mercury 13” women who paved the way for females in space and aeronautics by challenging the political and social culture behind NASA’s unwritten rule that astronauts must be male.
Every Bone Tells a Story: Hominin Discoveries, Deductions, and Debates by Jill Rubalcaba and Peter Robertshaw, published by Charlesbridge
Walker, Sally. Frozen Secrets: Antarctica Revealed. Lerner/ Carolrhoda, 2010.
In a book that captures the heart of the fascination with Antarctica, Frozen Secrets reveals the fascination, past and present, scientists have had for the continent of Antarctica. Breathtaking illustrations and page-turning text make this a favorite of science geeks and survival fans.
Menzel, Peter and D’Aluisio, Faith. What the World Eats. Ten Speed Press. 2008. This book examines the meals of 25 different families from all around the world using lush photographs and health statistics
The Deep: The Extraordinary Creatures of the Abyss . Edited by Claire Nouvian. University of Chicago Press, Amazing photographs and essays by scientists introduce the strange, beautiful, and sometimes terrifying deep-sea creatures that live in the largest, most mysterious ecosystem on the planet.
Tammet, Daniel. Born on a Blue Day: A Memoir: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant . Simon & Schuster/Free Press, 2007 Recounting his long struggle to emotionally connect with others, Tammet vividly describes his childhood and adolescence as an austistic savant.
McClafferty, Carla Killough. Something Out of Nothing: Marie Curie and Radium. 2006. illus. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Marie Curie, the first woman to win the Nobel Prize, was also the first person to win it twice. This biography explores Curie’s achievements in an era when women scientists struggled for recognition.
Noyes, Deborah. One Kingdom: Our Lives with Animals. 2006. illus. Houghton Mifflin, $18. Seamlessly incorporating the scientific process, this pictorial exploration of the human-animal bond blends myth and history while raising provocative questions.
Thimmesh, Catherine. Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon. 2006. illus. Houghton Mifflin, $19.95. Suspenseful and packed with little-known fac
What an interesting list? Do you possibly have a grade level for each of the books? That would make it very usable for K -5 teachers. I will have to get a list going too.
This is a middle school and older non fiction list - in response to Kendra. I have K-12 list but these are mostly fiction. I can work on aggregating if you are interested
Thank you so much for sharing this helpful information. As a Kindergarten teacher, I am always looking for different literature to connect to my lessons. It definitely helps to make a personal or meaningful connection to the students. It also never hurts to connect literature to learning in the upper elementary grades. In fact, you'd be surprised at how many 5th graders love being read aloud to or looking a book that has everything to do with what you just taught!
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I love all of the resources provided because it is so important to be able to integrate science with literature. As it has been previously discussed there is so much focus on reading and language arts that integrating them helps give teachers the time they need to focus on science topics. Science is an engaging subject and there are so many books for young kids that can motivate them for science learning. I can't wait to begin teaching and utilizing all the resources that everyone has shared.
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Deanna said "It also never hurts to connect literature to learning in the upper elementary grades. In fact, you'd be surprised at how many 5th graders love being read aloud to or looking a book that has everything to do with what you just taught!"
Deanna, you are so correct. I taught 5th & 6th graders and used picture books as part of my curriculum. Now with the Common Core State Standards, I might use them a little differently.
I will have some of my current work to share soon. I can't wait to see what you think.
IN my class we use the harocurt reading series and there is a short story called "Earth from Space" I'm sure you can find it online as well. It shows different views of earth from satellites images. This goes really well when we start learning about atmosphere and orbits.
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This newsletter is a great resource for teachers! Literature written for children allows them to connect scientific concepts that they might otherwise grapple with, to real life events. And picture books not only attracts their attention, it keeps it. I also appreciate the discussions and activities that are suggested at the end of the newsletter, further helping teachers as they get students to see real-life application of science.
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Our school has a subscription to Achieve 3000. Whenever we are studying a particular theme in science, I send my students news articles that are related to that theme. My students are only in third grade and many are English Language Learners, so they used to struggle to use this resource. Now that I hook the students by using hands on science lessons, they are more successful with the connection to the text. Thanks for all the resources for literature to use as well.
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I to use Kidbiz at my school and it is a great reading tool to compliment any subject you're reading even science. I also use the trophies reading series and it has quiet a few stories that go along with space and life sciences. One particular story I enjoyed was "Seeing Earth from Space." It talked about how we can see the earth from outer space and what we can learn and discover from these observations. Hitting the students on a particular subject, namely Science from different angles really brings it home for them and helps them to understand and relate it to more than just an experiment or something they read in their science text book.
Michael Leslie, Nov. 9, 2011, 1:42 AM wrote:
I to use Kidbiz at my school and it is a great reading tool to compliment any subject you're reading even science.
I've never heard of KidBiz before. Can you give us some more information about the program and how you use it to support literacy in your classroom?
Using Kid Biz has been a wonderful tool for my students as well. Teachers can assign specific articles having to do with any curriculum or students can search for their own articles to read. A new article comes out each day. Articles include a short test which students take upon finishing reading, they may refer back to the article. This is called "Activities". There is also a writing question, math, etc. Hope this helps.
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For young and emergent readers you might also want to try pebblego.com - they offer a trial subscription. My kids love working on their research reports this year with information at their reading level, great photographs, audio and video files.
Hi Everyone! I have just returned from the New Orleans NSTA conference where I spent the day in a workshop with the Picture perfect ladies. I am all fired up to use one of their excellent lessons this week. If you don't have one of their books, I would highly recommend purchasing one - any of them would be great. As part of the workshop, I received the expanded 2nd edition of Picture-Perfect Science Lessons: Using Children's Books to Guide Inquiry, 3-6. Karen and Emily have created a collection in the NSTA library of resources that go along with lessons in this book. You can access the collection here:
Picture-Perfect Science NSTA Conference Resources
I love how they use a trade book (nonfiction) and story book (fiction) in every lesson set.
I love the idea of incorporating both fiction and non-fiction books into science lessons. Thank you for all of the wonderful resources that I have discovered in this forum. I recently did a KWL during my clinical practice. The KWL was an introduction for a science unit on plants. I read the trade book " Amazing Plants" by Andrew Whitmore. The students were very engaged throughout the KWL lesson, and they enjoyed the book. I have also read a journal article that discusses literacy in science. The journal article that I read is "Literacy in the Learning Cycle", by Susan Everett & Richard Moyer. It is a Science and Children journal from October 2009.
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Let's say I wanted to introduce the importance of observation to my students, I would probably read aloud the book, The Watcher: Jane Goodall's Life with the Chimps.one of the 2011 NSTA Outstanding Trade Books.
Before I started, I would ask my students to use their fingers to make binoculars on their eyes,every time they hear an example of Jane observing something.
We might make a list of what Jane learned by observing.
We can slso talk about the importance of science notebooks becasue Jane observed and recorded data for years. I might then ask the students to go home and practice observing& recording information about a pet, a plant
Just a few ideas of how to use this book as part of inquiry instruction.
Hi Kathy and thread participants,
I loved your providing examples of books that might go with specific topics. In that light, I would like to share a Lit-Science connection that I modeled for my preservice teachers this past week. It was a lesson on classification of animals; a concept mandated by the national science teaching standards. I used [url=http://learningcenter.nsta.org/product_detail.aspx?id=10.2505/9781935155164]Picture-Perfect Science Lessons, Expanded 2nd Edition: Using Children's Books to Guide Inquiry, 3-6[/url] to introduce a unit on Mollusks. The lesson involved reading a portion of a tradebook on sea shells, and then reading Eric Carle's book about a hermit crab. The authors of the picture perfect book provide all of the worksheets and detailed instructions for teaching about mollusks, classification of animals using dichotomous keys, and observational skills. I love how they incorporate the 5 E lesson model in each of their lessons. They must spend a lot of time perusing book stores and libraries; they have quite a collection of fictional and trade books highlighted in their various picture-perfect books. It sure makes it easier to integrate literature and science when that part of the planning has been done for you already! For anyone not familiar with the picture-perfect series of books for teachers, there are two archived webinars, each highlighting a different work of fiction. One uses the science conept of force and motion ([url=http://learningcenter.nsta.org/products/symposia_seminars/fall08/pps/webseminarII.aspx]roller coasters[/url]) and the book, "Roller Coaster" by Marla Frazee. The other webinar shows how to teach [url=http://learningcenter.nsta.org/products/symposia_seminars/fall08/pps/webseminarI.aspx]magnetism[/url] with the book, "Scaredy Squirrel" by Melanie Watt.
I would highly recommend viewing one of these webinars for great ideas on how to integrate literature and science in to seamless, engaging science inquiries. I look forward to reading about others' lessons here. Thank you.
Carolyn and all on this thread - there are so many excellent lesson ideas here!
I am trying to put together some literature of the "steampunk" sort to capitalize on the popularity of Hugo Cabret. We have come up with Children of the Lamp, The City of Ember, Edison's Eve and the Quest for Mechanical Life and the 21 Balloons - so we have diversity in subject area and reading level. Does anyone have other ideas to include?
You're speaking to my heart - I love steampunk! I found an Amazon list that I think you might be interested in. Amazon List
There's another list on Barnes & Noble, but it seems more geared to young adult, but it's still worth taking a look. B&N Link
Hope that helps!
PS - Pam, somehow I missed your amazing list of books. Thank you so much for taking the time to do that. I'm building curriculum right now for the museum's outreach programs, with an eye toward teacher professional development, and will definitely be taking a look at these in the near future.
OK ..Caryn and Kendra,
I am showing my ignorance. What is steampunk and howdoes it relate to scienceand literacy?
It's okay, Kathy. We'll guide you through this. :) The easiest way is just to show you.
Think Will Smith in "Wild Wild West" - then think "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" - "The Golden Compass" - "Van Helsing" - "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" and "A Series of Unfortunate Events" - these movies all have elements of steampunk in them.
It's a sub-genre of science fiction/fantasy that portrays what might have happened if modern technological advances had been made in the Victorian era, especially with the use of clockwork gears and steam engines. Another term frequently used is "neo-victorian."
You can also check out some really cool images here: http://www.steampunklab.com/ and the laptop over at datamancer.net is definitely on my Christmas list. :)
Hope that helps,
Hi Kathy and Kendra -
Kendra's definition is spot on! For the kids (and the classroom) I challenge them to immerse themelvses in the late 1800s - what inventors, scientists are alive and working? what has been invented? what has not...we are all over the map with research using nonfiction reference and historical fiction. Students have to pay attention to the details of the story - is the action in the story plausible? Would it have been better set on a steamboat? that sort of thing - Then they write a time travel piece where they go back in time - from today into that period. No ipod, no computer, no luxury car or even remote control anything - but they know about those inventions - and if they had to make one using only the technology of the day - what would it look like? The end products are pretty fanciful, but there are good conversations that take place in the learning that gets them there. It also lets me capitalize on what is captivating imaginations right now - like Hugo - based on Hugo Cabret.
Thank you for sharing. I am going to try to incorporate some of this in my work with adults as we work with the new K-12 conceptual science framework. I think I need to do some more research.
I should clarify that these literature escapades are in addition to the nonfic trade books and other texts that we read for science units. I have the same group of students for three years - in 3rd grade we do polar science - following along with PolarTrec and Andrill (Project iceberg) and each week I tell a folktale that explains natural phenomena in the arctic. Students create their own for Antarctica and we record them all on a cd or parents. In 4th grade we do the inventors and in 5th it is astronomy in parallel with Greek mythology and constellation stories. i actually do two of my favorite activities in this unit - 1st is the never ending story for astronomy concepts and 2nd is the distance to stars where we do the math to scale the distance to all the stars in a specific constellation and we hang stars from fishing line (with lots of parent help) so students can look up at the constellations and see the real spacing between stars that we think of as being in the same plane.At the end of 5th grade students who are really into it - I do a lit circle on Ender's Game.
I enjoyed reading to your discussion. I am a primary teacher and with non-fiction, I found it helpful to integrate it with drama to bring the non-fiction literature (From Seed to Plant per say) to life. "Dancing out" a plant life cycle, made the steps in the cycle memorable, as well as, the students could connect to what the literature was describing, instead of reading the face-value print. The problem we have in the lower grades is some students reading just to read and not being able to comprehend what they are reading, especially if the vocabulary incorporated with the text is difficult to them. In Science, non-fiction, there is no story line for students to follow, thus, they become lost. Pairing up drama with Science non-fiction text has extremely helped my primary readers who do struggle in Science and Language Arts.
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Does anyone read Lynne Cherry's The Great Kapok Tree?
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Hi Don, Your quiry about The Great Kapok Tree reminded me of a book in the NLC: How We Know What We Know About Our Changing Climate: Scientists and Kids Explore Global Warming.
It is written by Lynne Cherry and another author. I was wondering if anyone has purchased that book and/or used it when teaching about weather and climate change. It sounds like a good one to help children see how what they do can make a difference.
This free webinar on February 8th might be of interest to followers of this thread.
The presenters will share facilitation principles that get learners to dive deeper into the science, to reason about ideas in evidence-based ways, and to communicate using multiple languages of science. They will draw examples from Making Sense of SCIENCE (MSS) professional development and share findings from a national randomized control study showing significant positive effects in science learning for teachers and their students, including English learners, students with disabilities, and students who otherwise struggle with science.
Making Sense of SCIENCE: Going Deep to Go Far by Linking Science and Literacy Instruction
Your posts reminded me of something I did in social studies acutally around Thanksgiving. I think it was the Grinch Stole Thanksgiving. Anyway, the activity was a reader's theater.
I am wondering if there are readers theater made for science concepts. Hmmm??
I will have to do some research.
I have found that our weekly Scholastic News does a great job with getting kids engaged with non-fiction reading. The articles are short and there is excellent examples of non-fiction text structure - maps, pictures with labels, graphs ..you name it. We read our Scholastic News every Friday afternoon and the kids can earn more reading points by completing a summary of their choice and completing the quiz on the back.
Scholastic News comes with an interactive whiteboard subscription with a video, text and everything you would need to be tech ready. I love it and the kids read it from cover to cover.
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Thanks for mentioning the Scholastic papers. They are good. There is even a science paper called Super Science for Grades 3 -6. Here is the link. Super Science
Another student magazine worth considering is the National Geographc Explorer magazines which can be ordered at differentiated levels. Pathfinder is the grade 4-6 magazine but Pioneer is grade 2-3. Although the reading level is different, the content is the same. I used these magazines quite a bit in my classroom. They provided short, quality non-fiction text for my students to read. They would fit in perfectly now with the expectations of the Common Core in ELA.
They can be expensive so I always looked for funding from parent, PTO, had bake sales etc.
National Geographic Explorer
I think I even have some around here, I will have to take a look.
Anyway, thanks Polly, for reminding me of these resources. Do others have ideas for short, explicit text that can be used in the classroom?
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