Perspectives: Children’s Literature and the Science Classroomby: Sandra K. Abell

Journal ArticleDigital resources are stored online in your NSTA Library.

Children’s literature, or trade books, address many scientific topics, both in narrative and expository forms. They provide a context for developing process skills (Monhardt and Monhardt 2006) and help create a sense of place (Wells and Zeece 2007). In addition, they are often more fun to read than a dry textbook, accommodate a wide variety of reading skills and learning styles, and are often more up-to-date and inclusive of women and minorities than textbooks (Rice 2002). However, teachers need to use caution when selecting books for a given science unit. This month’s column describes some strategies that can be used to incorporate children’s literature in the science classroom effectively.

  • Elementary
Publication Date

Community ActivitySaved in 137 Libraries

Reviews (2)
  • on Fri Nov 11, 2011 10:16 AM

Not all children’s science trade books are equal. After discussing why children’s literature is good the reader learn learns about some of the problems associated with them. Citing a study about children’s ideas after being read a story, we learn that young children are strongly influenced by a trade book stories whether they are correct or not. The conclusion of this article emphasizes the need to find the best books to read to their students and how to go about this task.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Thu Jul 21, 2011 7:29 PM

This article alerts elementary school teachers to the problems inherent in incorporating children’s literature with science. One study found that many children’s books used only domesticated mammals and rarely pictured wild animals in their natural habitats. In 79 children’s books about the moon, it was continually misrepresented pictorially; this reinforces misconceptions about moon phases. There were many errors in drawings and misinformation abounded. For example slugs were identified as bugs, quicksand was found in jungles only, and camouflage variations were highly exaggerated. This brings to mind my own personal protest about “The Very Hungry Caterpillar “ making a cocoon – yet emerging as a butterfly instead of a moth! The author provides advise for identifying the best books for a science unit. Finally, she explains that some researchers suggest using books with scientific errors on purpose. This will provide opportunities for your students to practice critical reading strategies and cause them to question the accuracy of what they read.

Carolyn M  (Buffalo Grove, IL)
Carolyn M (Buffalo Grove, IL)

Free - NSTA Members

$0.99 - Nonmembers

Login or Create a Free Account to add this resource to your library.