Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Science For Little Eyes

We tell children that if you can read, you can learn about anything. But this truth is then often set aside while our children learn to read the first 20 - 100 words. Instead we give children stories of characters doing impossible, imaginative things that have little or no bearing on the real world around them.

Honesty, a yard full of pink snow? And I don’t know any talking rats, cats, or foxes.

While these wonderful, entertaining books do play a vital role in learning to read, why not also show our children from the very start that reading can be a practical tool for learning about the world around them?

Now, more than ever, teachers are encouraged to include more nonfiction in their classroom. The problem is the vocabulary of almost every non-fiction book is beyond a 1st grade level of independent reading. One solution to this problem is what my daughter’s teacher did. She printed up simple one-paragraph reports about animals on handwriting paper. The class traced the letters of the report. “Of course, the children can’t read the words,” the teacher later explained to the parents, “But they are at least being exposed to nonfiction.”

Authors employ another solution to this problem when they split the content of each page. At the top are the short easy words, and below are the more complex explanations of concepts. This was done with

Most think that Kindergarten sight word list is to restrictive for science. But I like a challenge. I wrote a how-to picture book that a 5-year-old can read independently. Curious? Email me, and I’ll send you the text free.