Connecting Children and Nature
Reading aloud books about science can serve several purposes, including sparking children’s interest in science topics and improving their reading and comprehension skills. The following tips are excerpted or paraphrased from Even More Picture Perfect Science Lessons, K-5 by authors Emily Morgan and Karen Ansberry. They’re sure to help you make your read-aloud time productive and meaningful.
- Preview the Book—Make sure the book meets your science objectives. Check for any errors or misinformation. Decide if you will read the entire book or just part of it.
- Set the Stage—Remember that reading aloud is a performance. Gather students in a special reading area and make sure they can easily see you andthe book. Clarify expectations for appropriate behavior.
- Celebrate the Author and Illustrator—Tell students the names of the author and illustrator, showing them photos and adding interesting biographical information. Mention other titles they’ve written or illustrated.
- Read with Expression—Practice reading the book aloud to improve your performance. Engage your audience with louder and softer speech, funny voices, dramatic pauses, facial expressions, or gestures. Make eye contact with students now and then as you read.
- Share Pictures—Hold the book so all students can see the illustrations or photos on each page. In some cases you may want to wait to show the image until children have a chance to visualize what is happening in the text.
- Encourage Interaction—Keep chart paper and pens handy to record questions or new information. Provide children with “think pads” so they can write down their thoughts and questions. Give children opportunities to “turn and talk” with a partner.
- Keep the Flow—Avoid excessive interruptions that might disrupt fluent, expressive reading. If the book combines a story with science content, you may want to read it first for the story and a second time to emphasize the content.
- Model Reading Strategies—Before, during, and after reading aloud model these six key reading strategies: making connections, questioning, visualizing, inferring, determining importance, and synthesizing.
- Don’t Put It Away—Keep the book accessible to students after you read it. Give them an opportunity to look carefully at the illustrations or read the book independently.
- Have Fun—Let your passion for books show. It is contagious! Seeing an authentic response from the reader is important for students—laugh at the funny parts and cry at the sad parts.
Artist of the Month
Laurie’s latest book is Paddle Perch Climb: Bird Feet Are Neat. Living alongside a creek in a wooded area, gives Laurie may opportunities to observe nature up close and personal. Her backyard is a playground for many wild creatures, as well as a diverse assortment of birds, including hawks, hummingbirds, and egrets.
Nature Books for Kids
Nature is a gentle teacher for children as they learn the skills and attitudes that will lead them to lifelong happiness and success. The examples and messages in Wonderful Nature, Wonderful You support children in remembering how wonderful they are, but they’re so much more than simple esteem boosters. They offer reassurance and guidance about how to perseverance, accept change, meet challenges, trust themselves, get along with others, and have fun. These messages are great for adults, too!