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. One of Laurie’s favorites, a screech owl she named Nascha, also makes its home nearby, trilling softly at night for its mate. Through her books, Laurie endeavors to spark children’s curiosity about the incredible diversity of life on our planet and to become avid nature lovers and explorers. Laurie attended Parson’s School of Design in NYC. Her first book for Dawn was award-winning Octopus Escapes Again!
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.
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!
Every year the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and in cooperation with the Children’s Book Council (CBC) selects the most outstanding science trade books.
Tall Tall Tree has just been selected for this prestigious honor! Young readers explore the wildlife in a redwood tree through counting, rhyme, and some hidden surprises.
Reading science trade books is the perfect way for students to build literacy skills while learning science content.
Other Dawn books that have won this award include:
The winter solstice, the longest night of the year, is December 21st, followed closely by Hanukkah the 24th and Christmas on the 25th. Celebrate the season with these suggestions for outdoor rituals, crafts, and experiences for home or school.
See the Sunrise or Sunset. Throughout December take time to go outside every day and notice the sun. Try to do it at the same time each day—possibly at sunrise or sunset if you’re at home, or at the beginning or end of the school day. If you keep this commitment throughout the year, you’ll really notice the change in the day’s length and the sun’s path.
Make a Yule Wreath. Make a wreath of evergreens (or purchase one) and invite family members or students create a small card illustrating something they appreciate about winter. Have each person show their card and share something about it. Then attach the card to the wreath and display it in a prominent location. On New Year’s Day, remove the cards (you can keep them in scrap book) and return the wreath back to nature.
Celebrate Twice—Both Inside and Outside. Celebrate Christmas as you usually do inside, and also create a NEW tradition of celebrating Christmas outside. You might decorate a tree with pinecones smeared with peanut butter (something the birds will appreciate) or play a game of “Outdoor Scavenger Hunt” as you look for items in nature that begin with the letters of the alphabet. Encourage creativity, especially for challenging letters, such as eXtra-ordinary leaf or Zebra-shaped cloud. Preparing food outside over an open fire is always fun. S’mores anyone?
Show the Way with Luminaries. Hanukkah is a Festival of Lights that is traditionally celebrated with lighted candles. This year decorate your walkway or front porch with paper bag luminaries. Cut holes, stars, or hearts in the bags and fill them with sand for stability. Place a wax votive or battery-operated candle inside each bag and enjoy the inviting glow.
Include the Environment in New Year’s Resolutions. If you’re going to make resolutions at the beginning of year, you might want to add one or two that are good for the environment. Here are some ideas to get you started: commit to turning out the lights whenever you leave a room, grow a windowsill herb garden, donate items you don’t need or use, use natural cleaning products, compost food scraps, or decide to make one energy-efficient change to your home.