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Language and Literacy in Inquiry-Based Science Classrooms, Grades 3-8

Language and Literacy in Inquiry-Based Science Classrooms, Grades 3-8

Foreword by Sandra K. Abell

Science Methods

September 2010 | 168 pages | Corwin

"Finally, a book with sound research and ready-to-use strategies to connect reading and science!"
—Jenny Sue Flannagan, Director, Martinson Center for Mathematics and Science, School of Education, Regent University

"This work shows how reading scientific texts differs from reading literary texts and describes the tools teachers need to teach reading in science."
—Stephen P. Norris, Canada Research Chair in Scientific Literacy, University of Alberta

"The authors address what few recognize—that reading is an issue in science, but ultimately no one is teaching students to read science."
—Sally Koczan, Science Teacher, Wydown Middle School, Clayton, MO

Boost students' understanding of science with literacy strategies!

Research has long supported the positive effects of integrating literacy practices into the science curriculum; now this helpful and timely resource offers science educators effective strategies that they can implement immediately. Teachers of students in Grades 3–8 will find innovative ideas—aligned with national science education standards—for incorporating language analysis and science literature into inquiry-based science classrooms. Included are activities as well as sample lessons to help students:

  • Read and comprehend science texts
  • Find related resources to explore particular interests
  • Build their science vocabulary
  • Write to learn science concepts

This volume is valuable for teachers, leaders of professional development workshops, institutes, topical seminars in science and literacy, science and reading methods courses, and study groups.

Foreword by Sandra K. Abell
About the Authors
About the Co-Authors
1. Teaching Science as Inquiry
Inquiry-Based Science

Language and Literacy in Inquiry-Based Science

Overview of This Book

2. The Challenges of Science Reading
What Does It Take to Comprehend a Text?

Linguistic Challenges of Science Reading


3. Using Trade Books to Support Science Inquiry
Why Read Trade Books in Science?

Award-Winning Science Trade Books

Becoming Familiar With the Format of Science Trade Books

Using Trade Books to Empower Science Learning


4. Learning Language, Learning Science
Building a Language-Rich Science Curriculum

Developing Vocabulary Knowledge

Learning About Nouns

Disentangling Discourse


5. Scaffolding Reading Through Strategy Instruction
Reading Strategy Instruction and Text Comprehension

Reading Strategy Instruction in Action: A Vignette

Bootstrapping Comprehension: Activating and Integrating Prior Knowledge

Monitoring Comprehension: Promoting Thinking During Reading

Consolidating Comprehension: Organizing Information From Text

Principles and Practice of Reading Strategy Instruction in Science


6. Learning to Write and Writing to Learn in Science
Why Write in Science?

Learning to Write Scientifically

Writing to Learn in Science: An Instructional Framework

Implementing the Writing-to-Learn-Science Instructional Model

Classroom Activities That Promote Writing to Learn Science



"This is a much-needed addition to the science teacher’s library. Our students’ inability to comprehend the written word in science text is the single biggest hindrance to their continuing in their studies, and thus the primary reason we often lose them after elementary school."

Linda Keteyian, Science and Math Teacher
Priest Elementary School, Detroit, MI

"This book addresses an issue that is like an elephant in the room. Everyone knows that reading is an issue in science, but ultimately no one is teaching students to read science."

Sally Koczan, Science Teacher
Wydown Middle School, Clayton, MO

"Finally, a book that not only provides sound research, but also offers practical, ready-to-use reading and vocabulary strategies to connect reading and science!"

Jenny Sue Flannagan, Director
Martinson Center for Mathematics and Science, School of Education, Regent University

"Reading and writing can no longer be optional extras in the science classroom. This work shows how the demands of reading scientific texts differ from those of reading literary texts, clarifies the features of scientific text that must be learned so that it's readable, and describes the tools teachers need to teach reading in science."

Stephen P. Norris, Canada Research Chair in Scientific Literacy
University of Alberta

"This must-read book sets the standard for teaching reading comprehension with expository text!  I have already implemented some of the activities mentioned with great success."

Briana Nurse, Middle School Literacy Coach and Founder of Wellness Tutoring Services
North Bergen, NJ

"This book embeds literacy tasks into science inquiry to enhance the functionality of instruction, support the construction of understanding, and develop a fundamental sense of science literacy. This results in fuller participation in the public debate about issues of science, technology, society and environment, which in turn leads to informed decisions and sustainable actions."

Larry D. Yore, Distinguished Professor
Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Faculty of Education, University of Victoria

"My first thoughts were, 'I’m not one of those teachers who teaches science by reading out of the book.' Sneaking the strategies in Language and Literacy in the Inquiry Based Science Classrooms, Grades 3-8 convinced me that students could learn science and improve their literacy skills without taking away from my curriculum. The methods and ideas in this book are useful, non-threatening and helped me apply language practices that enhance science."

Sara Charbonnet, Science teacher, Department Chair
Westwood Middle School, School Board of Alachua County, FL

When comparing books, I preferred the resources in the Constructivist Science Book for beginning preservice teachers. The other book reads in an easier format for my students and has more relevant information given their new enrollment within our program.

Mrs Catherine Scott
Curriculum Instruction Dept, University of North Carolina - Greensboro
October 18, 2010
Key features

· Provides chapter objectives, resources, and tools in each chapter such as vocabulary thinkcharts, concept definition wordmaps, sample dialogues, comprehension strategies, suggested literature reading lists, and more.

· Includes sample integrated reading-inquiry science lessons and exemplar lessons on literature infusion, establishes a rationale for integrating reading with science, and suggests ideas for translating the national science education standards into classroom practice

· Discusses the nature of the reading comprehension process and identifies the unique challenges of science reading in early and intermediate grades

· Elucidates the relevance of language to science literacy, describes classroom-based strategies for helping students cope with the specialized language of science, and identifies the discourse features of common genres in school science

· Describes strategies for reading instruction in the science classroom, including guidance on how to activate/develop prior knowledge, monitor text comprehension, describe strategies for organizing information from text, and provide sample reading strategy lesson plans for science

· Includes a chapter on using writing to learn science and on teaching students to write using different genres

· Devotes an entire chapter, currently, to overcoming barriers, with coverage of the challenges associated with reading-science integration and strategies that science teachers can use to engineer school changes in support of their efforts; this will be folded into Ch 1, as a way to defuse questions and concerns

· Includes an appendix with sample inquiry-based science units that integrate reading, writing, and literature; an appendix with science literature resources that spotlights notable authors, illustrators, and publishers of award-winning books; and an annotated list of helpful professional books, journals, and organizations

For instructors

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ISBN: 9781452271750

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