Reading the Environment: Children's Literature in the Science Classroom

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How would you rather learn about the rock cycle: from a textbook or from Joanna Cole's The Magic School Bus ? Most students would vote for Joanna Cole's book or any number of other trade books whose authors know how to make science come to life. This practical and inviting handbook shows how you can take advantage of children's natural love of good literature like this in the science classroom.

Reading the Environment demonstrates how you can bring together the best of the language arts and the science curriculums to instill in students a curiosity about the world around them. The book focuses on four broad subjects that are traditionally covered in elementary science: reading the landscape, the weather and season cycles, water from the mountains to the sea, and the ocean. The author offers valuable guidance on teaching these topics, including:

  • background information such as explanations of current scientific knowledge, definitions of terms, and related social issues
  • brief synopses of relevant trade books, both fiction and nonfiction
  • hands-on science activities
  • suggestions for class discussion
  • student writing activities such as creating a field guide, writing a "rock history," keeping a naturalist's notebook, and much more
  • bibliography of books mentioned in that chapter.

In addition to recommending specific titles, Reading the Environment also suggests guidelines for evaluating trade books and topic areas to look for within each subject when adding new releases.

This book will support pre-K-6 teachers who feel the need to upgrade their science teaching and learning. Those who already excel in science teaching will benefit from a new approach that engages students.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This book should be within arm's reach of every elementary teacher, librarian, and administrator, for it is a treasure chest filled with invaluable insights, references, and suggestions.”–Science and Children
School Library Journal
This book has much to offer teachers who are anxious to expand their students' natural curiosity about the world. Author Mary Cerullo, who has written four children's books about the ocean, is knowledgeable about science and young learners. Cerullo maintains that combining science and literature can help children explain events they observe, develop reading and recording skills, and understand how science has affected human history. For those who are creating or revising a science curriculum for pre-K-six students, Cerullo provides criteria for selecting science trade books. She also recommends fiction and nonfiction titles for enhancing the study of earth science, the ocean, weather and the seasons, and the movement of water from the mountains to the sea. Each of the above subjects is covered in a single chapter, so you don't have to read the book from cover to cover. Cerullo suggests science activities and discussion topics, and lists complete bibliographic information for cited books at the end of each chapter. This title would be a worthy addition to your professional collection or a great resource for selecting library materials. In today's world of outstanding science books, few would disagree with Cerullo's viewpoint that science trade books surpass textbooks as learning tools.Edith Ching, St. Albans School for Boys, Washington, DC
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780435083830
  • Publisher: Heinemann
  • Publication date: 4/10/1997
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 152
  • Age range: 5 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.32 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary Cerullo describes herself as a "science interpreter." The author of four children's books on the ocean, she was named Outstanding Marine Educator of the Year in 1992. Cerullo is currently the communications coordinator for the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance and works with parents, educators, and community groups on science and math education reform.
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Table of Contents

Why Science and Literature Belong Together

Reading the Landscape: Earth Science

Weather and Storms

Water from the Mountains to the Sea


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