Looking for a way to get your science students reading? Try using some of the following ideas and resources.
Bestselling Science: Books by authors such as Michael Crichton, James Rollins, and Dan Brown are action packed and loaded with science facts. These authors fuse real cutting edge science issues with action and drama for a high interest read. Most importantly they all include appendices that address the truth and fiction behind the science concepts central to the plots of their amazing stories.
Audio Books and e-Readers: Have students listen to excerpts of popular novels with science concepts central to the story. Students may take an interest and decide to explore further on their own. Also, e-Readers like the Kindle come with free books and loan programs.
Explicitly Teach Tier 2 and Tier 3 Vocabulary to Students: Students often have difficulty learning science because all students are Academic Language Learners. Academic language is very different from social language, and must be explicitly taught. Tier 2 language is complex language not used often in social speech, but a common feature of written academic language. Tier 3 language is content specific language. Science has a lot of Tier 3, content specific language that is often taught as a part of a new unit of study. For more information on vocabulary tiers see the attached pdf that can also be found here.
Use Reading Strategies: Strategies such as Cloze notes, Cornell Lectures and Cornell Notes, Graphic Organizers can be very helpful tools in engaging students in science courses, and ensuring that they have adequate background for abstract and important content. Websites like LD Online provide a variety of strategies for engaging students with learning disabilities that can be used with many struggling learners.
Build A Classroom Library: Collect a variety of informational reading materials at various reading levels to ensure all students have access to a literacy rich classroom experience. Use Discovery Education articles and resources to provide students with extra reading practice. Assign professional journal readings and activities to students in the secondary classroom to ensure that your students are exposed to real world scientific research and writing, and are prepared for college level reading and writing in the science classroom. To get help building your classroom library, consider making bookstores like Barnes & Noble, and others, partners in education. Reach out to authors, publishing houses, and scientific organizations for help in building your library.
If you have tried any of these techniques to increase reading in your science classroom, please post your comments and experiences. We would love to hear from you!