In science, the use of trade books is a literacy strategy that is being used more commonly in the classroom, such as informational text and nonfiction trade books. (Atkinson, Matusevich, and Huber, 2009; Mantzicopulos and Patrick, 2011; Rice, 2002). The use of nonfiction trade books has beco crucial part of elementary education because they help students understand science concepts better (Atkinson, Matusevich, and Huber, 2009). By using trade books, teachers are able to build upon the understanding of science that the students gained while introducing other scientific concepts.
Trade books can make it easier for students who have difficulty or reluctance to read can help teachers connect to them with science topics (Atkinson, Matusevich, and Huber, 2009). While supporting individual interest, focus, and learning, students are learning both literacy and science through informational text (Mantzicopulos and Patrick, 2011). Teachers use informational text to help students connect to their lives and experiences and science concepts. The use of informational texts is an opportunity for students to become familiar with reading the genre and learning science concepts (Mantzicopulos and Patrick, 2011).
Trade books are being used as supplements to aid in the science instruction (Rice, 2002). Science trade books are usually more up to date than the science textbooks within some elementary schools. Science textbooks can sometimes be too difficult for the students to read and be very dull so as a result the students are not learning the concepts that they should be. Science trade books can be easier for students to read and understand as well as something that is far more interesting. Trade books can help the students to develop their literacy skills of predicting and organizing while learning the science concepts.
The learning cycle is a strategy that engages the students in hands-on experiences while learning science concepts and developing literacy skills (Rice, 2002). The first stage introduces the science concepts through various introductory activities. The final stage is where the students demonstrate their understanding of the science concepts and the literacy skills as well as where the teacher clarifies and reinforces any concepts that the students still do not understand completely (Rice, 2002). Trade books are an excellent tool to use during the introduction y science concepts because they are usually easy for students to understand and maintain their interest in the topic. Even though science trade books can be interesting and far easier for students to read than textbooks, teachers need to take into account that there could be some errors or misconceptions within the stories, especially in science fiction trade books. Despite there being a chance of the students misunderstanding the content that is being introduced in trade books, they can still be highly beneficial to the teaching of the science content (Rice, 2002).
These three articles on trade books all have similar conclusions about them and their use within a science classroom (Atkinson, Matusevich, and Huber, 2009; Mantzicopulos and Patrick, 2011; Rice, 2002). They all advocate that trade books can help students to learn science concepts easier due to the trade books being interesting and easy to read for the students in the science classroom. They also warn you about the misconceptions that trade books can contain and the harm it can cause students while teachers are trying to teach them certain science concepts.
But they do explain how to overcome these misconceptions by clarifying the information with the students or even making an activity out of the misconceptions within the stories. Above all, all three articles feel that trade books are highly important to the growth of literacy skills and the understanding of science content (Atkinson, Matusevich, and Huber, 2009; Mantzicopulos and Patrick, 2011; Rice, 2002).
Writing skills are another literacy strategy that can be used in a science classroom because writing s a component of literacy that is most apparent across the curriculum due it being a way for students to express their knowledge of the content and how well they understand the concepts (Rytash and Morgan, 2014). Mentor text can be used in science to help students develop their writing and science skills (Rytash and Morgan, 2014; Ediger, 2012). Mentor texts give students many opportunities to learn about the structure that informational texts contain, which is required to be taught under the Common Core Standards.
By using informational text in a science classroom, students learn how to analyze the content of the text as well as the context. When students understand how to identify and understand the structure informational text, they are able to pinpoint the important details of the text quickly and analyze the informational text accurately (Rytash and Morgan, 2014). This also helps students write more efficiently because they are able to view several different structures of informational texts so the students will have a general idea of how they should structure their own writing.
Writing does not only allow students to demonstrate their knowledge of the science content but also shows how well the students understand how language and writing are used converse, produce, and build the scientific knowledge that students need (Rytash and Morgan, 2014). In science, having students write an informational text will help them to build a strong understanding of literacy skills and science concepts. Informational text involves an introduction of a topic, a general focus, and group together the information in a logical manner.
Science has a range of concepts that students can write an informational text. Writing an informational text, the students will gain a deeper understanding of the science topic they choice to write about and an improvement of their writing skills (Rytash and Morgan, 2014). Informational text requires students to do research, which is important for them to learn. Writing an informational text also requires to writing critically and analyze the information they will use within their paper.
For some tudents, writing an informational text in a science class could be challenging because they have to conduct research then compile all the data into a well written paper. But it is beneficial for students to read and write both informational text involving science topics because both forms of informational texts improves literacy and science skills (Rytash and Morgan, 2014). Writing in science is important because it develops the students’ critical and creative thinking, assessing information, knowledge of science concepts, literacy skills, and writing skills (Edige 2012).
Writing in science promotes scientific intelligence, which is where the students are able to view evidence with an open mind and without any form of bias or opinion. Students have to be able to summarize information in order to write a scientific paper efficiently. Peer groups allow the students an opportunity to work with their classmates in a small group to discuss science topics and learn from each other. Peer groups allow the students to clarify any misunderstanding that their classmates may have.
Students keeping a science notebook can help them to develop their writing skills and keep track of their observations (Ediger, 2012). A science notebook encourages students to develop their thinking skills, for example identifying the purpose of chloroplast in a plant cell (Ediger, 2012; Nesbit, Hargrove, Harrelson, and Maxey, 2004). Science notebooks show the ongoing learning that students are preforming during their science lessons. It can also show teachers what science concepts students understand and what concepts that they need to reteach or emphasize on better.
It is also important for teachers to assess their students writing to make sure they are understanding the material and receiving feedback so they can continue to improve. Students are able to get a better understanding of their improvement in both their writing skills and understanding of science concepts by reviewing current and past science writing assignments with them. Writing in science is crucial for the students to participate in because it is a way for students to truly grasp the information they are learning in class