Thursday, October 14, 2010

Outstanding Science Tradebooks 2010

I'm continuing my research on supplementary materials to use in our Science classrooms.  My goal is to find resources that take students beyond the textbook into the real world, providing the opportunity for inquiry and discovery.  In my last blog I posted two websites that I found to be a good jumping off point for my research.  They offered short Science articles for kids to read, videos, and photos to enhance any Science unit plan.  You can click here and here to browse through them if you didn't get a chance last post.

My focus this week shifts from websites to children's literature.  I've been in a lot of schools around the Des Moines area and one thing I've noticed is that Science is not regularly scheduled.  It may be once or twice or week or maybe even every other week, sometimes not at all.  This should not stand in your way of exposing students to Science!  Children's literature is a wonderful gateway to keep Science in your classroom.  There is an abundant amount of research explaining how non-fiction and fiction trade books increase content vocabulary, motivation, and comprehension.   I found one article published in the The Reading Teacher written by Danny Brassell titled Inspiring Young Scientist with Great Books.  (Find it in the December 2006/January 2007 issue, Vol. 60, No. 4.  It's a PDF otherwise I would provide a link).  It focused on the success a 3rd grade teacher had from using Science trade books for read alouds throughout the day.  She saw an increase in motivation, curiosity, and vocabulary specifically regarding Science. 

Using children's literature to incorporate other content areas such as Science and Social Studies is not a new concept in the teaching world, but finding excellent books to use can be overwhelming, difficult and time consuming.  Luckily, I found a wonderful resource that will not only save you time, but bring Science into your classroom. (National Science Teachers Association's website) offers a lot of great things for teaching Science, so I suggest spending sometime browsing.  For the past 37 years they have sustained a partnership with the CBC (Children's Book Council) to produce a list for Outstanding Science Trade Books for students K-12.  This is no regular book list.  For the first year NSTA and the CBC have arranged the books according to the National Science Education Standard they most fully support.  A full summary, suggested grade level and links for supplementary material that can extend and support learning is also provided.

Go to the list, check out the books and report back to me!  Are there any in particular you liked or didn't like?   


  1. I was very interested in this post. I actually started looking into using trade books that were free of misconceptions for my own post. I think that trade books are an excellent way to motivate and provide interest for the students. My cooperating teacher actually reads several trade books every day to our fifth graders. They absolutely love them and are really focused when she reads. Afterwards, they always have a discussion about what information was present in the book along with the author's message. Incorporating trade books into each subject is important, because they provide an extra opportunity for the students to learn.
    I didn't get to look at any of the books on the list yet, but I'm definitely going to check a few of them out!

  2. Great idea! I love love love tradebooks. Especially working with younger grades (K-4 ideally), tradebooks are the key literature the students are being exposed to. My kindergarteners now just LOVE tradebooks as well. We read at least 3 books a day (not necessarily science) and there are hundreds of books in the classroom for the students to read/browse during daily five.

  3. That website was so helpful! I like that they were separated into categories, which makes it easier to find what you are looking for. Tradebooks are a great way to introduce topics, or clarify information for younger students. Older students also enjoy a read aloud and picture books (even if they don't admit it) The discussion that follows a read aloud can provide insight into your students' understanding, and their interest level. I think all teachers enjoy and encourage the use of supplementary texts. Textbooks get boring for everyone, and trade books are a great way to make things more interesting while still providing accurate information.

  4. I like to see that the National Science Teacher's Association and Children's Book Council teamed up to provide a list of engaging trade books that focus on the science standards. The fact that the two organizations have endorsed the books make me think they are great selections.

    This lists were great! I'm actually using the book "The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter's Wonder" for my science book annotation for our children's literature course because of the resource you provided. Thanks!