Teaching kids to read shouldn’t be left up to the reading or ELA teacher. Informational texts are challenging for kids and they need as much exposure to them as possible to develop the skills neeed to comprehend what they read. Teaching kids to read informational texts is an important job for a Science teacher. Scaffolding the challenging task is a good way to introduce your science, or even Social Studies, students to informational texts. Here are my strategies for gradually releasing the responsibility to the student.
*** Let the students read the text individually at every reading. If you are reading aloud, read after they have read the initial reading.
Follow these phases of reading. As students master one phase, move up to the next.
1. Read the text aloud and guide students through highlighting and note taking.
2. Read the text aloud while students follow along and underline or highlight important facts. Pause after each paragraph for the students to hot down any notes they think they need.
3. Students can read, highlight, and take notes on their own.
**Working in a small group can allow struggling readers to stay at early levels of the scaffolding while the other students progress.
**In addition to note taking, students should be provided with a graphic organizer and write a summary to process the information.
Science Reading Bingo
Reading Science materials is a great way to build knowledge. When students complete their assignments early, I have a wall set up for Science Reading Bingo. Throughout the unit, they can work to read each of the articles or books that I have sitting in small baskets on the wall. Here is how it works. I have 9 or 16 small baskets hanging on the wall set up to mimic the bingo sheet I give them. For the baskets, I have found cheap shower caddies at Hobby Lobby that are small and narrow, but a folder would work just as well. In each basket or folder, I place some readings that pertain to the currents unit, some that have topics which review previous units, and one or two that have topics to build curiosity for the future. These readings can be quality articles or printed texts that you find online or small books/ booklets. Students can quietly take their bingo card and chose a new reading to complete. It is good to have a reading response activity on the bingo card for the student to complete the square.
Grab these bingo cards for your Science Bingo wall! Fill it in with article titles or a question for each article. To add text, place the pictures in a power point and add a text box over them.
Graphic organizers are a fun way for students to “show their work” in reading.
Grab these two free graphic organizers to get you started in your Science class!
How to make your own graphic organizers for your class:
1. Use power point because the shapes will stay where you put them, and you can manipulate the shapes much more easily.
2. Decide which format of graphic organizer fits your objective. (sequencing, planning, main idea and details, comparing…)
3. Pick shapes that match the concept you are teaching. Insert –> Shapes –> Draw the shape on your slide
4. Add any images or clipart that might make this organizer even more exciting.