Is your school like mine? They want you to fit everything into a certain amount of time, and that amount is NEVER enough! Teachers are always looking for ways to combine topics and subjects, and my favorite two subjects to combine are literacy and science. So what are some ways that work when integrating science and literacy?
Is Integrating Science And Literacy Easy?
It may seem like the two have barely anything to do with each other. Literacy is reading, and science is full of experiments, right? WRONG… well, sorta. Inside the science classroom, students are expected to read many different non-fiction texts such as textbooks, experiment instructions, articles, and more. There are many chances for you to use science texts and have students read them and practice literacy skills.
When students reread texts, they often find more information than during their first read. This activity is called close reading, and it is totally ok to have your students read the same text multiple times during different learning times.
So can you use science texts during your ELA block and literature during your Science block? 100% YES!
Ways of Easily Integrating Science And Literacy
I’ve been trying to integrate science and literacy instruction for a couple of years now and feel like I finally found the sweet spot! Here are some ways I like to bring science into my literacy block and literacy into my science block.
Science Nonfiction Texts
I try to incorporate science nonfiction texts into my science and literacy blocks as possible. It’s a great idea to build background knowledge before starting a new unit or experiment. You can find some great resources in the library. If you can’t find what you are for, I may have something to help you.
I knew science was the perfect subject to use close reading in, but I couldn’t find enough 5th grade level texts for topics like types of energy, bodily systems, or animal behaviors. So I created one!
This year-long science close reading bundle is the perfect solution if you are integrating science and literacy!
- 47 Informational Texts
- 470 Multiple Choice Questions with Answer Key (10 questions for each text)
- Teacher Tips
- Questions to Ask Students
- Close Reading Steps on a Bookmark
The coolest thing about science texts, whether using the resource above or books from your library or the school’s library, is students can read them through different lenses depending on which content area you are reading them in. During science, you read the texts through the lens of a scientist, but during English language arts, you read the texts through the lens of a reader.
Literacy Strategies For Science and ELA
When teaching literacy through science, you have to remember science resources are just informational texts, and these are perfect for reading comprehension. When common core first came into play, there was a significant push for non-fiction texts. Many students wanted to read them, but few really understood them and could comprehend them as they should.
Now that we are moving away from the common core. We still need our students to understand these texts, and showing them how these complex texts are scientific but can easily be broken down with strategies we use during ELA is an easy way to do this!
You can use highlighters and a graphic organizer to analyze them and break the texts apart to look at different reading skills like the main idea, compare and contrast, vocabulary, and more!
Inside my Close Reading Science Bundle, you’ll find science literacy activities like:
“Annotate the Text” and “Mark the Text”
- How to Mark the Text Bookmark
- How to Annotate the Text Bookmark
- 7 Graphic Organizers:
1. Main Ideas with Text Evidence
2. Ideas with Text Evidence
3. Central Ideas with Details
4. Main Idea with Details, Main Idea, Details, Conclusion
6. Overview: Topic, Author’s Purpose, Key Vocabulary, Most Important Thing,
I wonder, Important Facts, Illustration
7. Context Clues (3 versions: 3 words, 4 words, 5 words)
While practicing these reading skills, you also hit on science standards by familiarizing and exposing students to different science topics. It’s a two-for-one deal, and who could pass it up!?
Integrating Science and Literacy
When integrating science and literacy, it is important to discuss how readers often look at texts through different lenses. Everyone reads texts differently and often get different things/point of view/important information out of it, and this doesn’t change when you are talking about literacy in science books!
When reading science books or texts during science class, I often tell my students we are reading these texts as scientists. We are looking for information to learn about a specific science topic, and we are not worrying about the main idea or cause and effect. Although integrated science lessons will help them easily see those things as well!
When reading science books or texts during ELA class, I tell my students we are looking at the texts as readers. We will surely find some new information we may have missed in science class, but we will be looking at how it is written and why it is written.
Fiction In Science
Don’t be afraid to use fiction readings in your science and ELA block too. Students can gain a lot of information from fiction stories.
Just think about Humpty Dumpty.
- Cause and effect
- Central idea and details
- Author’s purpose
- And more
- Forces and Motion
- And More
They are great interest builders and fact-checkers. So many fiction stories have objects floating or someone running faster than the speed of light and read about those topics. Your students can use their science and reading brains to become myth busters!
If you are looking for an ELA project, try a living museum. This project can incorporate science, social studies, and ELA. Have students read about a famous scientist, inventor, or other people important to the scientific community. Writing a speech, they then dress up like that person and share it.
Integrating Science and Literacy: The Wrap Up
It’s easy just to decide you want to integrate science and literacy. But, there is some work you will want to do. Look into your curriculums and see where you can intertwine the two. You do not want to just randomly read a science text in the middle of a unit about fairy tales (unless it really makes sense).
Look into different professional development opportunities. Many schools want teachers to start integrating science and literacy together, and the same thing with social studies and literacy. If your school is offering professional learning opportunities, take them!
Remember, science texts are informational texts, and they often can teach many valuable reading skills while in science or ELA class!
Looking to read more about science? Check these blog posts out.