Using Literacy & Language Skills to Improve Science Comprehension
Many studies have been conducted to show the connection between teaching with a cross-curricular approach, that is, relating multiple subject disciplines within each class. These studies show that connecting content and skills from other subjects enhance the student's learning and improve their comprehension. It might not surprise you then to hear that reading and writing skills are closely linked to how well students can perform in science class. As students gain reading and writing strategies their ability to understand science content will improve as well. This is particularly important for our elementary and middle school students who are still building a foundation with their reading and writing skills.
I don't know about you but I have had a hard time finding good writing resources that provide plenty of practice and step-by-step instruction. I currently have two interactive writing lessons for elementary students including How to Summarize and How to Write a Paragraph. Be sure to snag my FREEBIE Parts of a Paragraph Game.
There is a science theme to most of the written paragraphs and sentences in these lessons to encourage an interdisciplinary approach so that students can learn scientific topics while practicing their writing skills. Teaching students to write can be a real challenge but these interactive lessons will make your job a whole lot easier!
In addition to these writing-focused activities, I have begun a line of science-themed lessons and activities that incorporate language arts practices. My most recent science resource covers 9 body systems and includes an interactive flip-book with writing prompts, 9 close-reading science sheets with comprehension and language skills practice, and a Taboo review game of the vocabulary terms covered in the unit.
With this particular resource, students will begin by reading a paragraph about a particular body system. Then they will be asked three questions. The language skills practiced on these sheets include vocabulary, fact vs opinion, main idea, parts of speech, comprehension, supporting sentences, and the parts of a paragraph.
Next, students complete a portion of their flip-book. The flip-book includes a coloring page and three writing prompts for each body system. Students will practice writing complete sentences that demonstrate their knowledge of each particular body system. The book can be printed front to back to save on printing and the reading sheets are also the same size as the flip-book pages so they can be added to the end of the book. The books are a great tool for teachers to have for parent-teacher conferences or open house!
Lastly, students can play a review Taboo game with the vocabulary terms they learned from this unit. If you are unfamiliar with Taboo, the goal of the game is to get students to describe the vocabulary term without saying any of the words listed below the term. Taboo is a great way to get students to practice using their oral speech and descriptive language while having fun!
I plan to create more science themed resources that incorporate language arts and would love to hear from you about what kinds of topics would be most helpful in your classroom! Comment below for suggestions and don't forget to subscribe to my newsletter for access to all my freebies!