First Grade Second Language: Uniting Science Knowledge and Literacy Development
- Articles, Blog

First Grade Second Language: Uniting Science Knowledge and Literacy Development


Opportunities to learn science in first grade are important for children’s science knowledge development. And, the importance of science instruction in first grade has received even more emphasis with the next generation science standards in place. Unfortunately, the emphasis on learning to read and to write has often left very little room in the classroom school day for science instruction. We’ve been working in classrooms to design a model of instruction that integrates science and literacy. We really wanted to test the idea that a multi-modal approach to integration could include for first graders reading to learn science as a complement to doing and talking about science ideas. The goals of this project were to design and develop a model of science and literacy integration in which first graders especially those who are learning English as a Second Language learn science concepts and grow as readers and writers and speakers of English. Teachers provided critical feedback while we were in classrooms that helped us design the model and helped us to make sure that it was appropriate for first grade learners and usable by first grade classroom teachers. With our interest in reading to learn a unique feature of our units is a set of five books that are uniquely designed to foster and complement the hands-on investigation and help students to learn how to read like scientists. It was a really great opportunity for me to see students reading to learn, which is really what we’re hoping to develop in first grade for our lifelong readers. And, to do it through science was a really great opportunity for them to not only do it through books, but also through hands-on activities things that they actually got to do in real life. And, to bridge all of those gaps with the books as kind of that foundation. So, what have we learned? Using outcome measures of science vocabulary and reading comprehension of informational text and a science knowledge assessment the results favor the treatment condition in all cases. And, in some cases by a large margin. Importantly we’ve been able to take what we’ve learned through the design and the development activities of the project to further refine our model of integration. And, then to revise the units that we originally wrote and offer them for publication.

About James Carlton

Read All Posts By James Carlton

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *