March/April 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 6

Book Review: Success in Science Through Dialogue, Reading, and Writing

Posted: Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

by Judy Sovel

Don’t let the title fool you…this book is not just for science teachers.  If you are an elementary or secondary teacher wondering how to build literacy using Common Core strategies, this book is an absolute necessity in your library.BookAlthough it is written for secondary science teachers, I can’t emphasize enough that this book is an amazing guide to implementing Common Core techniques across the curriculum throughout the grade levels, including elementary.  Authors Beauchamp, Kusnick, and McCallum call it a “Science Literacy Framework,” but all of the ideas included can be adapted very easily to social studies, math, or any other curricular area.  Best of all, the authors teach the reader to keep the (science) content at the forefront while using productive dialogue, purposeful reading assignments, and meaningful writing prompts as support systems to deliver content.

Every chapter is designed to increase student engagement.  There are sample lessons to illustrate what this approach looks like in the classroom, along with a dozen dialogue protocols offered as effective and engaging tools.  Want to learn how to support purposeful reading for all reading abilities in your class in a specific content area?  Nine techniques are outlined and all are easy to implement immediately. These promise to result in more engaged readers who focus on comprehension rather than just getting the assignment done.  Finally, you can learn to use writing as a window into your students’ thinking, mirroring the types of written challenges students will face in state testing and future careers. The sample writing prompts provided demonstrate the importance of giving interesting, motivating written assignments that lead to improvement in written communication.

After reading this book, I was astounded that the authors could illuminate my way toward 5th grade Common Core while still laying out science literacy for secondary teachers.  I recommend you read the book front to back and avoid skipping around because it falls together like a beautiful 3-D jigsaw puzzle in the end.  If you are a secondary science teacher who isn’t sure how to incorporate literacy in your content, this book will convince you it is not only possible but necessary and will leave you excited about trying it!  Elementary teachers, take heed.  You won’t want to let this gold nugget pass you by.  This book earns 5 brilliant stars!

Authors:  Arthur Beauchamp, Judi Kusnick, and Rick McCallum

ISBN:  978-0-692-01253-6

Published by:  The Regents of the University of California, Davis, 2011

Available by contacting:  http://sasp.ucdavis.edu/

Judy Sovel is a 5th grade teacher at McNear School in Petaluma, CA

Written by Guest Contributor

From time to time CSTA receives contributions from guest contributors. The opinions and views expressed by these contributors are not necessarily those of CSTA. By publishing these articles CSTA does not make any endorsements or statements of support of the author or their contribution, either explicit or implicit. All links to outside sources are subject to CSTA’s Disclaimer Policy: http://www.classroomscience.org/disclaimer.

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For tips on how to approach this document see our article from December 2016: California Has Adopted a New Science Curriculum Framework – Now What …? If you would like to learn more about the Framework, consider participating in one of the Framework Launch events (a.k.a. Rollout #4) scheduled throughout 2017.

The final publication version (formatted for printing) will be available in July 2017. This document will not be available in printed format, only electronically.

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Written by Guest Contributor

From time to time CSTA receives contributions from guest contributors. The opinions and views expressed by these contributors are not necessarily those of CSTA. By publishing these articles CSTA does not make any endorsements or statements of support of the author or their contribution, either explicit or implicit. All links to outside sources are subject to CSTA’s Disclaimer Policy: http://www.classroomscience.org/disclaimer.