The ScienceStart! Guided Reading Activity Sheet supports best practices in reading aloud to children. Among many other benefits, reading aloud to young children is a strong predictor of how easily they will learn to read.
Many parents are uncertain how to read to their children. This is especially true if they were never read to themselves. For this reason, we have developed a simple handout that guides parents through what we know to be the best practices for reading aloud. When they follow the activity guide, parents will do much more than simply read the words of the text. They will help their children develop:
- oral expression skills
- comprehension skills
- drawing inferences
- making predictions
- translating spoken words into drawn representations
For more information about how the Guided Reading Activity Sheet was used by ScienceStart! parents who participated in our Early Reading First Grant, view the article “The Case For A Preschool Lending Library”.
Children's Books For ScienceStart!
Each ScienceStart! preschool daily lesson plan includes a children’s book that is related to the topic of the day’s science investigation. This book may be used in several ways, but most typically as content for the REFLECT & ASK phase, following a class discussion about the previous day’s investigation. In addition, each day’s lesson plan includes instructions for several literacy activities and these are often related to the book.
The list provided here are the books contained in the ScienceStart! lesson plans and intended for reading aloud. Most of these books are easily available in libraries or on-line. If a particular book is not available, a teacher can easily substitute another book with similar content.
Compared to a few years ago, there are now many informational texts for children. In addition, many storybooks can be used to introduce and talk about science concepts.
When reading aloud, teachers can adjust the text to the children in the classroom, for example, pausing to define words, to ask for predictions of what might happen next, or to discuss possible motivations for characters’ actions. Once they have heard a story read aloud, some children want to hear it again and again. The internet contains videos of favorite children’s books being read aloud and some of these can be made available as a playlist in the classroom listening center.
In addition to the books for daily read-alouds, the classroom should contain a number of other books on the science topics for children to look at during free reading periods or to consult (with the teachers’ guidance) to better understand their investigations. And of course, the classroom should contain a wide range of favorite children’s books for students to look at during free time and to take home to read with an adult or older sibling.