In this video segment from Between the Lions, the song "Look It Up" illustrates how words and images can provide important information. It combines ...
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- Take note of students' interests or talk to their parents to find out more about them. The whole class might want to select a subject to study or break into small groups or "clubs" to learn about topics of interest.
- Invite an expert to come speak to the class (about airplanes, boats, plants, cooking, etc.), bringing some source material if possible.
- Visit the library! Check out special sections and magazine collections. Read Check It Out! The Book About Libraries by Gail Gibbons before you go. Encourage parents to take their children to the library regularly.
- Ask a librarian at your local or school library to recommend good nonfiction books for young children. Children's author Gail Gibbons has written a series of simple informational texts on many subjects (e.g., trucks, cowboys, mummies, soccer). "Let's-Read-and-Find-Out-Science" by Franklyn M. Branley is a more advanced (K–2) series.
One of the strongest predictors of children's success in learning to read is early exposure to a variety of print and its uses. Good readers are fortunate to have access to a world of information. They frequently consult books, newspapers, magazines, computers, and maps when they have questions or ideas they want to pursue. Young children naturally become part of the culture of literacy when adults in their homes and classrooms help them use books and other print resources to build background knowledge.
The song "Look It Up" celebrates an important function of print—specifically, how text can provide information about the world. Children want to know more about their favorite topics, and parents and teachers can feed this curiosity and boost children's motivation by showing them how exciting it is to track down useful information in print.
"Look It Up" mentions several interesting topics, from mosquitoes and whales to earthquakes and planets. Informational texts can be difficult for beginning readers, and children are more motivated to read when they are interested in the topic, so the best subjects to explore in print are ones children find compelling. Struggling readers, in particular, are more likely to give reading the time and practice required if the topic interests them. Teachers can identify children's interests by listening for their questions, respecting their hobbies, and finding age-appropriate resources to explore.
Young children need to have easy access to print materials in their homes, preschool classrooms, libraries, and beyond. A classroom that fosters early literacy should have lots of books with intriguing pictures and limited text, as well as posters with large print and engaging pictures at children's eye level. Classroom libraries should include many easy-to-read books: familiar storybooks, children's magazines, alphabet books, and informational books with real-life photos and simple text. For older students, books should represent different reading levels and a variety of genres.
Common Core State Standards
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.1 (Grade 1 ): Speaking and Listening
(Grade 1 ): Comprehension and Collaboration
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL2 (Grade 1 ): Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL2 (Grade 1 ): Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
- (Grade 1 ): Comprehension and Collaboration