Learning Through Integration

Learning Through Integration

Creating Content Area Learning Opportunities Using Children’s Literature
Lynn Columba, Cathy Y. Kim and Alden J. Moe
Excerpted, with permission from

powr-of-pic-books90.jpgPicture books eloquently present concepts, both simple and complex, to readers of all levels. We believe teachers (and parents acting as teachers!) can effectively use picture books to help them present mathematics, science, and social studies concepts in amazing, fun ways.  Children’s literature can be used to bring learning to life, introducing new information in fun, integrated ways. When sharing and discussing picture books and other literature, we connect new knowledge with what a child already knows and facilitate conceptual learning instead of learning facts in isolation and fragmenting content. We can allow learners to apply new content, skills, and processes to think about, discuss, and solve real-life problems and situations.

      We all live in a world that increasingly depends on literacy skills and knowledge in mathematics, science, and social studies. We don’t want learners to memorize facts—we went them to acquire the conceptual understanding and problem-solving skills they will need to function effectively as workers and citizens in today’s world. Children’s literature, along with inquiry-based learning, allows us to humanize the concepts, link related issues, and bring life to seemingly isolated and abstract ideas.

See a sample lesson plan for Snowflake Bentley (Grades 2–3) (Math, science)

      In the real world outside of school, our learners will not be asked to compartmentalize their thinking as just mathematics, science, or social studies. Topics in life are always multidimensional, interwoven. Building discussions, demonstrations, and activities around wonderful stories allows children to encounter new knowledge in a non-threatening manner. The attached lessons give examples for using picture books at various grade levels to explore content area concepts, helping learners to make natural connections and develop reading and writing skills.

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