She will probably ask another question!
Much like the animals in Laura Numeroff’s famous series – kindergarten curiosity is cyclical. One question almost always leads to another… and another… and another. Spring lends itself to many different nonfiction topics. The students are noticing the change in weather, the blooming of plants, and the activity of animals. This week we are studying insects. And the questions – they are a flowin’.
During our unit time, I give a pretty general overview of our topic and we brainstorm the specifics. This week we have talked about the types of insects – which have wings and which don’t, their body parts, what an invertebrate is, etc. Undoubtedly, there is always someone who just needs to know more. I would love to spend all that time exploring and searching with them as a guide. But some days – time can be issue. This is where the reading center becomes my best friend.
I use a special basket specifically for books that pertain to our current unit. It can be a difficult task to find high quality nonfiction texts that my kiddos can read independently. Right now it is completely full – all thanks to Pebble Books Publishing Company. What I like about their books is that they are written simply, but can address both higher and lower readers. The main text is written on levels ranging from 0.9 – 2.0 (AR). The students can explore the captions of the photographs to learn more (and have their reading skills challenged). I model how to read and use the characteristics of nonfiction texts to help find out the most information possible. My center groups are heterogeneously mixed so the students can read together. My students also use their iPads (yes, we are so lucky!) to read digital copies of nonfiction books from our reading series. If only Pebble had an app!
Students use what they read and learn to create a response about their favorite book. The Pebble books give them a text that is easy to understand and friendly to copy vocabulary from. Students feel in control of their learning. The end of center time is always filled with students wanting to share what they learned “all by theirself”.
This series could also be helpful when you need low level/high interest books for older students who struggle with reading. I find them to be a little more informational than other series.
So, embrace your natural scientists and give the kids voice and choice in their learning of the world!