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Reading and Writing in Science


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Table of Contents

Preface Acknowledgments About the Authors 1. The Role of Language in Science Learning Is Based in Language Using Language in Science 2. Developing and Activating Background Knowledge Why Background Knowledge Is Important Determining Relevant Background Knowledge Demonstrations: Understanding While Seeing Anticipation Guides: Looking for Misconceptions Bridging the Gap When Background Knowledge Is Scant ReQuest: Teaching Apprentices to Question DR-TA: Predicting as a Key to Scientific Reading QAR: Connecting Questions With Answers The Background Knowledge Big Picture 3. Integrating Vocabulary Instruction Into the Science Classroom The Importance of Vocabulary Vocabulary Self-Awareness Charts Content Area Word Walls Instructional Routines Useful for Developing Vocabulary Semantic Feature Analysis: Assessing Relationships Between Words Word Cards: Investigating Examples and Non-Examples Semantic Mapping: Visualizing Word Relationships Fostering Independent Word Learning in Science Word Play Promotes Increased Vocabulary Knowledge Vocabulary Helps Students Understand Science 4. Reading Science Texts Helping Students Read Science Texts Read-Alouds Support Student Learning Shared Reading Defined and Implemented The Benefits of Shared Reading Releasing Responsibility to Students Facilitating Collaborative Learning ReQuest: Reading With Questions Reciprocal Teaching: Practicing What Good Readers Do Incorporating Independent Practice Why Teach Reading in Science? 5. Writing in Science: Scaffolding Skills for Science Students Writing Like a Scientist Is Different WebQuest: Collecting Data to Write Writing Frames: Scaffolding for Scientific Writing Teaching Scientific Phrasing Writing Formats in Science Why Learn to Write Like a Scientist? 6. Assessing Student Learning in Science The Purpose of Assessment in Science Using Assessment Information Identifying Specific Students' Needs Creating Science Assessments Types of Assessments Useful in Science Final Thoughts About Assessment References Index

About the Author

Maria C. Grant is a professor in the Department of Secondary Education at California State University Fullerton and a classroom teacher at Health Sciences High & Middle College. She works with both preservice and veteran teachers in the credential and graduate programs. Her work includes research and publications in the area of literacy integration into content areas, with a central focus on science education. In addition to her efforts at the university, Grant's experience includes over 19 years of teaching in high school science classrooms. She has taught physics, oceanography, coordinated science, chemistry, and earth science. Additionally, she has acted as a leader in curriculum development and professional development at both the school and district levels. Her current efforts include professional development work centered on formative assessment. Douglas Fisher, Ph.D., is Professor and Chair of Educational Leadership at San Diego State University and a leader at Health Sciences High & Middle College having been an early intervention teacher and elementary school educator. He is the recipient of an International Reading Association William S. Grey citation of merit, an Exemplary Leader award from the Conference on English Leadership of NCTE, as well as a Christa McAuliffe award for excellence in teacher education. He has published numerous articles on reading and literacy, differentiated instruction, and curriculum design as well as books, such as PLC+: Better Decisions and Greater Impact by Design, Building Equity, and Assessment-capable Learners. He can be reached at


"Science teachers, literacy coaches, and reading specialists will find this helpful book a great starting point for teaching the language of science-reading, writing, and speaking about science to engage the powerful ideas of the discipline. The tried-and-true, research-based practices explained in this highly readable and inviting volume provide many with the start they need to successfully support science literacy development." -- Patricia L. Anders, Distinguished Professor
"Grant and Fisher's book talks to teachers, not just sharing the current research but actually drawing connections between research and practice. The authors use their own extensive teaching experience to take the reader into the classrooms of exceptional teachers and present scenarios of how to teach science concepts in engaging, motivating, and research-based ways. At last we have a book that recognizes that science teachers are not reading teachers, but they are promoters of science literacy, communicators of their field whose ultimate goal is to inform, enlighten, and foster strategic thinkers who have the potential to take our society to even greater heights." -- Karen D. Wood, Professor and Graduate Reading Program Coordinator
"Finally, a book that uses real ideas about science literacy and shares those in interesting and informative ways. The idea that science teachers are teachers of language-instead of the usual argument of reading-brings literacy to the forefront in using instructional routines that fit the context of science. Grant and Fisher understand that there is more to science instruction than just the content." -- Julia Reynolds, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction
"Students of science need both content knowledge and discipline-specific literacy skills to participate in rigorous science content. This book shows us how to use literacy strategies to improve student performance and participation in the secondary science classroom." -- Ellen Levy, Author of Constructing Meaning

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