There are many captivating picture books that build on student’s learning of Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and California Social Studies Standards. Students learn NGSS material through experiments, reading articles, writing, and discussion. However, they rarely get time to read further about what they are learning in science in a leisurely way. This is similar for social studies. They each have a social studies text and workbook which serves as the base for learning California history. In addition, they have discussion, picture analysis, and projects. However, there are so many great children’s picture books that can illuminate our state history. Our school library has some of these texts, however there are mostly single copies. The fourth grade team would benefit from small group sets of these books to make them available to students during specific units. For example, when students study landforms in science in the fall, we can each have landform picture books in our classroom for students to read in guided reading groups, with a partner, or independently. Similarly, in the spring when students are studying the Gold Rush, we can have books such as, “If You Were a Kid During the Gold Rush” available for students to build on their knowledge of this important historical moment. Use of standards aligned picture books in the classroom will build and enhance student's reading comprehension and understanding of important fourth grade standards.
All fourth grade students would benefit from this program. Students will benefit regardless of their reading level for two reasons: one, the books are at different levels so even if they are a more beginning reader, there will be a book for them. Two, students will have background knowledge from which to build on in order to comprehend these books because they will be purposefully provided during the course of the unit. These picture books will in turn help them to comprehend the often difficult Science and Social Studies texts that the whole class reads together.
Success of this program will be measured in a number of ways. On the most basic level, if students are reading and enjoying these texts, as well as making connections to the Science and Social Studies standards. Fourth grade teachers will also be able to assess whether these picture books build content understanding by analyzing assessments given on the same material.
There is no setup required to implement this program, aside from ordering the books and placing them on the class sets books shelf in the library. Ms. Hines, the librarian, already as a system in place for teachers to check out class sets of books. Therefore, an addition such as these books can be used immediately.
Yes, all fourth grade teachers will have access to these books.