In support of our on-going DonorsChoose challenge, this month Minnow and I will be exploring science-related books for SciWo's storytime.
I have to admit, I'm enjoying the challenge of finding sciencey books appropriate for a 2.5 year old's attention span. There seem to be a plethora of books for the 4-8 year old set, but fewer for the younger crowd. Well, that's not true. There are an awful lot of books about animals, especially farm animals, but Minnow has got her animals down pat, and we all know there is more to science than zoology.
I'm also discovering that it is easier to keep Minnow's atttention on a non-fiction book if her interest in scientist has already been piqued by some hands-on experience with the subject at hand. For that reason, this month I'm inverting the Reading Rainbow formula, and putting the adventure before the story - a kind of inquiry based approach.
Two weeks ago, on Talk Like a Pirate Day, Minnow and I visited the local science museum to see the pirate actors and practice our Arrrrs... While we there, we also took in the IMAX movie "Under the Sea." The movie has incredible underwater footage from the Coral Sea, Great Barrier Reef, and kelp gardens in South Australia. Mostly the focus is biodiversity, with a gentle undertone of how climate change (warming temperatures and ocean acidification) are going to impact these ecosystems. There are also lots of suddenly darting fish snatching up prey, and these were a little unnerving for Minnow. For me, highlights were footage of a sea turtle consuming a jellyfish (did you know that they close their eyes so that they don't get stung?) and the discussion of nautilus biodiversity through geologic time.
The night after the movie, Minnow and I sat down with a very simple book called Ocean by Susan Canizares and Pamela Chanko. The book is from Scholastic's Emerging Readers Series, with only a few words of text on each page, but it includes a slightly more complete description of each picture in two pages at the back of the book.
If you'd like to read more about the ocean, you might like these books. They have more text and are more for the age 4-8 set, but a younger child would like to be told about the pictures.
- The ABCs of the Ocean by Bobbie Kalman. This book has a entry for each letter of the alphabet, and does a nice job of relating sequences of letters together (e.g., mollusk, nautilus, octopus). Just ignore the bit about Australia being an island.
- Picture Pops Ocean by Roger Priddy with stunning popups.
- Into the A, B, Sea by Deborah Rose
Want to help public school students get excited about the ocean? Then how about buying books for special education students in New York City? Or 7 classic science-related books including "Into the A, B, Sea" for high poverty pre-kindergartners in North Carolina? Or how about contributing to the purchase of supplies that will let South Carolina 5th graders do hands-on exploration of Oceans, Waves, and Landforms?
Minnow and I just gave to the project "Books, Books, Books!" (linked above as 7 classic science related books) so that more preschoolers can build an early love of science. Will you help us fund that project?
I just learned about this blog form an ESWN post. This is a great segment on science-y reading for the pre-preschool set. My daughter's almost 3, so I can relate. Here's a book that we found to be very good: Imagine. I learned lots of animals!