Sheryl K., R., & Rop, C. J. (2005). The art and science of building a classroom library. Science & Children, 42(6), 50-52.
Adding science related books to a classroom library can be challenging. Book availability and budgeting issues may hinder the number of books a teacher can add. So how does a teacher decide what science related books to use?
Teachers will want to examine their current classroom library and determine what their needs are. When selecting books, they should consider the curriculum of their grade level and select books that will compliment that curriculum. They will want to choose books that range “from stimulating student interest or supporting instruction to providing reference material, project resources, and enrichment material.” Each book should serve a specific purpose and meet student needs.
Science may or may not be an area of strong interest. Teachers should avoid selecting books based only their scientific knowledge or personal preference. Each area of science should be represented; on an age and grade appropriate level; to enhance the extent of science being read and learned. Students may not think they are interested in a particular scientific area until they are given the opportunity to read and study about it.
Several books on the same specific subject area would benefit as well. “It is important to include both books that survey a topic broadly and those that emphasize depth instead of breadth.” Peaking a student’s interest on a certain subject is great; but there also needs to be more detailed, in-depth reading available to broaden the student’s understanding and “build a more accurate picture” of the subject area.
The classroom library should also have books that encourage an active approach to science. Students should be involved in activities and experiments that compliment the science curriculum. The activities they perform should teach science aspects as well as processing and organizational skills; knowledge that can be used in other areas as well.
One important point in selecting a book is how this resource addresses current problems, “such as hunger, global warming, or health issues.” Many children are aware that larger issues exist and having books that address those issues helps students gain more understanding on the problems; as well as ways that science can help overcome, or at least alleviate, some of the results. These books should be thoroughly reviewed to ensure sensitive matters are handled. The text and graphics should represent the issue in an age-appropriate way and demonstrate diversity.
A science section to a classroom library is a must. With a little time and effort, the resources collected will encourage students to read for knowledge (and hopefully, for pleasure, too) and will enhance their curiosity and interest in science.
I found this to be a very interesting article mainly because science is my least favorite subject. I find it difficult to teach because I have never been good at it. I can see, however, that having a “well-stocked” science library can benefit any classroom. I have noticed over the last couple of years, the students in my class have seemed to be more interested in non-fiction books. Many of these books have been science related; animals, weather, space, and plants. It only makes sense that having those books (or similar) in the classroom would give students more opportunity to learn about and grow in their interest of science. I am going to put more effort into building a stronger science library.