Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog

Using Leveled Books to Teach Science in Kindergarten: Part 4

This is a guest blog post by Dr. Geraldine Haggard, who   is a retired teacher, Reading Recovery teacher leader, author, and university teacher. She spent 37 years in the Plano, TX school system. She currently tutors, chairs a committee that gifts books to low-income students, teaches in her church, and serves as a facilitator in a program for grieving children.

This is the fourth post in a series of posts on teaching and using leveled books for learning science in kindergarten. To read the first post,   click here . To read last week’s post,   click here . To read the next post in this series, please check back next week. You can always subscribe to our blog to get our guest bloggers’ new posts in your inbox.

Continuing from where we finished last week, the following are a couple supplementary examples of fun classroom activities, using leveled books, to use and introduce to your classroom of young readers, when teaching science. Last week, we discussed science-related classroom activities around 2 particular books,   A House for Me   and   We are Thirsty . This week, we’ll look at 2 different books, namely   Who Needs Water? , from the paired-text series   Story World Real World , and   Baby Food   from the series of 150 leveled readers for K-3, the   Joy Cowley Early Birds Collection .

Activity 5  |  Book       Who Needs Water?  

In this activity, we are spending time with the book   Who Needs Water , from   Story World Real World . To begin, opening the book, across pages 4–7 of the title, we both revisit the fact that living things need water to drink — in order to live — as well as are introduced to other interesting uses of water. With your classroom, share these pages (pages 4–7). With your students, look through them and review them, and ask your students to brainstorm other, additional ways that water may be used. Tell the children that you want them to predict what other ways they think they need water — for more than drinking.

Write any of their responses to these questions on the board. The rest of the book can then be explored and shared. After reading the last pages of the text, refer to the predictions made by the children about how water is used. Let them figure out what they predicted, and what they didn’t predict. Before doing this, read the list to and with the students. Discuss how each of these other uses of water provides things that we may need. One example might be “Without water I would have to wear dirty clothes.” Another example you might use: the page with the picture of the dam could be introduced to the classroom by turning off lights in the classroom, and turning them on again. Some of the children may offer the word ‘electricity’. 

Additionally, you may discuss rain, and snow. What have the children done in rain and snow? What happens to their clothes? When snow melts, what does it become? Page 14 answers that question. Page 12 tells us that drops of water are in the air all around us. 

On the following day, the children can start to draw three pictures in their journal that show how they use water in some way. Suggest that they share with two other neighboring students their drawings. Revisit the list of ways to use water from the previous day. Read the list and ask the children to raise a hand if they included that use of water in their drawings. Ask the children which use was the most chosen, and then, ask them why they thought that particular use was the most important. 

Activity 6  |  Book       Baby Food

For the next classroom activity, using the book   Baby Food , from the   Joy Cowley Early Birds Collection ,   students can explore the theme of living things needing food in order to survive. To begin, invite the students to write about, as well as illustrate, their favorite foods in their personal journals. Then, ask volunteers to come to the classroom’s author's chair and share their creations. After several students have shared, some example questions that might be used to guide a discussion are as follows: Do you think other members of your family have the same favorite foods as you? Why exactly do you think that? Is there a young child or baby in your family? Do they (the young child of baby) eat in the same way that you do? Are there things you can eat, which a baby cannot eat? Invite those with younger family members to share.

Next, explain that you are going to read a story,   Baby Food , to them. Share the book's front cover with the class, either with a classroom projector or by holding up the book in-front of the class. Invite the children to predict what they think will happen in the story. Some may want to share what they have seen happen to a baby or younger child in their own families. In the story, the character, Big Sister, encourages the baby to eat certain things. Let the children know that you want them to listen, and remember things in the story that they themselves have eaten. As you read try to use different voices for the mother and big sister.

After reading, compile a list of foods from the story that the children have eaten. Talk about why the baby eats his or her in a different way. Ask the students questions, such as “Why do you not eat like a baby?” Then, at a center or the art table, provide grocery ads for the children to cut out pictures of food. Provide baskets or envelopes for children to place their cut-out pictures in. Discuss and talk with the students about the differences between vegetables, fruits, and meats. Provide a large poster or bulletin board for students to place their pictures on. This display can be used as you use the last book later.

This is the end of Part 4 in this series of blog posts on   teaching and using leveled books for science in kindergarten. To read the first post in the series,   click here . To read the previous post,   click here . To read the next post in this series, please check back next week. As always, you can subscribe to our blog to get new posts in your inbox.


Geraldine Haggard is the author of several books from our  Kaleidoscope Collection . To download information sheets with key features about the  Joy Cowley Early Birds Collection .  and  Story World Real World  series, which contain the books mentioned in this post, click the images below.