Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog

Using Joy Cowley in Science Lessons

Joy Cowley’s stories are famous for teaching “literacy through laughter” and are specially written for young students who are developing their reading skills. Did you know that Joy Cowley’s narratives could also be used to teach content subjects? By pairing her books with supplemental informational texts,   you can use Joy Cowley in all your lessons, all day long!


In ­ Wishy-Washy Mirror , Mrs. Wishy-Washy's animals encounter a mirror for the first time. The cow peers into the mirror and sees a picture of a cow, but the pig sees a picture of the pig (3 4). Discuss with your students why the animals can’t agree on the mirror’s content. What happens when your students look into a mirror? 

The   Next Generation Science Standards   expect first-grade students to understand that light waves can travel in many ways, including by bouncing off of reflective materials (1-PS4-3). To teach students exactly how mirrors work, introduce   Mirror Magic !


Part of the Story World Real World series and leveled at Guided Reading level L, comprehending the entire   Mirror Magic   book may be challenging for many first-grade students. However, they can focus solely on pages 6–7, which trace the path of a light when it reflects off of a mirror. Of course, you as a teacher can read the rest of the book aloud and try the cool mirror tricks in class!

Although more implicit in content,   What Is a Cow?  from   Joy Cowley Early Birds   is also relevant for science lessons. The title of the book poses a research question: “What is a cow?” In the story, Little Rabbit and Chickie set out to answer this question by observing a cow outside. Both characters draw upon their own knowledge to describe different features of the cow, such as “A cow has four posts” (4) for its legs and “a cow has a rope” (5) for its tail. This process of asking questions and observing real-life evidence for answers parallels the Scientific Method introduced by Aristotle.   Reading this story will help your students think like scientists !


Joy Cowley doesn’t need to be confined into your literacy lessons. You can incorporate her lovable stories into your science lessons as well!


Click the left image below to learn more about   Joy Cowley Early Birds , which includes   Wishy-Washy Mirror   and   What Is a Cow?   Click the right image below to learn more about   Story World Real World , which contains   Mirror Magic .