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Table of Contents

Reading in Science

Time to Read

Scientists read to gain knowledge about the status of a certain field of science, challenge or verify their assumptions, and compare and contrast their working ideas with those of others. Effective reading in the science classroom should engage students in developing the same kinds of thinking that scientists use.

The CA CCSS in ELA/Literacy supports “reading like a scientist” as it emphasizes synthesis, evaluation, and comparative textual analysis.  Across all grade levels, the reading standards one through nine are designed to help students acquire the skills to comprehend the text, to follow an author’s reasoning, to analyze claims and to support those claims with evidence from the text. The grade level standards as well as the Literacy standards for History/Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects all align to the same College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards which means that all content areas can work toward the same reading goals.

The CCSS in ELA/Literacy increases the rigor in the content areas by having students read increasingly complex texts. This shift is addressed in Reading Standard 10. Building the skills to read and comprehend increasingly complex text will support students in their scientific and technical reading; however, an issue in science instruction is finding meaningful text for students to read. The textbook can be limiting in how information is presented (e.g., limited treatment of complex topics on a two-page textbook display of material) and often confuses students. The additional use of quality primary source materials, as well as science journals and magazines in the classroom, is encouraged to provide a variety of complex texts to aid students in deepening their understanding of the content.

The CCSS for ELA/Literacy Appendix A and the CCSS Reading Informational Text Professional Learning Module provide additional information on strategies to support students with complex text.