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Reading in Science

Scientists read to gain knowledge about the status of a certain field, 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 thinking skills 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, follow an author’s reasoning, to analyze claims and to support those claims with evidence from the text.

One shift in the CA CCSS in ELA/Literacy is to infuse rigor in the content areas by having students read increasingly complex texts and is addressed in Reading Standard 10. Students building the skills to read and comprehend increasingly complex text will support them in their scientific and technical reading; however, an issue in science instruction is finding meaningful text for students to read. A textbook limits how information is presented. Using additional primary source materials, science journals and magazines, provides a variety of complex texts that deepen student understanding of science content.

The CA CCSS for ELA/Literacy follow the same format across grades as that of the ELA Reading Standards for informational text. This alignment of standards enables ELA and science teachers to support each other as they build student understanding.