We’re All Reading Teachers: Building Literacy in Science Class

Newsela For Science

Each spring, I looked forward to introducing my sixth-grade class to our Weather & Climate unit. By this point in the year, the students could reference previous studies, such as our lessons on Energy & Ecosystems, which could lead to some “ah-ha” moments. I also loved this unit because it was easy to draw connections to the world around them and have students engage in meaningful research on Global Climate Change.

As a final project, my students researched forms of alternative energy and inferred how these new human influences could redefine climate patterns. They were able to synthesize the content and were eager to make broader connections with the real world. Students would ask, “Mr. Janikis, can we build solar panels?” and “Why doesn’t our school run on wind turbines?”

Since climate change is a hot topic, I always had a lot of choices in the readings we could use, but struggled to find articles that were best fit to their learning levels.

With Newsela for Science, leveled articles from Scientific American and other leading publications that are aligned with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), we hope to change that.

Each collection is curated to the themes of key performance expectations. Educators can apply crosscutting concepts to relate cause-and-effect relationships in the articles. Or they can be used as a planning tool and research resource for eager students who want to evaluate and discuss scientific solutions and applications to real-world problems.

With the creation of the Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), students are challenged to make real-world connections and think critically about the content presented in front of them. This three-dimensional learning encourages students to not only learn the concept, such as alternative energy, but be able to explain examples and design solutions based on evidence from a text or hands-on investigation.

As a teacher, I appreciate the guidance of these standards and understand the need for rigor. Students can grow in their critical thinking and better grasp the importance of science in their everyday lives. With so many new demands and expectations, it is increasingly valuable for teachers to have resources that help them implement these standards and, equally important, support science literacy.

I love the creativity of planning a unit and appreciate when I have a bank of resources to guide my work. Newsela for Science was created to help bring science to life in the classroom and remove obstacles to applying NGSS.

Science education is an incredible journey, and we hope to be partners on this quest with you.

Want to score some science swag? Share an article you’ll be using in the classroom with the tag #NewselaForScience to claim your prize. Available while supplies last.

JJ Janikis is Newsela’s Educator Specialist. He is a former middle school special education science educator. He most recently was the sixth-grade Integrated Co-Teacher at Mott Hall II in New York City.