Five Ways to Add Reading to Your Science Class!

Are you a reader? Do you worry about your students being readers?
Of course you do!
Several years ago I became a trainer for our local science curriculum and now teach teachers how to use the science kits adopted for each grade. I focus on third graders as that is what I was teaching at the time I became a trainer. Anyway, at one of those training sessions I conducted, a teacher said this, "There is no way I can get all this science added to our day." Then she went on to say the most shocking thing ever, "I don't even have time to read aloud to my children!"
I am pretty sure my heart broke right then- for her and for her kids.
So, that made me think about how on earth we could somehow join those two things and get them both accomplished successfully!

So, here you go: FIVE Ways to Get Reading and Science Together!

STEM Challenges and Reading: Here are some terrific ways to get both of these into your busy days! I especially like the fourth book for STEM!
Throughout the post, for your convenience you’ll find Amazon Affiliate links, which means Amazon compensates me if you purchase something through that link, at no extra cost to you. This helps keep this little blog running and helps fund give-aways!

First up is All About Boats!
STEM Challenge Idea: Read this fabulous book to your students and then have them design a boat. I would include building a model of the pirate's parrot just for fun! More book ideas on my blog!

This Mem Fox box is one of my absolute favorites to read aloud to children. It has very few words and is very repetitive- example: "He was scraggly. All pirates are scraggly." The story is told in the amazing illustrations and you learn that a young stow-away on the pirate ship discovers the pirate captain has a violin and he steals it. In the end the violin case becomes a burial container for the pirate's pet parrot (say that three times fast) and it is quite sad- "All pirates cry!"
STEM Idea: Read this book to your children, talk about the boat in particular and then have them design boats- even add that they must make a parrot model to place in their boats.
STEM Challenge Idea: Read this fabulous book to your students and then have them design a boat to hold a specific amount of weight! More book ideas on my blog!

Here's another amazing picture book! This one tells the story of a group of refugees that travel on a crowded boat to escape the soldiers of their country. This one takes a lot of schema building and then stopping to talk about what is happening. In the end the refugees reach a shore in which people are welcoming and take them in to safety. It is a story about thanksgiving, but not necessarily the holiday. Beautifully written and quite profound in its content. The two countries are never explained, but we always imagined the safe place was America when I read this to third graders.
STEM idea: Read the book and talk about what kind of boat the refugees would need to travel on safely. Have students design a boat that would hold a specific amount of weight.

STEM Challenge: Build a oat that has to float and hold weight! Test it with weights and have students improve to make it even better!
Here's the perfect STEM Challenge all about boats!
Number two is All About Volume!
STEM Challenge reading! Try this book as an introduction of popcorn before completing a STEM task that involves popcorn!

The Popcorn Book is just purely delightful. It's full of little stories about popcorn, its history, and fun facts. There's a page that tells about some archaeologists that find fossilized popcorn in  cave. They find a specific number of popped popcorn pieces. There are recipes and many other goodies in the book. Kids love it! Which leads to a STEM Challenge, of course. What if the kids were those archaeologists? What if they found those fragile preserved popcorn pieces and needed to transport them back to a science lab to study? So, build a container to carry them. Here's another idea- after reading the book have parents send in different kinds of popcorn and have a taste testing event or try popping one brand at different amounts of time to see which pops the best or the fastest.

STEM Challenge: Volume with popcorn. After reading a book about popcorn students are challenged with building a container to hold a specific amount of popcorn! Best of all, they might get to eat some!
Here's the perfect STEM Challenge! It's about volume and how much space popcorn takes up!

Number three is All About Towers!
The Marshmallow Incident: A perfect book to read aloud to talk about those things that divide people- in this case it's about right handed or left handed!

Y'all, have you ever read this book? It is purely wonderful. It's the story of a divided kingdom. The kingdom even has a line down the center and the residents mustn't cross the line. On one side are people that are left handed and the right handed people are on the other side. The line dividing them is guarded by the Ambidextrous Knights! One day a villager accidentally crosses the line and the knights must attack with the only weapon they have- marshmallows! It is just a hilarious book which leads right to a STEM Challenge using marshmallows. Ideas for you: build a tower, a bridge, a dome. You get the idea.....

STEM Challenge: Build a bridge with the easiest of materials- marshmallows! It's such a fun building time and will have your kids working and engaged!
Here's the perfect challenge to use after reading the book! Use modeling dough or marshmallows!

Number Four is All About Perimeter and Area
Measuring Penny: A great book to read as you begin to work on measurement in your classroom!

This is a fun story about Lisa who has a homework assignment to go home and measure something. The task is to measure in as many ways as she can. She decides to measure her dog, Penny.  Penny is measured in many ways, including things like the size of her nose or ears. Lisa uses standard and non standard measuring throughout the book. For example: Penny's nose is one dog biscuit long! STEM idea: Of course, measuring anything would be a great task, but why not tackle building something about a dog- maybe a dog house? You could try building a doghouse model using cardboard or something less dimensional using graph paper. This ties in fabulously with math and science and reading!

STEM Challenge: Explore perimeter and area with two fantastic challenges about dog runs and dog houses!
Here's the perfect STEM Challenges. One is about building a dog run and the other is about designing a dog house with a specific area.

Number five is All About Bridges!
Twenty One Elephants: P.T. Barnum's elephants are paraded across the new Brooklyn Bridge to prove to people that it is safe!

This book is the story of testing the Brooklyn Bridge. After it was built people were afraid to go across it. Hannah and her dad come up with a plan. They are able to get P.T. Barnum's circus elephants to parade across the bridge and prove it is strong enough for people to use!
STEM Idea: Build a bridge, of course! There are so many ways you can do this. Even something as simple as index cards can build a bridge! Have fun with this idea!

STEM Challenge: Building bridges! There are so many ways to do this. Here are three amazing challenges!

And there you have it! Integrate your science topics with reading. It will delight your students, take care of reading, science, math, and STEM. Have fun!

And, let me make sure you know this is a blog link up with the awesome Kacey at Doodlebugs Teaching!

Have a great weekend!

*Post may contain affiliate links!


  1. My sixth graders LOVE STEM activities! REALLY LOVE! I try to fit one it at least every other week. We've used several of your STEM challenges (towers, bridges) and thoroughly enjoy them. Like you, I incorporate reading into science and science into reading. Thanks for sharing the titles of these picture books.


  2. I am so excited to try incorporating reading with science. Next year I will be a 5th grade science teachrr and can't wait to get started . thanks for the amazing ideae! I love them!

  3. I am so excited to try incorporating reading with science. Next year I will be a 5th grade science teachrr and can't wait to get started . thanks for the amazing ideae! I love them!


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