Learning to Read Scientific Texts from K-6 Commercial Reading Programs

Linda M. Phillips, Stephen P. Norris, and Martha L. Smith

University of Alberta

Do commercial reading programs foster scientific literacy in K-6 school children? This presentation addresses this question by reporting a systematic investigation into the amount and nature of scientific text contained in widely used commercial reading programs, as well as through an analysis of the guidance for reading instruction that accompanies such text in the student books and teachers' guides. To this end we will examine the scientific text that is included in widely used commercial reading programs in terms of quantity, quality, genres, text features, etc. We will also explore and characterize the nature of the information that is presented to students, and evaluate the validity, accuracy, and quality of the scientific content that is presented as well as the nature of the reading instruction both in the student books and in the teachers' guides to gauge the extent to which these programs can be used to promote scientific literacy.

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