In the world today we put such a great emphasis on literacy in all things we do. Literacy is essential for communication, developing new skills across all subject areas, and for navigating every day life outside the classroom. Therefore, it is only logical to try and integrate reading and writing in all domains of the classroom.
The possibilities are endless when determining how to incorporate language arts throughout a typical day. The best part is that literacy can be supplemented into all subjects at all grade levels—although it may look a bit different in a kindergarten classroom than it will in middle school classrooms.
Read on for literacy-infused activities that can be used in math, science, and social studies. Reading and writing are critical skills for our children to have and so it is our job to give them as much exposure as possible to ensure they will thrive.
Story Problems: Giving students story problems that are engaging and relatable to their interests not only incorporates reading into every day math practices, but supports students in becoming comfortable with realistic mathematical problems.
Math Vocabulary: Math vocabulary is extremely important for understanding algorithms as well as for learning new concepts. One method for introducing new vocabulary is by creating a “word wall.” Below is a word wall that a third grade teacher has been crafting for her students and new words are added as necessary—it is an excellent resource that all students can benefit from.
Books: This definitely seems like more of an obvious one but there are so many amazing children’s books that integrate various math concepts. There are endless opportunities for how books can support math lessons—and science and social studies lessons, too! Below are just a few examples.
“If You Give a Pig a Pancake” by Laura Numeroff: After the story, cook and prepare pancakes with your students to construct a lesson focusing on measurements. This activity utilizes fractions while also drawing students in with a fun and silly story.
“Spaghetti and Meatballs for All” by Marilyn Burns: This book can be used while learning the concepts of area and perimeter—the book is all about how the tables should be arranged so all of the 32 guests can enjoy spaghetti and meatballs. Marilyn Burns also has several other book titles covering even more math topics.
Science Talks: Science talks are becoming very popular and effective for introducing science topics to all grade levels. To prepare a science talk first choose a topic and an Next Generation Science Standard along with content that you want students to focus on. Then come up with a phenomenon that is specific and relatable to the class.
For example, if the goal is to lead students into a lesson on weather, ask “Why do I have to wear a hat out to recess?” The talk then begins with the phenomenon and the students can take over the discussion from here. This is a great way to see what students know and for them to have the opportunity to explore topics that interest them.
Creating Books: Another idea I recently observed involved a student-made book about the state of Michigan. A group of third graders each chose a subtopic such as the state flag/flower/bird, the Upper and Lower Peninsula, the Great Lakes, and many others. Each student researched his or her topic and created a page for the class book, “Michigan - it’s cooler U.P. Here.” To take it a step further, the teacher is having a copy of the book made for each student.
There are countless opportunities for literacy to become a part of all subject domains. Different methods may be more appropriate in various classrooms and because of this I encourage all educators to be creative and unique while seeking out literacy-rich activities.