AlexJune 1, 2013 at 7:48 pm | Posted in Content Area Literacy | 3 Comments
We have discussed the difference in our reading styles depending on if we are reading for pleasure or for academics. But, what if we were to read books in a content area that is not a textbook. I’m talking about trade books. These are books that discuss a specific discipline in math, science, or technology, but do not present the information in the typical encyclopedia style, like a textbook does. I have a book like this in a previous class here at Fisher, by Michio Kaku, called Physics of the Future. This book presents lots of technical information in a very readable format. It was a joy to read.
So, what is the point? We have talked in class about how there needs to be supplemental reading apart from the textbook. There was a whole chapter devoted to this notion in our readings. This is where we can get outside information. There is content specific information that students can draw on from previous experiences, they would be learning from the book, so it wouldn’t be wasting the teachers time, and most importantly, it would be readable and enjoyable. There are many resources that list trade books that would be appropriate for adults.
There are also resources for students. However, they only exist in a specific way: as summer reading lists or summer reading programs. The only way that I could find trade books being used by students in my research was during the summer. Some of the summer reading programs were put on by local public libraries. Now, I’m not saying that teachers don’t use trade books at all within their curriculum, but I feel like they should be used more often. Also, I’m not thinking of this as designing a unit or semester around one trade book, but snippets of information relevant to what is currently happening in your classroom could be used.
All of this aligns with the CCSS as we are trying to being in more critical reading in our math and science classrooms. Trade books, along with trade magazines (Popular Science, Wired, etc.) and newspapers can all enhance the instruction that is happening in your classroom. Pulling one new article a week off the internet to share with your class is not that time consuming on the preparation end, but can lead to a wonderful discussion in class that can liven any boring topic.
Trade books! One more way to incorporate CCSS in your classroom!