Integrating Science and Literacy

The Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading units are based on three guiding principles:

1. Engage students in firsthand and secondhand investigations to make sense of the natural world.

Firsthand investigations involve students in making observations, conducting tests and experiments, modeling scientific phenomena, gathering data, and searching for evidence. Secondhand investigations involve students in making sense of investigations and of data presented in text and other secondhand sources (e.g., books, articles, reports, presentations, and conversations with peers).

2. Strategically employ multiple learning modalities.

Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading extends the typical inquiry science instructional model, which most often involves students in firsthand investigations and oral reflection. The model includes reading and writing, employing what Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading calls the Do-it, Talk-it, Read-it, Write-it approach.

3. Capitalize on science–literacy synergies.

The Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading approach capitalizes on potential synergies between science and literacy—the places where science and literacy share highly complementary—sometimes identical— learning goals, cognitive processes, and discourse practices. For example, students are taught skills such as posing questions, making predictions, or making inferences that are useful for both science inquiry and for reading comprehension.


In the Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading approach to science–literacy integration, literacy activities support the acquisition of science concepts and inquiry skills, while inquiry science serves as a compelling context for literacy development.

The roles and benefits of science and firsthand experiences.

The science component of Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading ensures that students have the opportunity to conduct firsthand investigations as well as investigations of text. Science instruction is designed to do the following:

  • Immerse students in in-depth investigations of essential
    science concepts
  • Engage students in guided and open inquiry and in learning about the practices of science
  • Enable students to search for evidence using sensory information as well as text
  • Provide students with opportunities to learn with engaging science text

The roles and benefits of using text in an integrated science and literacy curriculum.

The literacy component of Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading is both rigorous and fully integrated with science. Literacy instruction is designed to do the following:

  • Support students’ development of powerful science knowledge and understandings about the nature of science
  • Support students’ development of academic language and facility with nonfiction text genres
  • Provide students with authentic reading and writing experiences in science to reinforce that evidence can be based on both firsthand information and text-based resources

Using Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading units allows you to take maximum advantage of instructional time as you address goals in two subject areas at once, and also provides your students with demonstrated advantages in learning.

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