Journeys into inquiry-based elementary science: Literacy practices, questioning, and empirical study

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Abstract

Teaching literacy in inquiry-based science-teaching settings has recently become a focus of research in science education. Because professional scientists' uses of reading, writing, and speaking are foundational to their work, as well as to nonscientists' comprehension of it , it follows that literacy practices should also be central to science teaching. Science as a vehicle through which to develop literacy skills is an attractive alternative that some teachers choose in order to include science in their curriculum. In this paper, we present descriptions of three elementary teachers' efforts to teach literacy practices through science. Our descriptions, through which we illustrate a range of ways in which teachers link science and literacy instruction, are grounded in these teachers' accounts and our observations of their teaching. We end with a comparison of these teachers' approaches, and draw from this analysis considerations for implementing literacy instruction in elementary science education. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Sci Ed93: 189–217, 2009

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