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A Walk in the Park Can Improve Reading Comprehension (page 2)

By and — Nature Deficit Disorder Special Edition Contributor
Updated on Oct 25, 2010

Take Your Children Outdoors to Get Them Reading!

Next time you take your children outdoors, be it to the backyard, a local, national, or state park, a river, a pond, a beach, or a field, they will be learning important concepts by engaging in natural conversations with you about the world around them. You don’t have to have all of the answers to help them begin to build concepts. 

Helping children build conceptual understandings can improve reading comprehension. If children are reading fiction, the setting and problem frequently involve nature concepts. Reading factual text is often more difficult for readers who do not possess sufficient background knowledge.

Take that walk with your children today. Look around and take notice of all of the science concepts around you. Talk, observe, listen, touch, smell, and enjoy the great outdoors knowing that you are also helping to improve your children’s reading!

Six Great Picture Books for Kids Up to Age Seven

Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey : Animals eat plants or other animals for food and may also use plants (or even other animals) for shelter or nesting.

We’re going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen: There are different landforms on Earth’s surface such as coastline, rivers, mountains, deltas, and canyons.

Over in the Meadow by John Langstaf:  Some plants and animals are alike in the way they look and in the things they do and others are very different from one another.

Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey:  When offspring grow up, they are very much but not exactly like their parents. All kinds of living things have offspring.

The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton:  Some changes are so slow or so fast that they are hard to see. Change is something that happens to many things.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle:  Living things need water, food, and air to grow. Change is something that happens to many things. Some changes are so slow or so fast that they are hard to see.

Debbie Powell has served as a teacher K-8, reading specialist, reading coordinator, and university professor for over 30 years.  She teaches research, literacy, and integrated curriculum to undergraduate and graduate students at the University of North Carolina University Wilmington.  Her B.S. and M.S. are in elementary education and her Ed.D. in reading is from Indiana University.  She has published articles, book chapters, and developed programs for educational publishers on science and literacy, integrated curriculum, reading, writing, and spelling. Roberta Aram has been an educator for over 30 years.  She currently helps elementary teachers learn how to teach science. She has a B.A. in Biology from Wheaton College in IL, an M.S. in Reading from the University of Northern Colorado, and a Ph.D. in Science Education from the University of Missouri.  She has published articles in Science & Children and other journals focusing on elementary science teaching and learning.  She gives Project WET (Water Education for Teachers), Project Learning Tree, and Project WILD workshops designed to encourage teachers and non-formal educators to integrate environmental education across the curriculum.

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