New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

The Use of Science Books and Children’s Literature in the Primary Science Classroom

Maeve Liston, Mary Immaculate College (Ireland)


Internationally, there have been a number of policy documents published focusing on identifying and implementing means of improving literacy skills, for example ‘No Child Left Behind’ (Public Law, 2002) or ‘Race to the Top’ in the United States, the ‘Europe 2020’ strategy; and a ‘Vision for Literacy 2025’ policy in the UK. All such reactionary policies were published as a result of declining literacy levels among both adults and children worldwide. The National strategy in Ireland to improve literacy  among children and young people states that we need to prioritise literacy through positive interventions and integrating these skills across the curriculum ((DES), 2011; Shiel, 2002).

Internationally published literature details how Science can be successfully integrated with literacy to teach Science concepts (Barber et al., 2006; Heisey and Kucan 2010; Jackson et al., 2010). Under this framework Irish Primary Schools are currently introducing best practice methodologies in literacy teaching. Professional development courses are being rolled out to facilitate this strategy. However, there have been no specific models of professional development designed and implemented on how literacy skills can be effectively developed in the Primary Science Classroom.

This research was therefore carried out to investigate teachers’ use of science books and children’s lietarture in science lessons. Their experiences of, opinions on and attitudes towards the use of children literature in Science lessons to enhance children’s literacy skills was also investigated. A questuonnaire was distributed to primary school tecahers of varying teaching experience (N=38).

Findings from the research showed that many teachers depend on specific ‘Science Books’ in their lessons and none of the teachers had used everyday children’s lietarature before in science lessons. The main reasons for this were as follows: 1. No professional development or workshops avaialable in this area; 2. the over crowded curriculum and 3. their lack of confidence to design science lessons incorporating children’s literature.

The results will be discussed in how this reaserach can inform the design and development of future frameworks, guidelines and professional development courses for the integration and effective development of literacy skills in Science lessons. 



[1] Department of Education and Science (2011) Literacy and Numeracy for Learning and Life: The National Strategy to Improve Literacy and Numeracy among Children and Young People 2011-2020. Dublin: Stationary Office.
[2] Heisey, N. and Kucan, L. (2010) Introducing Science Concepts to Primary Students Through Read – Alouds: Interactions and Multiple Texts Make the Difference. The Reading Teacher, 63 (8), 666-676.
[3] Jackson, J. Dickinson, G. and Horton, D. (2010) Rocks and Rhymes! The Science Teacher, January, 27-31.
[4] Liston, M. (2015) Puppets: Providing Opportunities for Dialogue and Scientific Inquiry, Primary Science, 133, 11-13.
[5] Minogue, M. (2015). Rhyme and Reason: An Investigation into the Impact of Teaching Nursery Rhyme Inquiry Lessons in an Irish Senior Infant Science Classroom. Mary Immaculate College, Thesis.

Back to the list


Reserved area

Media Partners:

Click BrownWalker Press logo for the International Academic and Industry Conference Event Calendar announcing scientific, academic and industry gatherings, online events, call for papers and journal articles
Pixel - Via Luigi Lanzi 12 - 50134 Firenze (FI) - VAT IT 05118710481
    Copyright © 2024 - All rights reserved

Privacy Policy