Date of Award/Publication

2004

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

MS in Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education

Abstract

Children's literature can be defined as a "specific picture books, which are a type of tradebook that contain thirty pages with pictures on every page. Both text and illustrations in a picture book work together to create meaning"(Giorgis & Hartman. 2000, 34). This topic piqued my interest because I am a visual learner and look to the pictures or graphic displays in the text to help explain the text. I find it difficult to read long stretches of text without accompanying graphics or illustrations. But, since it was the end of the school year the idea came and went without any action on my part. At the end of the summer I went to the National Science Museum in Minneapolis, Minnesota where I stumbled on some children's literature about DNA. The illustrations were magnificent and the reading made the vocabulary easier to understand. One of the employees at the museum mentioned that some of the children's literature was used in high school as tradebooks. I proceeded to search the Internet for these books and ones similar, and found many to do with my subject area. I ordered some books on topics that are saturated with misconceptions and difficult concepts to use in my classroom. Just because some teachers in Minnesota use children's literature does not mean that these types of tradebooks are necessarily successful. This led me to the library to search a topic that might have no merits or support at all. I was pleasantly surprise by the information I unturned. "Picture books can be appropriate for students of all ages" (Giorgis & Hartman, 2000. 35). ''Picture books not only entertain and amuse students, but can also assist them in learning and retaining skills related to content and concepts in all curricular areas. Picture books also support older students in their ongoing literacy development" (Giorgis & Hartman, 2000, 35). "Tradebooks are generally more interesting and less confusing for children than texts. Children's books have story lines that help children understand and remember concepts better than textbooks that tend to present science as lists of facts to be memorized" (Rice, 2002. 557). "Reading picture books in secondary courses increases motivation, understanding of concepts, and aesthetic appreciation, and provides easier material for less able readers" (Car, 2001, 146). Armed with literary support I have decided to research the question: How does the use of children' s literature support student construction of basic biological concepts?

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