Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Classic Picture books, Critical Thinking, Lesson Plans, Living Books, Math, Physics, Science

Using Children’s Literature to Teach Science

Using Children’s Literature to Teach Science by Patricia Bishop McKean (PDF ebook with multiple PDF files)

Patricia Bishop McKean compiled this wonderful ebook that pairs great picture books / young reader books (including such classics as Stellaluna, Follow the Drinking Court, Swimmy, Curious George, Morris’s Disappearing Bag and many more) with hands-on activities that demonstrate basic science concepts to young students. Subjects covered in the activities include earth science, astronomy, math, ecology, physics, chemistry, and process skills. It’s a great approach that makes both the stories AND the science lessons much more memorable.

From her introduction:

Each children’s picture book is linked to a simple, basic science activity. By showing teachers how to “hook” their students by reading a familiar or new story and then doing a related hands-on, minds-on science activity, I have helped teachers feel more comfortable with teaching science.  Sometimes the story comes before the activity, and sometimes it comes after the activity. The activity will stand alone, as will the reading of the story, but if the hook captivates the mind of the student, the memory of the science concept should last in the student’s mind.

About the format:

Each book & accompanying science activity has its own PDF file, so there’s lots of PDFs to download here, making it a little more complicated than just downloading a single PDF file. But it is worth the effort. Check it out and see if you don’t agree. Use the menu on the site to navigate between sections of the collection.

CLICK HERE to go to the website!

Audio, Living Books

The Long Winter

“The Long Winter” by Laura Ingalls Wilder (MP3 audio dramatization)

Every couple of years we bring back this fine audio dramatization of one of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s best “Little House” books, “The Long Winter”. This Ingalls family is quite different than the one you saw on TV, but it is a very faithful adaptation of the book, and is quite entertaining. It is the one and ONLY “old time radio” adaptation of any of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books, and if you love those stories, you’ll treasure this half hour audio dramatization. We’ve also included a PDF “Listening Guide” to accompany this program.

To download this MP3 audio program, RIGHT CLICK HERE and “save” to your pc. Mac users, press the “control” key then click the link and save to your mac.

To download the PDF Listening Guide for this program, RIGHT CLICK HERE and “save” to your pc. Mac users, press the “control” key then click the link and save to your mac.

Literature, Living Books

Winter “Why” Tales

Here’s a lovely little children’s storybook featuring two fanciful wintertime stories: “Why the Bear Sleeps All Winter”, and “Why Evergreens Keep Their Leaves”. Great “fairy tale” style read alouds for younger listeners on a chilly winter day!

To download this pdf ebook, RIGHT CLICK HERE and “save” to your computer. Mac users: Press the “control” key and then click the link and save to your mac.

Holidays, Living Books, Video

A Christmas Carol (the best animated version ever!)

A Christmas Carol (streaming video)

Here is one of the spookiest, most faithful adaptations of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” ever. Richard Williams’ beautifully-executed animated version of Charles Dickens’ timeless seasonal parable won the 1972 Oscar for Best Animated Short Film, but to this day has yet to receive a DVD release anywhere. And that is such a shame! This is an amazing adaptation of Dickens’ story, an animation tour-de-force based on the original book illustrations from early editions of Dickens’ book. It is beautifully done, and captures aspects of the original that other dramatizations of this classic story have missed. 25 minutes long, and HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Parents, be warned this is genuinely spooky in some spots (as is the original story), so some of this might be frightening to very young children. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

History, Holidays, Living Books

The Christmas of 1776

The Christmas of 1776: A Young Maiden’s Story by Anne Hollingsworth Wharton (PDF ebook)

Today’s resource is this delightful short story of a young girl’s Christmas experiences during the tumultuous time of the American Revolution, taken from the book “A Last Century Maiden” by Anne Hollingsworth Wharton. Lots of fascinating history and details of old-time holiday celebrations make this story a great read-aloud for the whole family! Check it out!

To download this PDF ebook, RIGHT CLICK HERE and “save” to your computer. Mac users, press the “control” key then click the link and save to your mac.

History, Holidays, Living Books

The First New England Christmas

“The First New England Christmas: A Story of Life in the Colonies” by Stone & Frickett (PDF ebook)

Today’s resource is this excellent short story of the first Christmas in New England, in the year 1620. If you’ve been curious as to how the early Pilgrims celebrated Christmas, read this – you may be surprised at what you discover!

To download this PDF ebook, RIGHT CLICK HERE and “save” to your computer. Mac users, press the “control” key then click the link and save to your mac.

Living Books

Being a Boy

Being A Boy, by Charles Dudley Warner (PDF ebook)

Today’s resource is this absolutely delightful and entertaining book about the life of a farm boy in New England in the early 1800s. As we go through the seasons of the year, we learn of the hard work, play, holidays, interests and pasttimes of farm boys of the day, and also of their family and community life in those bygone days. Written in the later 1800s with a realistic but warm and nostalgic style, this would make an excellent read aloud, and is also a great “living history” book that captures a glimpse of childhood and rural life in pre-Civil War days. What an eye opener. Highly recommended!

Excerpt:
One of the best things in the world to be is a boy; it requires no experience, though it needs some practice to be a good one. The disadvantage of the position is that it does not last long enough; it is soon over; just as you get used to being a boy, you have to be something else, with a good deal more work to do and not half so much fun. And yet every boy is anxious to be a man, and is very uneasy with the restrictions that are put upon him as a boy.

And a review from a mom from a few years ago when we first featured this story:

Great book!  Am nearly finished reading it aloud to my 11 and 12-yr-old sons. They’re enjoying it, and it has helped to increase their vocabulary. Extremely well-written although some sentences are a bit run-on. The author is not just a writer, but a poet, a wordsmith. My sons’ eyes have been opened to the hardships of late-1800 farm life, but also, they joyfully relate to the boyish, wildly imaginative heart of the boy and the self-made adventures he enjoys which transcend generations. The boy freely admits his boyish misbehavings and offers excuses, but the reader knows that the heart means well; it’s just that there’s a huge, wonderful, delectable world all around him to explore and savor, and it continually tugs him away from his chores. All-the-while, though, he is growing (sometimes relunctantly) into the mind and responsibilies of an awkward young man. I hope you offer this again for everyone who missed it. – Karen

To download this PDF ebook, RIGHT CLICK HERE and save to your computer. Mac users, press the control key then click the link and save to your mac.

Living Books, Nature Studies

The First Book of Water

The First Book of Water by Jo & Ernest Norling (PDF ebook) – Today’s resource is a volume in the “Giant Nature Library” series, this GREAT science picture book for young readers all about water – what it is, what it does, why it is so important for all life, and much more. There’s biology, meteorology geology, physics and a whole lot more bundled up in this very informative and wonderfully illustrated text. Again, highly recommended for your homeschooling library!

This is a scanned copy of the original book, and is best viewed on a computer.

To download this PDF ebook, RIGHT CLICK HERE then “save link” to your computer. Mac users, press the “control” key then click the link and save to your mac.

Holidays, Living Books

The Children’s Book of Thanksgiving Stories

This classic story collection edited by Asa Don Dickinson features dozens of Thanksgiving-related stories for young people by many different authors, and includes everything from fairy tales to true historic narratives. The table of contents notes which ones are more suited to little readers or listeners, and which are better for older readers. There’s lots of fun and heartwarming tales in this vintage collection. Great for read-aloud!

This ebook is available from Project Gutenberg in multiple formats, including kindle, mobi, html and plain text. (But not PDF)

CLICK HERE to go to the download page!

History, Living Books

Mary of Plymouth

Mary of Plymouth: A Story of the Pilgrim Settlement by James Otis (PDF ebook)

“My name is Mary, and I am setting down all these things about our people here in this new world, hoping some day to send my dear friend, Hannah, who lives in Scrooby, England, what may really come to be a story… even though the writer of it is only sixteen years old, having lived in Plymouth since the day our company landed from the Mayflower in 1620, more than eleven years ago…”

So begins this excellent book about the pilgrims and the colony of Plymouth, as told through the eyes of a young pilgrim girl named Mary. This classic “living book”, written by James Otis and originally published in 1910, is full of history, fascinating details about the daily lives of the pilgrims, along with plenty of action and adventure. Profusely illustrated and highly recommended. this is back by popular request! Another great story to share with your kids as we draw closer to our own Thanksgiving celebrations!

To download this PDF ebook, RIGHT CLICK HERE and “save” to your computer. Mac users, press the “control” key then click the link and save to your mac.