Engaging Young Children with Informational Books

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Helen Patrick & Panayota Mantzicopoulos

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  • Classroom Insights from Educational Psychology Series

    A Developmental Approach to Educating Young Children

    Denise H. Daniels and Patricia K. Clarkson

    Transforming Teaching and Learning Through Data-Driven Decision Making

    Ellen B. Mandinach and Sharnell S. Jackson

    An Interpersonal Approach to Classroom Management: Strategies for Improving Student Engagement

    Heather A. Davis, Jessica J. Summers, and Lauren M. Miller

    Engaging Young Children With Informational Books

    Helen Patrick and Panayota Mantzicopoulos

    Copyright

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    Series Preface to Classroom Insights

    Division 15, Educational Psychology, of the American Psychological Association and Corwin partnered to create the Classroom Insights from Educational Psychology series for teachers in an effort to reduce the widening gap between research and theory on learning, teaching, and classroom practice. Educational psychology is a discipline that seeks to understand the integration among human development and learning, classroom learning environments and instructional strategies, and student learning and assessment. In this way, the field of educational psychology is among the most relevant and applicable for teachers.

    Although we have seen great advances in our understanding of student learning and instructional practices over the last decade, these advances are not highly visible in today's classrooms, preservice and graduate teacher education programs, or professional development for teachers. Consequently, classroom practice for the most part does not seem to be highly influenced by current research and theory in educational psychology. Yet there are international calls for “scientifically based practices,” “research-based methods,” or “evidence-based decisions” in our schools. As part of the solution to this problem, this series of short, easily accessible books for teachers is designed to synthesize in-depth, high-quality research to be used in a variety of educational settings, and it is endorsed by Division 15.

    As the Classroom Insights series evolves from its first volumes under founding editor Dr. Barbara McCombs, we as editors continue to work with teachers and researchers to identify the topics that are most relevant to educators. We are guided by research that honors the highest quality learning environments with practices proven to support all students, help them succeed in their schooling, and sustain their love of learning. The goals of this series are threefold:

    • To give practicing and preservice teachers access to current advances in research and theory on classroom teaching and learning in an easily understood and usable form
    • To align educator preparation, graduate study, and professional development with current advances in research and theory, which have not been widely shared with teachers
    • To highlight how the most effective teaching practices are based upon a substantial research base and created within classrooms, rather than applied in a “one-size-fits-all” or “silver-bullet” approach across classrooms

    Classroom Insights provides a series of specialized books to inform teaching and learning in PK–12 classrooms by focusing on what is most important and relevant to today's teachers. In some volumes, the applications are limited to specific age levels or characteristics of students, while in most volumes the ideas can be broadly applied across PK–12 settings. Classroom strategies are integrated throughout every book, and each one includes a wide array of resources for teachers to use to study their practices and improve student achievement and classroom learning environments. Finally, many of these research-based applications will be new approaches and frameworks that have never been published in a series for teachers.

    As series editors, our goal is to provide the most up-to-date professional series of teacher resources for connecting teachers with the highest quality and most relevant research in our field of educational psychology. We have planned for every page to provide useful insights for teachers into their current practices to transform classroom learning for their students, themselves, and their school communities.

    Debra K.Meyer, PhD Professor Elmhurst College

    Lynley H.Anderman, PhD Professor The Ohio State University

    Acknowledgments

    We wish to thank the teachers, children, and parents who participated in our studies over the past several years. They taught us much about learning from informational texts.

    Special thanks go to our editor, Deb Meyer. Her positivity, patience, and constructive comments were invaluable during the writing process.

    Our deep appreciation goes to our families, who supported us throughout our research journeys.

    We dedicate this book to our children: Simon, Ben, Dimitri, and Costa. Their questions about the world and their early interest in informational texts sparked our enthusiasm and involvement in this area of research.

    Publisher's Acknowledgments

    Corwin gratefully acknowledges the contributions of the following reviewers:

    Renee Boss

    NBCT and Secondary English Language Arts Specialist

    Fayette County Public Schools

    Lexington, KY

    Nina Orellana

    Title 1 Teacher

    Palm Bay Academy Charter School

    Palm Bay, FL

    Robert E. Yager

    Professor of Science Education

    University of Iowa

    Iowa City, IA

    About the Authors

    Dr. Helen Patrick is a professor of educational psychology in Purdue University's College of Education. Her teaching and research focus on creating positive classroom environments that promote students’ learning, understanding, and motivation. She has worked in numerous elementary schools in Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana. Most recently, she has worked with teachers and children in ethnically diverse kindergartens, focusing on ways to successfully integrate teaching “big ideas” of science with reading and writing activities. Read more about this Scientific Literacy Project, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, at http://www.purduescientificliteracyproject.org.

    Dr. Panayota (Youli) Mantzicopoulos is professor of educational psychology in Purdue University's College of Education. Her interests include early personal-social development and learning in diverse environments. Her research has examined the effectiveness of early grade-retention practices, the development of self-competence beliefs, early teacher-child relationships, and shared reading of informational texts as a context for learning both at home and school. Her most recent work has been associated with the Scientific Literacy Project (http://www.purduescientificliteracyproject.org), where she has focused on the integration of informational texts with science inquiry activities and on investigating the development of children's socially derived meanings about science. Visit her at https://collaborate.education.purdue.edu/edst/youli/default.aspx.

  • References for Children's Books

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    Yu, N. (2006). Science is everywhere. Waterbury, CT: Abrams.
    Wong, G. (2001). Plants and animals live here. Washington, DC: National Geographic Society.

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