Weaving Children’s Literature into Social Studies K–5

B. Advantages of Using Children’s Literature and Literature Lists

Suggested Time: 15 minutes

Materials:

  • page 7 from the grade 4 literature list (Appendix VI)

Participant Handouts:

  • literature lists for each grade (one copy for each teacher of the grade or grades he or she is teaching)

  1. Review quickly some of the advantages of using children’s literature in the classroom:

    • Widespread availability
    • Easy integration into thematic curricula
    • Generally less dated than non-fiction
    • More focused and provide an in-depth look at social studies concepts
    • More interesting and less confusing for students than textbooks
    • Story lines help students remember concepts better
    • Contain colourful pictures and graphics
    • Present a more human side of social studies than do textbooks
    • Evoke both efferent (factual) and aesthetic response (emotional)
    • Support Inquiry and Research Processes

    These advantages are listed at the end of each of the grade lists.

  2. Hand out the literature lists for each grade (one copy for each teacher of the grade or grades he or she is teaching). There is one list for each grade, K-6. Grade 6 is included since grade 6 teachers may often be present in a literature workshop for K–5. The lists are in the indicated Appendices in the binder and on the accompanying CD-ROM and are named as follows:

    Document Title Document Filename Appendix
    Literature to Support Elementary Social Studies Grade K Lit in Soc St K.doc APPENDIX II
    Literature to Support Elementary Social Studies Grade 1 Lit in Soc St 1.doc APPENDIX III
    Literature to Support Elementary Social Studies Grade 2 Lit in Soc St 2.doc APPENDIX IV
    Literature to Support Elementary Social Studies Grade 3 Lit in Soc St 3.doc APPENDIX V
    Literature to Support Elementary Social Studies Grade 4 Lit in Soc St 4.doc APPENDIX VI
    Literature to Support Elementary Social Studies Grade 5 Lit in Soc St 5.doc APPENDIX VII
    Literature to Support Elementary Social Studies Grade 6 Lit in Soc St 6.doc APPENDIX VIII
  3. Explain that these literature lists are set up to provide title, annotation, indicator of book type (e.g. novels, non-fiction, picture books, poetry, biography, alphabet books, folktales, music, references, etc.), and suggested uses or activities. Titles are grouped under specific outcomes. There is an emphasis throughout on Canadian books and Canadian content. An overhead of page 7 from the grade 4 list is useful for highlighting the characteristics and setup of the lists.

  4. Point out the following about acquiring children’s literature.

    • These lists provide many book suggestions, but there are certainly many other books that would also be very useful.
    • Many, many other books that are suitable will already be in school libraries, and school libraries should be examined for useful titles.
    • Many older but very good titles have been included since many libraries already have these, and many newer titles have been included since many libraries will need to order additional resources.
    • The school library staff should be asked to check to see which titles are in the school library, providing a quick check on books immediately available.
    • The ISBNs for the books on the lists are provided for ordering, although it’s wise to keep in mind that ISBNs change when editions, binding, or publishers change.
    • Trainers and participants need to keep in mind that books are constantly being published, and so many new titles are continuously appearing.
    • Books are also continuously going in and out of print, and so a book that is O/P (out of print) may be so only for a short time before it reappears. Also, a book that has gone out of print in paperback is by no means finished. A great many of these will reappear again in hardcover or in paperback. So always encourage teachers to order books even if they are shown as O/P. They may already be back in print, and also such orders help publishers to decide when and if they will republish a title.
    • Teachers and schools are well advised to purchase ideal books immediately as they become available, because titles go in and out of print so fast nowadays that it is by no means certain that any particular title might be available at a later date. Some do go out of print and do not come back. Books that are out of print are often available from Amazon.com or AbeBooks.com at quite reasonable prices. AbeBooks.com lists the sources, and so it is often possible to select a close source and so pay very little for both the book and the shipping.
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This resource was developed by ERLC as a result of a grant from Alberta Education to support implementation.