Supporting Scientific Discussions: Moving Kindergartners’ Conversations Forward
Connecting discussions to meaningful content is one way to support children’s oral language and background knowledge. In this article, we describe how a kindergarten teacher supported students’ engagement in discussions in ways that helped them develop their oral language and background knowledge.

West, J. M., Wright, T. S., Gotwals, A. W. (2021). Supporting scientific discussion: Moving kindergartners’ conversations forward. The Reading Teacher, 74(6), 703-712.

Science and Literacy Team-Up to Support Young Children: SOLID Start Science Curriculum Materials
The science and engineering practices and informational texts can support children in making sense of phenomena. In this article, we explain the design of the SOLID Start curriculum materials around puzzling phenomena and unit- and lesson-driving questions that pique young students’ curiosities about the world around us. We also use five instructional strategies in the curriculum materials – Ask, Explore, Read, Write, and Synthesize – to support students scientific sensemaking.

Bismack, A. S., West, J., Wright, T. S., & Gotwals, A. W. (Winter 2020). Science and literacy team-up to support young children: SOLID Start science curriculum materials. MSTA Journal, 65(1), 33-42.

The Boxcar Challenge Unit: Integrating Engineering Design, Science, and Literacy for Kindergarten
Engaging young children in engineering design can provide fruitful opportunities to develop their understanding of science, while also supporting disciplinary literacy practices. This article discusses ways to support young children’s science learning and language and literacy development in the context of one of our Kindergarten units: Boxcar Challenge. 

Edwards, K. D., Gotwals, A. W., & Wright, T. S. (2020). The Boxcar Challenge unit: Integrating engineering design, science, and literacy for kindergarten. Science and Children, 57(5), 47-53

Discussion Supports Sense-Making Within and Across Lessons
Science discussions allow young children opportunities to share their ideas while developing their understanding of science. Doing so can also support their engagement in the practices of science. In this article, we discuss ways a kindergarten teacher supported her young students’ science learning through the use of science discussions.

Wright, T. S., Haverly, C., West, J., & Gotwals, A. W. (2019). Discussion Supports Sense-Making Within and Across Lessons. Science and Children, 57(4), 50-56.

Supporting Kindergartner’s Science Talk in the Context of an Integrated Science and Disciplinary Literacy Curriculum
Curriculum materials that are NGSS and CCSS ELA-aligned allow young children to succeed. In this paper, we outline how kindergartners participating in the SOLID Start curriculum materials outperform their peers in business-as-usual classrooms. In particular, they are better able to make claims, provide evidence, and retain and use vocabulary in a science context.

Wright, T. S. & Gotwals, A. W. (2017). Supporting kindergartners’ science talk in the context of an integrated science and disciplinary literacy curriculum. The Elementary School Journal, 117, 513-537.

From “Plants don’t eat” to “Plants are producers”: The Role of Vocabulary in Scientific Sense-making
Vocabulary can be an important tool to engage young children in the practices of science while also supporting their oral language development. Using one of our Kindergarten units focused on ants, plants, and the environment, we outline the ways we integrate vocabulary into science discussions to support kindergarteners’ oral language development and science learning. 

Gotwals, A. W., & Wright, T. (2017). From “plants don’t eat” to “plants are producers”: The role of vocabulary in scientific sense-making. Science and Children, 55(3), 44-50. 

Supporting Disciplinary Talk from the Start of School: Teaching Students to Think and Talk Like Scientists
Oral language development can support reading comprehension and science learning. In this article, we articulate ways to use science talks to support young students’ oral language development. We encourage the use of five instructional strategies to engage students in science talks: Ask, Explore, Read, Write, and Discuss.  

Wright, T. S., & Gotwals, A. W. (2017). Supporting disciplinary talk from the start of school: Teaching students to think and talk like scientists. The Reading Teacher, 71(2), 189-197. 

Potential to Reality: Content-Rich Vocabulary and Informational Text
Informational texts provide opportunities to discuss vocabulary in ways that support young children in developing discipline-specific understanding. This article outlines ways to support content learning and oral language development by integrating the thoughtful study of vocabulary during read-alouds of informational texts. 

Wright, T. S. (2014). From potential to reality: Content-rich vocabulary and informational text. The Reading Teacher, 67(5), 359-367.

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