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Maria Salvadore

Reading Rockets' children's literature expert, Maria Salvadore, brings you into her world as she explores the best ways to use kids' books both inside — and outside — of the classroom.

Full STEAM ahead

September 14, 2012

Have you ever blown off steam? Or maybe you've run out of steam.

I got a new appreciation for the power of STEAM at a recent panel discussion convened by Reading Is Fundamental (aka RIF).

Their newest effort combines quality children's books with art and literacy activities to help adults (educators, families, and the community) to enhance STEM education — science, technology, engineering, math — for young children. The activities are presented in a brief, accessible way for both busy teachers and parents who may not read comfortably.

It makes perfect sense. Literacy and art are a natural part of STEM education. The ability to read, speak, and communicate is critical. Art is a way of communicating, seeing and recording the world, sometimes literally, other times figuratively.

I often quote a friend who once said that reading is the on-ramp to the information superhighway. And the foundations for reading — and just about everything else — begin at a very young age.

A recent blog post from RIF illustrates this approach with a book that I've used successfully with K-2 children: How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? (Schwartz & Wade).

RIF's new Multicultural Book Collection of 40 books is diverse, sometimes surprising, and just downright appealing. It just may get creative juices going among children and adults. Younger children may start to think of themselves as scientists, and maybe avoid the math and science phobias that so many of us seem to develop.

Take a look. And if you like what you see as much as I do, then full STEAM ahead!

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"Wear the old coat and buy the new book." — Austin Phelps