Skip to main content
Young boy holding turtle in nature center

Literacy in the Sciences

Here you’ll find ideas for pairing STEM-themed books with hands-on activities, booklists, interviews with children’s authors, links to science-themed shows from PBS Kids, and more. 

On this page:

Literacy in the sciences tip sheets

Many of the skills that are critical for growing strong readers and writers are also core skills in the study of science and math. Predicting, understanding cause and effect, understanding sequence, acquiring a rich vocabulary, building background knowledge, and developing the ability to read and write informational text are some of the skills we’re looking at in the Literacy in the Sciences series. These easy-to-read two-page tip sheets are written especially for parents and include activities and books to extend your child’s learning.

Our literacy in the sciences tip sheets are available in English and Spanish!

Each tip sheet includes simple activities you can do with your child to build literacy and beginning science skills. Each tip sheet also includes a set of recommended picture books to extend the learning. These tip sheets are part of our Growing Readers parent newsletter series. Subscribe to Growing Readers and get the latest edition delivered right to your inbox.

Great science and math books for kids

There are so many well-researched, beautifully designed, and readable science books for young children. And kids love nonfiction — they enjoy looking at every detail in the photographs, reading the captions, and trying to puzzle out the charts, diagrams, and timelines. There are also many quality fiction books with a math or science theme that can provide the perfect doorway for getting kids interested in the world around them.

Browse our booklists

Find more books!

Take a look at the books from our Science and Math booklists and our Creatures booklists. You can also use our Book Finder tool to search for more science-themed fiction and nonfiction books. You can filter by age, genre, format, and topic. Book Finder also makes it easy to discover diverse titles. Browse Book Finder

Video interviews with children’s authors

Reading Rockets has an extensive library of video interviews with award-winning children’s authors. We’ve selected the following writers and illustrators whose work focuses on science and math themes:

More science-themed resources from Reading Rockets

PBS Kids science programs and activities

Nature Cat (opens in a new window)(Ages 3-8)  
With the help of his animal friends, Nature Cat embarks on action-packed adventures that include exciting missions full of nature investigation.

Peg + Cat (opens in a new window)(Ages 3-5)  
An animated math-based series that follows Peg and her sidekick Cat as they embark on adventures, solve problems together, and learn foundational math concepts and skills.

The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That (opens in a new window) (Ages 4-5)  
In each program, the Cat in the Hat and his friends Sally and Nick go on a science adventure such as shrinking to bee-size to explore a hive and discover how honey is made; flying with birds to discover how and why they migrate; or diving inside flowers to find out more about the animals that depend on them to live.

Dinosaur Train (opens in a new window) (Ages 4-5)  
This animated series embraces and celebrates the fascination that preschoolers have with both dinosaurs and trains, while encouraging basic scientific thinking skills as children learn about life science, natural history and paleontology. Along with the animated stories, there are short live-action segments hosted by a paleontologist.

Sid the Science Kid (opens in a new window) (Ages 4-5)  
This animated show uses comedy to promote exploration, discovery, and science readiness among preschoolers, and taps into children’s natural curiosity about science in everyday life. The energetic and inquisitive Sid starts each episode with a new question like “why are my shoes shrinking?” or “why do bananas get mushy?”

Plum Landing (opens in a new window) (Ages 6-9)  
In this animated series, meet Plum, a video game designer from the desolate Planet Blorb, who longs to experience nature. The Plum Landing curriculum is aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards and is designed to give kids an undderstanding of the science underlying healty ecosystems and sustainability.

WildKratts (opens in a new window) (Ages 6-8)  
Chris and Martin Kratt encounter incredible wild animals, combining science education with fun and adventure, while traveling to animal habitats around the globe. The program can help strengthen basic skills of observation and investigation that children will use increasingly as they continue their study of science.

Cyberchase (opens in a new window) (Ages 8-12)  
Designed for kids ages 8 to 12, the program uses mystery, humor, and action to deliver positive messages about math by teaching concepts in a fun, understandable way. From tackling time in ancient Egyptian tombs to cracking codes in creepy caves, kids learn that math is everywhere and fun to use! A live-action segment shows kids how math can help solve life’s crazy problems in the real world.

SciGirls (opens in a new window) (Ages 8-12)  
SciGirls is designed to spark a girl’s curiosity in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The show is all about hands-on science inquiry. Viewers learn the scientific process, work collaboratively to investigate meaningful questions, and see how STEM helps people solve problems, achieve goals, and help others.