Resources: Read Alouds Tools & Professional Learning for Dual Language Classrooms

May 8, 2024

Read-alouds are a staple routine in many elementary classrooms and are one way to strategically fit more science into the busy elementary schedule. We are sharing these examples and resources for professional learning to expand teachers’ lenses on ways to select science read-alouds that center justice and inclusion, to incorporate more genres of read-alouds into science learning and to grow students’ identities and sense of belonging in science and engineering elementary classrooms.


  • Carolyn Colley, Renton Public Schools
  • Patricia Venegas-Weber, University of Washington
  • Caitlin G McC Fine, Metropolitan State University of Denver


Many elementary teachers struggle to fit science into their busy daily instructional schedule. Read-alouds offer the potential to integrate science into the literacy block and offer to integrate language and literacy into science instruction. Unfortunately, many science-specific texts in an attempt to appeal to ‘all’ learners represent science content devoid of interesting storylines or authentic representations of communities (Kelly, 2018). Justice-oriented science learning should portray humans as ‘a part of’ rather than ‘apart from’ the natural world (Learning in Places, 2024). Texts have the potential to represent windows and mirrors of students’ lived experiences. What is more, they can “draw on students’ linguistic and cultural resources is essential to helping [students] navigate life in a diverse world, in addition to supporting them in meeting demands of academic content areas as they advance through school” (WIDA English Language Development Framework, 2020, page 18).

As teachers plan which texts to use and how to use them, they need tools to support their work. This set of resources help teachers select and analyze read-aloud texts that align with their science learning goals, center robust language and literacy practices, and leverage students’ assets. Furthermore, the resources help teachers identify strengths and opportunities for criticality as they plan how to use science texts in their classrooms from justice, equity, and inclusion perspectives.


Illustration Exploring Example: Kindergarteners were studying what happened to a puddle on their playfield after a rainstorm. To respond to their questions, the teacher pulled a stack of books from the library about weather with rich illustrations so students could read the pictures along with some words. Before reading one book as class to focus a discussion and set up the next investigation, the teacher had students explore illustrations in groups: ‘Remember how we all want to figure out what’s happening to our puddle? We had some ideas and I bet these authors and illustrators do, too.  Look for clues in the books with your group: How does the illustrator show where water comes from and where it goes? When you find arrows or symbols that show you, tag it with a small sticky note!  Remember to take turns holding the books and looking together.’ Students then tagged pages to share and talk about as a whole class. During sharing, the teacher added to a “Ways to Model” anchor chart collecting moves illustrators used to show movement, size, amount, and direction such as arrows, lines, labels, symbols in these weather books.  Students then tried out these modeling moves in their work or invented new ways to show their ideas on paper.

Curious about book titles of modeling features students found?  See this PDF for titles of books and opportunities to discuss images with some teacher notes.

Teacher Educators & Professional Learning

Patricia, Carolyn, and Caitlin share a professional learning session plan here for K-5 teachers to engage them in expanding their lenses of selecting texts and planning for student interactions with texts: 



Read-Alouds in Math

Read-Alouds in Science


Doing and Talking Math & Science Discourse Moves Tools (English / Spanish)

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This site is primarily funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) through Award #1907471 and #1315995