Reading and writing happens across the curriculum, including the sciences. This summer, strengthen children's literacy, inquiry, and problem-solving skills — and connect kids with high-quality nonfiction and informational books.
Explore our summer science themes
Parents and summer program staff: looking for ways to bring more science into your summer learning activities? We’ve got some cool ideas for warm summer days. Browse our science-themed activity guides that combine great books with easy hands-on activities — plus recommendations for kid-friendly websites and awesome apps to extend the learning. Ready to print and go!
Find more great resources and tips to help you launch a summer of science discoveries!
Thanks to bees, we have many good foods to eat. While bees are out collecting nectar, they’re also moving pollen from flower to flower — to help grow the important fruit and vegetable crops we eat. Learn more about these fascinating insects! We've collected five fun activities and lots of great fiction and nonfiction books to get you started.
Many kids are fascinated by airplanes, helicopters, parachutes, and boomerangs (do they really come back?). We've gathered up five fun activities (including a writing prompt to create your own comic) and lots of great fiction and nonfiction books to help you learn together about flight and flying machines.
The Night Sky
Going outside on a warm summer night to gaze at the moon and stars is a wonderful summertime activity. Kids are naturally curious about the way the moon changes shape day by day, and fascinated by the constellations in the night sky — is that the Big Dipper over there? We've collected five fun activities (including a writing prompt to create your own modern-day myth) and lots of great fiction and nonfiction books for young astronomers.
Think Like an Inventor
Inventors are creative problem solvers and can think flexibly, finding new ways to connect ideas. Strengthen creative thinking and problem-solving skills by giving kids interesting challenges — like how to make a robot that can draw, or how to build a stable structure out of gumdrops. And try your hand at Chinese tangrams: how many different objects can you make with all the shapes? Explore five fun activities and lots of great fiction and nonfiction books for young inventors.
How rainy is it outside this week? How fast is the wind? Build your own rain gauge and anemometer, keep a weather diary, listen to the sound of rain with a homemade rainstick, create summer snowflakes right in your kitchen and more. Explore six fun activities plus a bundle of great fiction and nonfiction books all about weather. Happy forecasting!
Literacy in the sciences
Scientists, just like readers, make predictions all the time. Help kids to see the connection between what they can do as readers and what they can do as science explorers. Here are two simple ways to encourage kids to put their prediction skills to work.
Patterns and Categorizing
Children begin using their senses to recognize patterns and categorize things at a young age — skills that play an important role in early learning, including word study, science and math. This tip sheet provides some simple activities to help build pattern recognition and categorization skills.
Recording Observations: Journals and Field Notes
Science and math explorations provide growing readers with a chance to strengthen observational and record-keeping skills by keeping a special journal to fill with sketches, notes, and graphs. Try these ideas to get started.
Recording Observations: Capturing and Sharing Images
Young kids love technology, gadgets, and nature! While parents may be looking for ways to reduce screen time for their kids, here are a few helpful suggestions for integrating simple technology and books into your outdoor adventures in a fun and educational way.
Beat the Heat with Your Weather Page
Summer's temperatures often send kids and adults inside to cooler air. Here are a few tips to make the most of those hot afternoons with some literacy and math fun using only your newspaper, computer, or other household items.
The Night Before the Museum
Day trips, vacations and special outings create special memories and great learning opportunities for families. Here are a few "stops" to make before your visit to help children get the most out of a family or school educational experience. .
Summer adventure tracker
Learn all summer long in your own community! Track your learning adventures with our downloadable map and log sheet. Match your adventures with our Start with a Book themes — and find lots of related books, activities and apps to extend the learning.
Summer book tracker
Log and rate all of your summer reading!
Nonfiction for kids
Getting the Most Out of Nonfiction Reading Time
Nonfiction books give kids a chance to learn new concepts and vocabulary, as well as broaden their view of the world. Learn how to take a "book walk" with a new nonfiction book and how to model active reading.
How to Read Nonfiction Text
Many children love to read about science and nature as well as real people, places, and events. Nonfiction books present information in engaging and interesting ways. Help kids learn to navigate all the parts of a nonfiction book — from the table of contents to the diagrams, captions, glossary, and index.
Finding Great Nonfiction Books
Of course, Start with a Book has lots of great nonfiction titles — just browse our themed lists! Public and school librarians are a great resource for helping identify high-quality nonfiction books, for any interest or reading level. There are also many excellent online resources. Here are a few of our favorites: