Weaving Children’s Literature into Social Studies K–5
B. Advantages of Using Children’s Literature and Literature
Suggested Time: 15 minutes
- page 7 from the grade 4 literature list (Appendix VI)
Review quickly some of the advantages of using children’s
literature in the classroom:
- Widespread availability
- Easy integration into thematic curricula
- Generally less dated than non-fiction
- More focused and provide an in-depth look at social
- More interesting and less confusing for students than
- Story lines help students remember concepts better
- Contain colourful pictures and graphics
- Present a more human side of social studies than do
- Evoke both efferent (factual) and aesthetic response
- Support Inquiry and Research Processes
These advantages are listed at the end of each of the
Hand out the literature lists for each grade
(one copy for each teacher of the grade or grades he or
she is teaching). There is one list for each grade, K-6.
Grade 6 is included since grade 6 teachers may often be
present in a literature workshop for K–5. The lists are
in the indicated Appendices in the binder and on the accompanying
CD-ROM and are named as follows:
Explain that these literature lists are set up to
provide title, annotation, indicator of book type (e.g.
novels, non-fiction, picture books, poetry, biography,
alphabet books, folktales, music, references, etc.), and
suggested uses or activities. Titles are grouped under
specific outcomes. There is an emphasis throughout on Canadian
books and Canadian content. An overhead of page 7 from
the grade 4 list is useful for highlighting the characteristics
and setup of the lists.
Point out the following about
acquiring children’s literature.
- These lists provide many book suggestions, but there
are certainly many other books that would also be very
- Many, many other books that are suitable will already
be in school libraries, and school libraries should be
examined for useful titles.
- Many older but very good titles have been included
since many libraries already have these, and many newer
titles have been included since many libraries will need
to order additional resources.
- The school library staff should be asked to check to
see which titles are in the school library, providing
a quick check on books immediately available.
- The ISBNs for the books on the lists are provided for
ordering, although it’s wise to keep in mind that ISBNs
change when editions, binding, or publishers change.
- Trainers and participants need to keep in mind that
books are constantly being published, and so many new
titles are continuously appearing.
- Books are also continuously going in and out of print,
and so a book that is O/P (out of print) may be so only
for a short time before it reappears. Also, a book that
has gone out of print in paperback is by no means finished.
A great many of these will reappear again in hardcover
or in paperback. So always encourage teachers to order
books even if they are shown as O/P. They may already
be back in print, and also such orders help publishers
to decide when and if they will republish a title.
- Teachers and schools are well advised to purchase ideal
books immediately as they become available, because titles
go in and out of print so fast nowadays that it is by
no means certain that any particular title might be available
at a later date. Some do go out of print and do not come
back. Books that are out of print are often available
from Amazon.com or AbeBooks.com at quite reasonable prices.
AbeBooks.com lists the sources, and so it is often possible
to select a close source and so pay very little for both
the book and the shipping.
This resource was developed by ERLC as a result of a grant from Alberta Education to support implementation.