Educator Development

Making Connections between Literacy Skills and STEM

By Julie Willcott

Far too often, traditional education has isolated content into discrete places and times. This can happen particularly after a student completes elementary school.

Recently, the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields have begun to increasingly integrate content. This movement began in response to the need for additional skills in higher-paying jobs in the U.S. economy.

At the same time, interest has increased in engaging girls in STEM, as females remain underrepresented in these fields. STEM jobs require content expertise; however, the abilities to read critically, communicate effectively and to analyze information are also needed. These are literacy skills.

There are many reasons why connecting literacy and science is vital in the learning environment:

  • The stories of science need to be heard. Many scientists in the past have faced significant discrimination, and their stories have not been told. Learners need the inspiration provided by these stories. They need to know that scientists can look like them.
  • Learners need to develop digital literacy skills. Students need to create information that is scientifically accurate and clearly communicated.
  • To teach the whole child, it is important to connect content areas, which can be isolated.

If you are wondering how to get started with these ideas in your own classroom, check out Connecting Literacy and Science, a self-paced online course by myself and Audrey O’Clair.

In the course, Audrey and I explore how literacy and science can connect using curiosity, empathy and inspiration. We consider the language of science and literacy, and the links between them.

Be sure to enroll in Connecting Literacy and Science, and use the code 20Connect to get a 20% discount.

For more information on how to connect literacy and science, as well as to learn alongside educators around the world, join Julie and Audrey’s Community of Practice

Julie spent 20 years teaching high school science and was recognized as an Apple Distinguished Educator for her innovative uses of technology in education. She currently designs and delivers learning experiences for educators with a focus on science and technology. You can connect with Julie on Twitter @WillcottJulie.