TeachersFirst CurriConnects

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Curriculum-related booklists for independent reading

Use CurriConnects to find books related to curriculum topics or subject areas. Build student literacy skills, reinforce the place of curriculum concepts in other contexts, and help students build the important reading strategy of connecting what they read to prior knowledge. Share CurriConnects as links on your class web page or wiki or share them with school and local libraries where students can select books to accompany what they are studying.

CurriConnects lists include ISBN numbers for ordering or searching, interest grade levels, ESL levels and Lexiles® to match with student independent reading levels to challenge, not frustrate. Learn more about Lexiles® and how they pinpoint student reading levels here. See ideas for using the Curriconnects lists here.

TeachersFirst will continue to add more lists, so check back. If you have a specific topic suggestion, feel free to contact us via our webmaster account, subject line: “CurriConnects suggestion.”

Leaders come in all places, times, ages, and genders. Some quietly set an example as they forge new paths into the unknown so others may follow. Others rally people around them to conquer challenges together. Still others create new ways for people to share common experiences and build communities of ideas. This list of leaders includes a wide sampling from politics to literature and the arts to entertainment. Use this list as you study any topic that features leaders: the founding fathers, famous scientists, and more. Encourage students to read about leaders in diverse fields - including the one you are studying -- to compare and discuss what makes someone a successful leader and why people rise to the top among their peers across time, place, and circumstance.

Help students cope with difficult situations by suggesting reading selections to help. Find books about divorce, death, an absent or deployed parent, moving, a lost pet, difficulty making friends, bullying, failure, eating disorders, weight, and other emotional and psychological challenges.

Learn how bridges and other structures are built, the people behind them, and the risks some people take in pioneering new ways of building, using new materials, or thinking outside the building box. You will even find some stories of structures that failed. Share this list with students during your study of physics of structures, design, or basic concepts such as gravity. Some fiction, and some non-fiction, all will inspire young designers and engineers. Have students choose a book they can connect to concepts you are studying in science class or have them choose a book of interest and generate a list of the questions they would like to learn about after reading the book. The non-fiction selections offer possible informational texts to practice Common Core science literacy skills. For more on text complexity and Lexiles®, see this information from the Lexile Framework.

"Government of the people, by the people, and for the people..." Being a citizen of the U.S. requires that we learn how our government works and take part in that process. These books include topics such as with what it means to be a citizen, how our government works, and the tough decisions that people make -- both citizens and those who work in government. Discover civics-related topics such as voting, creating laws, enforcing laws, and the underlying principles of democracy. The collection includes both true and fictional tales about communities and government and books for all grade levels. Encourage students to select independent reading from this list as part of a citizenship unit, as a focus for Constitution Day, or in a civics/government class.

Growing up is not the same everywhere. What is "typical" for the kids at your school may seem odd or to those who grew up somewhere else. What was typical for our grandparents is not the same as what is typical today. American kids think everyone has electronics. City kids think everyone knows how to take a bus. Country kids think everyone grows up with animals or woods to play in. Some kids spend their time on "screens," while others may spend it in streams. Some kids choose their own activities while others are told what they will do. Some have hours of homework, others do not even have schools.

This collection of books shares tales of childhood in many cultures and countries. Include these books for independent reading during a unit on world cultures, in a guidance class about differences, or in a reading unit about drawing inferences. Spark discussions about what we assume is "normal" and what we should realize about our own upbringing. The conversations will easily evolve into projects where students can compare and contrast or create "profiles" of childhood in different places and cultures.

As you study the Civil War and slavery, let students select books from this collection of fiction and historical fiction. As we honor the 150th anniversary of many Civil War events, what better way for students to make a more personal connection to the people who lived during those tumultuous times.

All history can seem "ancient" unless you connect to it personally. Understand the American colonies and American Revolution by choosing a book to help you connect with the times. This list includes fiction and nonfiction books about life in the American colonies and during the American Revolution as well as books about leaders and major locations of this historic period.

This collection features books about oceans, weather, and geology. Share it in connection with science in general or specifically to complement earth science curriculum.

Enjoy historical fiction and non-fiction about European and other explorers. This list fits well during the study of world wide exploration or at the beginning of an American History course.

Discover historical fiction and non-fiction about colonists and settlers involved in westward expansion, and settlers in Alaska. Use this list as you study the frontier spirit or any of several time periods when the U.S. was growing and changing.

These books explore the roles that landforms and the unique features of our earth play in our lives. These books include mountains, oceans, mesas, rivers, deserts, islands, etc. that play a major part in the lives of the characters. Use this CurriConnects list to complement your study of landforms and geography in general.

Discover fiction about life as an immigrant in America. Use this list as you study any of several time periods when the U.S. experienced waves of immigrants or for literature circles about multiculturalism and the immigrant experience in the U.S.

Scientists, inventors, racecar drivers, and athletes all apply the laws of motion to move quickly, defy gravity, or streamline their movements. Find books, both fiction and nonfiction, featuring real world applications of Newton's Laws. You won't have to force students to read when there are so many choices! Incorporate these books during units on forces, motions, gravity, physical movement (P.E. or dance), and more. Most of the books are at elementary and middle school interest levels, but some selections for more able readers are included. Be sure to check ESL and Lexile levels.

Enjoy these books about inventors throughout history. Some inventors may be lesser known, and some are the typical ones found in curriculum.

Enjoy these books of photographs and about photography in conjunction with art classes and in science as you learn about light and the spectrum. The list includes nonfiction about light and how it works. The interest levels are predominantly elementary and middle school but include selections for more able readers. Have students choose a book they can connect to your light unit in science, to art projects, or simply a book of interest. Extend the experience by having them collect their own photographs as examples of the concepts they learn. Share projects using one of these reviewed presentation tools from the TeachersFirst Edge. The non-fiction selections offer possible informational texts to practice Common Core science literacy skills. For more on text complexity and Lexiles®, see this information from the Lexile Framework.

Read all about efforts to live green and do what is good for our environment. These books tell about people who are DOING something more than complain about the environmental damage cause by poor human behavior. Help your students discover ideas to make a difference and contribute to positive change. As they select from this list, they will have many opportunities to interact and find meaning from informational texts. This list is ideal during April for Earth Day or as you study the environment--or even geography and human impact on our planet.

These books include a map or maps as part of the plot, especially maps that the reader must use to help find the answer, solve the mystery, etc. The list includes both fiction and non-fiction. Use this list as a complement to your study of map skills and geography.

This extensive list includes books about mathematicians, architects, and engineers. These are the people who apply numbers to accomplish great things.Some accomplishemtns Include historic feats.

Browse these biographies and non-fiction choices about people and places in medicine and medical research, including those who made scientific discoveries or pioneered new ways of treating disease. This list is a great complement to any science or health class.

Count up these books about entrepreneurs, consumer skills, shop-owners, and real people in the world of economics or consumerism. This is a great match for units on money at any level.

Share these poetry books, biographies of poets, and poets' books about writing to make poetry more approachable and enjoyable for readers of all interests. This list will fit well during National Poetry Month or any unit on poetry. Finding Lexiles® for poetry can be a challenge, but this list includes them where available. Have your students "collect" their favorite poems as they read from this list and share them as a multimedia poetry reading using copyright-friendly images or even their own artwork. Upload images and add the poetry in the student's own voice using a reviewed multimedia tool from the TeachersFirst Edge. Go "low tech" by hosting a live poetry reading celebration in your classroom or during lunch in the school cafeteria.

What was it like for ordinary people to live during wartime? This collection of books shares how real people experienced the conflicts of the 20th century: two World Wars, the Korean Conflict, the Vietnam War, and smaller conflicts/crises. Explore the human experience of civilian life during wartime, through the eyes of those who lived it. This list can help students add a layer of human reality to the "facts" they study about wars that to them seem "long ago and far way." Go beyond the textbook by encouraging students to choose a book to make connections. Encourage them to share what they learn through writings, fictitious blog posts, or creative presentations using tools from the TeachersFirst Edge.

Feast your eyes on Caldecott winners and books with unusual or beautiful layout or illustrations. The list also includes books about art or artists. This is a wonderful way to include Art in your reading.

Experience science applied in the real world with these books about the how and why of the way things work. Some fiction, and some non-fiction, all will appeal to your curiosity and inspire young designers and engineers. Have students choose a book they can connect to concepts you are studying in science class or have them choose a book of interest and generate a list of the questions they would like to learn about after reading the book. The non-fiction selections offer possible informational texts to practice Common Core science literacy skills. For more on text complexity and Lexiles®, see this information from the Lexile Framework.

Discover books about each of the fifty United States and some U.S. regions. Move your students beyond state facts by encouraging them to select independent reading books to immerse them in the life of the state. This extensive list is sorted by state, with books listed in ascending level "bands" within each state. Listings include ESL and Lexile® levels so every student can read successfully. Go beyond state "reports" to state experiences.

For history, economics, facts, famous people, and sights to see in each state, try TeachersFirst's 50 States, the perfect complement to these independent reading selections.

Brace yourself for the weather in these books about storm phenomena, weather disasters, climate change, and weather's causes and effects. Encourage students to select from this list for independent reading during a unit on disasters, weather, or the Earth's atmosphere. They will "weather" tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards, and more. Keep this list handy when major storms fill the news, as well. Help students make sense of current weather events.

Books about people in different and widely varied careers, including non-traditional ones and lesser-known ones.