Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Moving On Up! Smithsonian Readers: Seriously Amazing Level 2

"Founded in 1846, the Smithsonian is the world's largest museum and research complex, consisting of 19 museums and galleries. The Smithsonian's vision is to shape the future by preserving our heritage, discovering new knowledge, and sharing our resources with the world."

The Smithsonian's rationale above includes sharing their resources with elementary students, as evidenced in their new series, Smithsonian Readers.

Part of a series of four sturdy volumes, Smithsonian Readers shares the wealth of knowledge within their domain with children reading at the Grade 2-3 levels. In this second volume, the language is adjusted to complement the developing skills of young readers, offering more complex vocabulary, more advanced phonic structures and increasingly complex sentence structures in the text, with the goal of helping shape the readings to the content comprehension level of elementary students.

Like Level 1, this volume is divided in to six broad areas of science--Nighttime Animals, Sea Life, Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Creatures, The Solar System, Baby Anlmals, and the Human Body. Each subject area is broken down into subsections that provide understanding of the relevant details. For example, the section on nocturnal animals deals with why some animals are nocturnal (keeping cool in hot climes, avoiding predators), the unique senses of nocturnal animals (large, adapted eyes and ears and an extended sense of touch and what and how they hunt for food). Specific nocturnal creatures include both the familiar bat and owl and the lesser-known Baird's tapir and wombat. Similarly, the section on Sea Life considers adaptations of ocean life from mollusks to sharks, corals to whales under the surface and sea birds who spend most of their time in the air over the oceans.

Each of the six section offers dozens of color photos and well-organized information on subjects that young readers find fascinating--from the ever-popular tyrannosaurus rex to the 67 (and counting) moons of Jupiter. Each section is provided with a glossary, which repeats the special terms introduced in the text in bold-faced type, a set of self-testing quizzes in familiar multiple-choice form, and special press-out cards for review. sharing, and games.

Available singly or in a set of four volumes with additional learning materials and activities (see previous review here), this is an worthy addition to the early elementary science curriculum, particularly useful for home schoolers and as enrichment activities for individuals and small groups in the classroom.

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