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Here are five steps schools can take to

help students become independent, literate

learners in content areas.

A 8 Leadership

year ago I attended a meeting featuring special guest Sally Ride, the first female astro- naut. She came to this meeting

of curriculum and instruction specialists gathered from all parts of California to answer a single question: Why do children lose interest in science, especially as they move through the grades in school? Ride’s active participation at this meet-

ing affirmed her interest in keeping the pipeline of developing scientists on the cutting edge for the United States. A fur- ther affirmation of her commitment to the improvement of science education was her founding of the Sally Ride Science Founda- tion, guided by the motto “To inform and inspire through innovative science pro- grams and publications.” As the meeting unfolded, responses re-

sounded quickly and in unison. Most par- ticipants agreed that providing more hands- on activities in science would improve both teachers’ science instruction and students’

intrinsic interest. Teachers need to make science fun. As I listened, I reflected on my recent walk-throughs in schools, watching our exemplary elementary teachers either involving students in hands-on science ac- tivities and experiments or explaining sci- ence concepts in a direct-instruction mode while the students participated in some type of note taking. Rarely was I seeing the sci- ence textbook used as a tool during the sci- ence lesson.

When text becomes more difficult I began to formulate this question:

As text becomes more difficult in middle school and in high school, are teachers help- ing their students develop the schema nec- essary for dealing with complex, expository text at the higher lexile levels? In my con- versation with Sally Ride, I briefly described my contention that text complexity and lex-

By Sue Kaiser and Greg Kaiser

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