Saturday, 25 April 2015

Tips for Reading With Children - Under the Ocean

To help children, parents and educators get the most out of my books, I've written down ideas for reading each book, activities and further places to get good information. These have been on the publisher's website, but a recent revamp means these pages are temporarily inaccessible. So for now I'm putting these ideas on the blog.

Tips for Reading Non-Fiction With Children

  1. It's okay to read a book just the way it's written cover to cover!
  2. On the second (third or fourth!) read, or the first if the child needs a bit of encouragement to stick with a book, get them to look a bit closer at the pictures and talk about what you're reading.
  3. It's great to get them showing you things, "where is the octopus?" Also ask open questions, ones that don't have right or wrong answers "What would it be like to be swimming through this reef?".
  4. Think aloud as you read, "I wonder what will be hiding in the rocky reefs?"
  5. Show them how to use features like the glossary or index. "I wonder what 'echolocation' means? Let's look it up in the glossary." "Shall we see what other pages have information about penguins? Let's look in the index."
  6. Follow up reading the book to find out more about something that interested them, see ideas below for how you might do this.
Reading Under the Ocean at the Festival of the Elements
Learning More About the Ocean
Ocean life can seem quite hidden and hard to observe, perhaps its the very secretive nature of the ocean that adds to the fascination children have with marine life.
There are some easy ways to get to know more about New Zealand’s ocean.
  • borrow books or DVDs  from your local library
  • find YouTube channels that are dedicated to ocean life, you’ll be amazed what you can see online
  • take binoculars with you when you go to the beach or go out on a boat or ferry
  • visit aquariums and museums
  • find and read Maori legends associated with the sea, such as about, Paikea the whale rider
  • if you have an iPad or iPhone download the free “Moana - My Ocean” marine life App from Auckland Museum to help with identification
  • join a local project such as, Marine Metre Squared, a beach clean up or making penguin nesting boxes
  • in Under the Ocean, we decided not to use the term ‘continental shelf’. The Open Ocean pages 12-15 describes animals that live over the continental shelf, ie the open ocean but still close to New Zealand. The deep ocean picture on pages 16-17 is beyond the continental shelf. For more about the depth of the sea around New Zealand and some interesting pictures and diagrams see
Moana - My Ocean App
Do some hands on activities
Some internet sites - mostly these aren't written for children, so your child might need help using them Kiwi Conservation Club - content here is written for children Te Ara - The Encyclopaedia of New Zealand New Zealand Birds Online marine life database Marine Centre at Otago University, including Marine Metre Squared project Marine NZ information portal New Zealand Sealion Trust The Blue Penguin Trust Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust Riley Elliott Shark Scientist Colossal squid information NZ Whale and Dolphin Trust Friends of Taputeranga Marine Reserve Island Bay Marine Education Centre  NIWA water and atmospheric research New Zealand shellfish

A few ideas for educators
Under the Ocean can be linked to these parts of the curriculum
Te Whariki
Strand 5: Exploration
Goal 4: Children experience an environment where they develop working theories for making sense of the natural, social, physical and material worlds.
The New Zealand Curriculum: Science
Nature of Science
Investigating in Science, Communicating in Science
L1-2 Living World
Students will:
Recognise that living things have certain requirements so they can stay alive
Recognise that living things are suited to their particular habitat
Recognise that there are lots of different living things in the world and that they can be grouped in different ways.
L1-2 Planet Earth and Beyond
Students will:
Explore and describe natural features and resources
Some classroom resources
For assessment and teaching ideas see:
Science Online
Science Learn
Department of Conservation for marine reserve field trip ideas and resources