Before the end of first grade, kids should have a basic understanding of common math and science concepts. On the science side of things, children should at least be aware of waves (sound, light, etc.), genetics, animals/plants, and the solar system. Math is largely focused on understanding place value, basic math (addition, subtraction, perhaps multiplication/division), and pattern recognition. You may consider checking out the NGSS site for some information on science/engineering standards for kindergarten and first grade.
One note about the age-based book guides: I have attempted to categorize books by the age kids are most likely to enjoy the book. However, my experience as a parent has taught me that children enjoy and experience books in different ways at different ages. And that engagement/enjoyment varies by child, so please take a look at some of our other age-based book guides.
Must be honest: I had no idea who named Pluto. I knew the connection with Roman mythology but was not aware of Ventia Burney who is credited with naming the planet. The author Alice McGinty brings Venetia’s story to life through a short tale complemented by many great illustrations.
Crosisngs takes a different approach to talking about animals. The author looks at how animals and humans co-exist by examining the different ways humans have enabled animals to move from place to place. Large illustrations make this a fun book for kids to read.
The animals discussed in the book are: elk, black bears, penguins, squirrel gliders, koalas, red crabs, pangolins, elephants, salamanders, panthers, coyotes, and monkeys.
This book aligns well with the NGSS standards as a book that can introduce kids to genetics.
The book follows along as two children grow, helping readers understand how our genetics influence the way we grow. This is then compared to animals and plants to teach that while there are some commonalities with animals, animals and plants have distinctly different DNA. Large illustrations demonstrate this difference. Another large illustration shows the details of the double helix.
If you child ends up enjoying this book, you should also look at the author and illustrator’s first book Many: The Diversity of Life on Earth.
I love the approach Bethany Barton takes with her books. The book is presented as a conversation between the writer/narrator and the main character. This “argumentative” approach draws children in to learn more about the topic being presented. And in this case, that topic is geology. The study of rocks, or as the girl protagonist makes clear: rocks are so much more than just rocks. Geology includes diamonds, volcanoes, fossils, and so much more.
Yes, another book about geology. And this one uses a rock as the primary protagonist. Just like Spotted Beetle, Tall Pine, and Hummingbird in the book, this at first seems like a recipe for a boring book. But Old Rock proves us all wrong by relaying his life story.
His story includes:
- Shooting out of a volcano
- Living among the dinosaurs
- Observing glaciers and trees
- Listening to animals relay their travels
Let’s Ride a Wave is a kid-friendly introduction to sound waves and fits right into the kindergarten / first-grade sciences standards. This book differs from many of the others on this list by offering real-life examples and experiments that kids can participate in. That makes this book perfect for mid-afternoon reading time, and less so for bedtime.