Perfect Pairs Grades K-2
Using Fiction & Nonfiction Picture Books to Teach Life Science, K-2
Each of the twenty-two lessons in Perfect Pairs is built around a pair of award-winning trade picture books. After extracting critical content from the books, students participate in an inquiry-based investigative process to explore key life science concepts—from animal/environment interactions to the role of structure in plant and animal survival, from inheritance of traits to variation of species. Even if you are science shy, Perfect Pairs will help you create a classroom that buzzes with curious students eager to explore the natural world.
Behind the Book
“In 2006, I began to realize that some children connect more strongly with nonfiction books, while others prefer fiction. As a result, I started pairing the books I wrote with fiction titles and developing innovative activities with the books as a centerpiece.
“When I met Nancy Chesley in 2008, she was concerned with the way she saw teachers trying to use books to teach science. She was intrigued with my ideas, and we began a series of conversations about the most useful and practical way to combine the magic of children’s books with the wonders of the natural world.
“With the publication of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), we knew the time was right to create Perfect Pairs. By bringing together Nancy’s tremendous experience as an educator and my knowledge of children’s books, we have created a resource that makes science easy to teach and fun to learn.”
“[S]top the presses and reign in the horses because I have seen what may be the MOST useful and beautiful professional use title in all my livelong days. Behold Perfect Pairs: Using Fiction & Nonfiction Picture Books to Teach Life Science, K-2by Melissa Stewart and Nancy Chesley. How would one use such a tome? Well, say you have a teacher that needs to do a science unit of some sort.This book recommends some really brilliant nonfiction titles for kids (and some nonfiction/fiction pairings that are rather good in their own right) and then works them into Common Core State Standards lesson plans. There are sample questions and worksheets and pretty much anything a K-2 teacher would need. It is also lovely on the old eyeballs and clearly well researched. I love it. You need it. No one has heard of it. Go get it.” (Read the full review.)”
— Betsy Bird, New York Public Library's Youth Materials Collections Specialist,
Fuse #8 Productions blog hosted by School Library Journal
“This is a wonderful resource for teachers and librarians who would like to pair fiction and nonfiction picture books to teach life science. Each lesson in the book contains a “wonder statement,” a hands-on activity, a read-aloud of the paired books from which students will take their investigation information, and a concluding activity where students analyze and synthesize their information. The lessons are engaging and address the expectations of the Next Generation Science Standards and support the goals of the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts. Appendixes include reproducibles which are also available on the publisher’s website. The book is well-organized and easy to follow, even for those who do not teach science on a regular basis. The book titles used in the lessons are interesting, well-researched, and age-appropriate. This book will be a valuable addition to the professional collection. Highly Recommended.”
—School Library Connection
Perfect Pairs is divided into teachable lessons, packed with recommended science-themed picture books, and supports the goals of the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts. A superb, user-friendly, lesson-planning tool especially for professional educators (and children's librarians contemplating which picture books to add to their collection!  Perfect Pairs is highly recommended.”
—Midwest Book Review
“These lessons are thoughtful and engaging. Encourage your media center specialist or principal to purchase this book.” (Read the full review.)
—NC Teacher Stuff
Perfect Pairs provides teachers with meaningful ways to use literature and inquiry to engage students in life science concepts. This is a resource that primary teachers should have on their shelves. The "Bibliography of Picture Books" located in the back of the book will be helpful to librarians and teachers looking to beef up their science collections. Librarians, order Perfect Pairs for your library's professional resource collection. The teachers in your school or community will thank you!" (Read the full review.)
—Nonfiction Detectives
“… what I loved about this book is despite how comprehensive it is there is an ease in which it is laid out and how it is structured. Whether someone is a new or an experienced teacher, the ideas and suggestions are easy to follow and can be implemented in the classroom. For teachers, who may be a bit nervous about teaching science or for those, who are feeling overwhelmed when they hear NGSS, Perfect Pairs helps by making it all a little more understandable.
“Recently, I took Perfect Pairs into a meeting I was having with a school librarian. She is one of the few librarians I know who also has an advanced degree in science. As she flipped through the book, her comment was "every K-2 teacher needs a copy of this." Yes, my sentiments exactly.”
(Read the full review.)
—Kid Lit Frenzy
Perfect Pairs Grades K-2
by Melissa Stewart
and Nancy Chesley
Stenhouse Publishers, 2014
for Grades K to 2
ISBN 978-1-57110-958-3
Purchase this book at your local independent bookseller or
Interested in Perfect Pairs
for grades 3-5?
Perfect Pairs, Grades 3-5
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