Less is More: Literacy and Science

To master the Next Generation Life Science Standards, young students must develop an understanding of how plants and animals use their external parts to help them survive and thrive. But wait! Have first graders noticed that animals don’t all have the same coverings? And if they know that snakes and armadillos don’t have fur, can they name the coverings they do have?

With the almost wordless No Dogs Allowed, Linda Ashman has given her readers an intriguing way to think about those coverings. The sign at the restaurant says that no dogs are allowed, but what happens if other animals arrive? The sign can’t fit a long list of animals, so the waiter who is trying to exclude them must use categories: first, no one with fur, then scales, and so on. Readers begin to predict what’s ahead by using the illustrations – a literacy standard in the Common Core. The gems of detail in the illustrations pull the reader back to the beginning to explore and enjoy again and again.

On Ms. Ashman’s website, she describes her inspiration for this book and the underlying theme of acceptance, always important to keep in mind.

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