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Lesson Plan

Rain, Ice, Steam: Using Reading to Support Inquiry About the Water Cycle

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Grades K – 2
Lesson Plan Type Unit
Estimated Time Seven 60-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Jane Thompson

Highland Village, Texas


International Literacy Association



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



Rain, ice, and steam—water takes on all three forms as it moves between the land, the ocean, and the atmosphere. In this unit of study, first and second grade students discover the repetitive topic of water. Read-alouds of several books related to the theme are used to introduce the topic of rain, and several hands-on experiments and classroom centers teach students about the water cycle and how it functions. After exploring the different parts of the water cycle, students demonstrate the knowledge they have gained by working in groups to write and perform a play.

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Schmidt, P., Gillen, S., Zollo, T., & Stone, R. (2002). Literacy learning and scientific inquiry: Children respond. The Reading Teacher, 55(6), 534–548.

  • Although the study outlined in this article focused primarily on six low-literacy learners, the researchers concluded that literacy development is likely to occur when language arts and science are connected in the classroom. Students activated prior knowledge, developed their own lines of inquiry, used books to get information, and participated more eagerly in classroom discussion.

  • Integrating reading, writing, listening, and speaking is an effective way to improve content area learning in early-childhood classrooms.

  • Allowing inquiry to drive lesson planning helps link literacy to the learning of scientific concepts.

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