The Story of Read for Science
Many students enduring text and test-driven kind of science have the idea that doing the hard work is just not worth it. Those who struggle to read (some one in five) may find science texts especially inaccessible to them. After middle school, many simply turn away from science education, setting themselves up to become science illiterate in a world where decisions based on science and technology are made on their behalf every day. Not knowing what they don't know, they can be educationally vulnerable to risk of harm from many hazards.
Since 1998, Read for Science has been a woman-owned small business dedicated to bringing students into empowering relationships with reading, science and the arts. The work foregrounds Reading not only as the de-coding of text, but as the multimodal practice of noticing, knowing, asking, and discovering the World. To Read the World is to enter into its story in a state of wide awakeness - opening oneself to its wonder, possibilities, and challenges.
The founder, Dr. Merrie Koester, is a practicing scientist, science educator, educational consultant, novelist, visual artist, and poet. She has written, published, and presented extensively on the power of teaching STEM and the Arts together, a pedagogical practice now called STEAM. In her work as an educational consultant, Dr. Koester designs and facilitates professional development and training for school districts and other organizations who seek to develop empowering STEAM programs. She has been presenting her research at professional educational conferences for the last twenty-five years and is the STEAM education specialist for the University of SC Center for Science Education.
Each novel and program features youth becoming empowered because they figure out how to solve problems themselves. They use creative problem solving and critical thinking as they acquire and apply STEM knowledge and skills, together with creative competencies. In the process, they become productive, pro-active resilient citizens who know how to use their voices!
Read for Science Publications and Projects
The Agnes Pflumm science education novels are the flagship novels for Read for Science Publishing. They are being implemented nationwide by teachers, homeschooling parents, environmental education programs, and after school programs. New PFLUMMSTERS are popping up everywhere, invited to imagine, draw, journal, and creatively perform STEAM learning that is informed by their own problem solving. These works are meant to invoke joy, laughter, empathy, and the understanding that we are all artists and all scientists.
24 and 23 Make Me was a collaborative effort by high school senior, Julia Sacha, and Dr. Koester. Julia has beautifully illustrated the story of Grace, a teenager with Down's Syndrome, explaining the genetics behind how she came to be so special. Science teachers can use this book to explain the process of meiosis in a way that invites questions and promotes celebration of our differences. Youth groups and churches can rally around those like Grace when they participate in The SC Special Olympics. In Charleston, SC, Julia and Dr. Koester have sponsored "Team Grace" to support the real live Grace and her friends for the local Special Olympics. The message? Different is special is great!
Us and the Creek is a book that emerged when a group of second grade students created powerful art about why saving a salt marsh near them mattered so much.
Kids Teaching Flood Resilience is a non-profit, collective impact initiative directed by Dr. Koester through the University of SC Center for Science Education. The work seeks to position youth as resources of knowledge and resilience about what to Notice, KNOW, and DO in the event of extreme weather.