The power of books
In collaboration with BookTrust, the UK’s largest children’s reading charity, the National Education Nature Park has created this short guidance on the power of books to help us understand the natural world; why and how books can be used as part of climate and biodiversity education.
Why Use Books?
The benefits of creating a nature-themed book corner
The National Education Nature Park is all about developing a positive connection with nature through first-hand exploration in the local environment and this can be enriched through exposing learners to a wide range of books.
Reading supports children and young people to develop their knowledge and understanding of the planet and can have the power to inspire change. Books allow learners to explore other people’s experiences and ways of living, supporting empathy and understanding of different perspectives, in turn allowing them to respect different knowledge and needs. Learning about other cultures, and experiences through books can inspire children and young people to make positive changes to their own lives. There are many other benefits:
- Improving nature-related vocabulary
- Gaining knowledge of nature, natural process and people around the world
- The development of critical thinking skills
- An effective wellbeing strategy
For more on the benefits of reading, find BookTrust’s research here
Using books to support engagement with nature and agency in a changing world
A classroom rich with books can allow children and young people to explore different genres and choose materials in areas they are curious about. To make the most of books that promote an understanding of the natural world, consider the following top tips:
- Include a range of genres and themes in your nature-based book corner (both fiction and non-fiction texts are equally beneficial to young people’s exploration of the natural world)
- Use books about nature as a springboard to meaningful discussion, supporting critical thinking skills. Here are a few question prompts that you may use:
Does the story change the way you think about the natural world?
What questions about the world around you would you now like to explore?
Will you do anything differently, now you have read the book / story?
Why do you think others should read this?
- Promote opportunities for learners to read in their outdoor setting, supporting a connection with their local environment and modelling strategies to slow down and enjoy being in nature
- Create an outdoor book corner
- Use books as a stimulus for outdoor learning
Which Books to Choose
Books are expensive but there are always ways to support a rich variety of texts:
- In primary schools, why not rotate them between classes
- Share the BookTrust book lists with the PTA on the off chance that funds may be available to select some nature-themed books.
Here are some perfect booklists to choose from: