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How to Help Students Build Research Skills

Do you want to support students at your school as they conduct research this year? You can help students build research skills starting in elementary school. One of the hardest parts of getting started is finding resources that are just right for this age group of readers.

To help students build research skills, you want to make sure they have access to high-quality text on topics they are interested in learning about. And, of course, you want to ensure that you have routines for accessing articles established at the start of the school year. This can help you more easily introduce these literacy skills to your students.

In today’s blog post, we’ll examine where to find short texts and how to get them into the hands of teachers and students. Supporting student researchers this school year may be easier than you think!

Why Research Skills Are Important in Elementary School

We often associate teaching research skills with the work taking place in secondary classrooms. Middle school and high school students might synthesize information from a variety of sources for a research project. Research skills are important in elementary classrooms, too.

Elementary educators can introduce informational text to students as they take on the role of a fact-finder who gathers information to share with an audience. 

Halloween Reading PebbleGo

Help Students Build Research Skills

To help students build research skills, you need access to high-quality informational text. PebbleGo from Capstone gives students access to reading materials on a wide variety of topics. Regular readers of the blog might have seen my blog posts with ways to use their fantastic resources in different content areas:

If you’re reading this blog post when it goes live in October, you may be several weeks into the school year already. This is the perfect time of year to introduce research skills to your students. You might already have a sense of which English Language Arts (ELA) standards you’ll address during the first half of the year. And you might already know where you want to draw cross-curricular connections (like the ones listed above).

Once the school year is underway, your students have most likely become familiar with the routines for how to log in and access short texts on a platform like PebbleGo. Introducing research skills as you interact with these texts can be the next step after establishing these routines.

Infographic outlining six effective strategies for building student research skills, designed as a quick reference guide for educators.

6 Reasons to Help Students Build Research Skills in Elementary School

There are many reasons to start the school year with a focus on helping students build research skills. 

Boost Independent Learning: Encourage students to locate information independently as they develop questions about the world around them. This can help promote lifelong learning skills they can take into all areas of their lives.

Learn About the World: Research can take many forms. One of the reasons I love the resources in PebbleGo is how it can introduce students to different parts of the world. You might ask students to choose a place they want to learn more about.

Grow Problem-Solving Skills: If you’ve ever struggled to find the answer to a question, you know that research is a process. It often involves overcoming obstacles, which can help students develop problem-solving skills.

Value Curiosity: Research depends on asking great questions and wondering about the world around us. Giving students time to conduct research on high-interest topics can help boost their curiosity during all parts of the school day. 

Connect to Writing: Students who conduct research can share their findings in many different ways. You might use a research activity to connect to writing goals and give students a chance to share what they’ve learned in different ways.

Strengthen Teamwork: In addition to reading independently, you might ask students to research as a group. For example, you might choose a category in PebbleGo, like animals, and each student can conduct research on one animal. 

Help Students Build Research Skills this Fall

This fall, you may have students conduct research on an autumn-themed topic. You might decide to try out a research project alongside these Halloween resources, which includes a shout-out to short passages on the Apple Harvest and Animals in Fall

If you’re catching this blog post closer to Thanksgiving, I’ve also pulled together resources in a blog post from last year. It’s titled, 3 Thanksgiving Lesson Ideas for Reading Classrooms. It includes a few favorite ideas and connections to popular EdTech tools, too.

Ready to get started with PebbleGo? Head over to this landing page to learn more about everything they have to offer.

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EdTech tips and resources for educators, straight from Monica’s desk every Monday. Don’t miss a thing. 

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Blog Author and EdTech Consultant Dr. Monica Burns

Monica Burns

Dr. Monica Burns is a former classroom teacher, Author, Speaker, and Curriculum & EdTech Consultant. Visit her site for more ideas on how to become a tech-savvy teacher.

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