Search form

About The Blogger

Steps To Literacy's picture
Steps to Literacy® is a family-founded company comprised of a team of people that truly care about the impact they have on schools, teachers, and students. Our mission is to partner with educators to...
Back to Blog

Engaging Literacy for Next Generation Science Standards

Next Generation Science Standards


What are the Next Generation Science Standards?

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are new K-12 science standards created to provide students with foundational science education to prepare them for college and careers. Based on the National Research Council’s A Framework for K-12 Science Education, the NGSS were developed through a collaborative, state-led process.

The Next Generation Science Standards are focused on helping students use science to make sense of real-world phenomena and use engineering to solve problems. Currently, about 40% of teachers teach real-world applications of science.1

Why Next Generation Science Standards?

Quality science education is particularly important to ensure that students develop a deep understanding of content and develop key skills that will serve them throughout their education. In 2015, the United States ranked 19th in science on the Program for International Student Assessment.2

The National Science Teachers Association suggests “It is essential that all students have access to a high-quality science education that provides them with the skills and knowledge they need to be well-informed citizens, to be prepared for college and careers, and to understand and appreciate the scientific enterprise.”3 Where traditional science education has focused on large volumes of content, NGSS encourages students to be active learners through inquiry-based learning.

How are the Next Generation Science Standards Implemented?

Every NGSS standard has three dimensions: Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCIs), Crosscutting Concepts, and Scientific and Engineering Practices. Three-dimensional learning allows students to explore, examine, and explain how phenomena occur and strategize solutions in an integrative approach.

Students explain phenomena by developing and applying the Disciplinary Core Ideas and Crosscutting Concepts through use of the Scientific and Engineering Practices. The NGSS combines all three dimensions to create a coherent learning process and build on the knowledge acquired in each grade.

How were Steps To Literacy’s NGSS collections curated and how will they support literacy instruction in the classroom?

Our collections were carefully curated by educators to support the K-5 implementation of the NGSS into the classroom literacy block. Titles in the Steps To Literacy grade-level NGSS collections were selected to provide essential background knowledge of topics, align to the specific sub standards, and be easily accessible to readers. These collections include high-interest titles with graphics, visuals, glossaries, and other important text features to support cross-curricular literacy.

Standards Tip Sheet

Implementing Steps To Literacy’s NGSS collections in your literacy block will promote student-centered learning that empowers students to think critically and problem solve. While learning about important science concepts, students will read and engage in a collaborative environment rooted in inquiry and discovery.

Steps To Literacy’s NGSS collection offerings include classroom libraries organized by grade, topic, and reading level with bins and labels. A standards tip sheet will be included in the libraries for teachers’ quick reference when writing lesson plans.


1 “Challenges for Science Education” – Kaptain, Kubilay, Timurlenk, Ozden (Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences: Volume 51, 2012, Pgs 763-771.

2 DeSilver, D. (2017, February 15). U.S. students’ academic achievement still lags that of their peers in many other countries. Retrieved December 21, 2017, from

3 National Science Teachers Association - NSTA. (n.d.). NSTA Position Statement, December 2016.

*References to Next Generation Science Standards implies no relationship, sponsorship, endorsement, sale, or promotion on the part of Steps to Literacy.