Exploring Countries: England
written by Walter Simmons
2011 (Bellwether Media)
Source: Orange County Public Library
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Bellwether Media has published 40 books in the Exploring Countries series. These books are ideal for children who are beginning to learn how to read text for the purpose of researching a topic. Each book focuses on one country and gives students information about the culture, economics, geography, and politics of that country. The book in my local library features England. Geography is the focus of the beginning sections with information about where England is located and the landforms and ecosystems that you will find there. Facts about the culture follow with a page of slang words, a snapshot of daily life, economic data (jobs), and a page about education in England. These chapters provide an opportunity for students to make connections with their own lives here in America. Sports, holidays, food, and landmarks make up the remainder of the book. There is a glossary of terms in the back matter and a URL address for finding kid-friendly links about England. I found 4 websites when I used the URL address.
There are two things that I really like about this series. One, it is a great synopsis of the 5 themes of social studies. You could take this book at the beginning of the year and give examples of each theme. Second, the Exploring Countries series is ideal for older students who need to acquire research skills but have difficulty with grade level text. For example, students in 5th grade who read at a 3rd or 4th grade level would be able to handle this text without too much difficulty and be able to focus their attention on summarizing information for instance, instead of having to worry about decoding. That is a pretty handy resource to have in your possession.