Teaching Earth Science with Children’s Literature: The Three R’s: Reuse, Reduce, Recycle

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Introduction and Summary:
The Three R’s: Reuse, Reduce, Recycle, written by Nuria Roca and illustrated by Rosa M. Curto, is a great resource to use when teaching students about conservation.  The book discusses the ways in which the main character, Paul, can reduce, reuse and recycle items found in his everyday life.  For example, Paul tries to reduce his water and electricity consumption at home, and wears tee shirts his brother has outgrown (reuse).  The book also discusses how Paul recycles at his home and school.  “In the kitchen at Paul’s home there is a container for things made of plastic, metal or glass, and another for all other garbage,” (page 25).  The author does an excellent job putting the three R’s in concise terms that are understandable and relatable to students.  The book also explains landfills, and how trash and pollution ultimately impact plants, animals and people.  “Plastic bags are very handy, but sometimes they end up in the sea where they can be dangerous for animals.  Turtles may take them for jellyfish and eat them, or they may get tangled up in the plastic rings used to hold cans together,” (page 17).  The end of the books contains fun activities students can do to recycle items found in their homes.

Curriculum Connections:
The Three R’s: Reuse, Reduce, Recycle is appropriate for use in the kindergarten curriculum to show how everyday materials can be reused, recycled and conserved.  The Three R’s does a great job showing how materials can be used over and over again, such as bags at the grocery store (SOL K.10 A).  Pages 18-27 do a great job describing what everyday materials can be recycled, as well as the process used to recycle materials (SOL K.10 B).  Page 13 is particularly useful in illustrating how water and energy conservation, at home and in school, helps preserve resources for the future (SOL K.10 C).   

Additional Resources:
-This word search is a great way to reinforce vocabulary. 
-This activity is a great means to see how your school handles recycling and garbage.  Note: This is a worksheet from the UK and uses the word “rubbish” instead of trash.  Modify.
-This link contains many crafts that can be made by recycling items that students would normally discard.

General Information:
Book:
The Three R’s: Reuse, Reduce, Recycle
Author: Nuria Roca
Illustrator: Rosa M. Curto
Publisher: Barron’s Educational Services, Inc.
Publication Date: February 2007
Pages: 36
Grade: K-1
ISBN-10: 0-7641-3581-3