Reading is Key Science Skill

Published March 1, 2000

How do scientists acquire most of their knowledge? Surprisingly, it’s not by “observing,” “measuring,” or doing “hands-on” investigations. It’s by reading.

“Reading for understanding is the core process skill of science, and there is no substitute for practice at an early age,” says Stan Metzenberg, assistant professor of biology at California State University Northridge and a consultant for the Academic Standards Commission.

Although hands-on investigations spice up a school science program, in Metzenberg’s view they are no substitute for learning from an informative textbook. In fact, he regards reading as such a vital skill in science that “a student who has not developed the skill of learning through reading has no professional future in science.”