Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading


“The data speaks for itself! There’s renewed enthusiasm that you can feel walking through the school…Teachers are commenting on how much background knowledge students are coming to them with, and they are able to take them farther than they ever have before.”

-- Science coordinator, California charter school

Program Type

Curriculum/Instructional Materials

Target Audience


English Language Learner




Pre-K - 5

 Accomplished link

Program Impact

Rigorous independent evaluations of Seeds/Roots shows that it has substantially raised students’ knowledge of science as well as their performance in reading and writing. One independent study found that 3rd and 4th graders receiving Seeds/Roots improved three times as fast as other students in the strength and clarity of their writing on science.


Program Overview

The Seeds/Roots program aims to immerse students in deep learning about the natural world. Students search for evidence from both firsthand experiences and texts to construct more accurate and complete understanding of the natural world. They engage in written and oral discourse to understand, communicate, evaluate, and revise scientific explanations based on evidence.

The Seeds/Roots program is designed to be a core science program that addresses broad aspects of science proficiency while serving as a supplementary literacy program focused on non-fiction comprehension, vocabulary development, and fluency. The Seeds/Roots program takes on an equivalent number of learning goals in literacy and science, and it provides students with explicit instruction, opportunities to practice, and increasing independence in using literacy strategies to make sense of and communicate about the natural world. 

Though the Seeds/Roots program targets all students in public school classrooms nationwide, it also aims to address the needs of the fastest growing sector of the K-12 student population, English Language Learners.

Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading is an integrated science and literacy curriculum program for students in Grades 2 through 5. The program was developed jointly by the University of California-Berkeley's Lawrence Hall of Science and Graduate School of Education. 

Funders and Partners
National Science Foundation, The Noyce Foundation


Jacqueline Barber, Director, Seeds of Science/Roots of Reading

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Design Principles

The programs in this database clear a high bar. STEMworks reviewed each program against the Design Principles for Effective STEM Philanthropy.

  • Accomplished
  • Developing
  • Undeveloped

Overarching Principles

  • Need

    Identify and target a compelling and well-defined need.

  • Evaluation

    Use rigorous evaluation to continuously measure and inform progress towards the compelling need identified.

  • Sustainability

    Ensure work is sustainable.

  • Replication and Scalability

    Demonstrate replicability and scalability.

  • Partnerships

    Create high impact partnerships

  • Capacity

    Ensure organizational capacity to achieve goals.

STEM Principles

  • Challenging and Relevant Content

    Offer challenging and relevant STEM content for the target audience

  • STEM Practices

    Incorporate and encourage STEM practices.

  • Inspiration

    Inspire interest and engagement in STEM.

  • Under-Represented Groups

    Identify and address the needs of under-represented groups.