About STEM Read

What We Do

STEM Read uses live and online programs to inspire readers to learn more about the science, technology, engineering, and math concepts in popular fiction. Readers enjoy the books on their own or with school or library groups and then meet at NIU or connect with us online to explore the science behind the fiction through hands-on activities, presentations by NIU faculty and staff, author visits, interactive games, collaborative writing projects, and other STEAM activities (STEM plus the arts).

Why We’re Unique

Our program reaches students who might not see themselves as future scientists or as serious readers. We break down barriers by encouraging collaboration among students with varying interests, backgrounds, and education levels.

  • We attract both ravenous and reluctant readers because we pick fun, fast-paced stories.
  • We attract girls and young women because we use reading and art as a gateway to STEM.
  • We engage special-needs students because we use read-aloud techniques and hands-on activities to bring greater meaning to texts.

STEM Read and Northern Illinois University

STEM Read is one of the many ways that Northern Illinois University strives to share knowledge and enthusiasm for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). We are funded by NIU’s Center for P-20 Engagement, which supports mutually beneficial partnerships related to education and training at all levels from preschool (P) through graduate studies (20+) in schools, workplaces, and community settings across northern Illinois. Our sister programs from the P-20 Center are SMARTspace@niuSTEM Outreach, and the Center for Economic Education.

The P-20 Center is supported by NIU’s Division of Outreach, Engagement, and Regional Development as part of the division’s continuing mission to build the vitality of the region and nation through programs and services that connect the university to the community.