Ch. 8: Content Area Literacy Instruction: Reading & Writing Strategies

In the 15 years since this book's publication, the concept of literacy instruction has considerably changed the framework for learning to include 21st Century Literacies.

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In Intelligence Reframed Howard Gardner contends that "literacies, skills, and disciplines ought to be pursued as tools that allow us to enhance our understanding of important questions, topics, and themes." Today's readers become literate by learning to read the words and symbols in today's world and its antecedents. They analyze, compare, evaluate and interpret multiple representations from a variety of disciplines and subjects, including texts, photographs, artwork, and data. They learn to choose and modify their own communication based on the rhetorical situation. Point of view is created by the reader, the audience and the medium.

Teaching in the Block
Deconstructing Teaching in the Block
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Basic Language Literacy
Information Literacy
Multicultural Literacy
Visual Literacy
Media Literacy
Spacial Literacy
Teacher, Student, Whole-Small-Peer Group
Global Community
Students as Knowledge Creators

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Are our ideas of what literacy means changing? Are traditional forms of literacy being replaced by new literacies? Does connective reading and writing change us? our sense of literacy?

Content Area Literacy Instruction

Summarizing Chapter 8

Literacy Defined
Knowledge & Skills
Achieved How
Read/understand written content
Recognize/spell printed words w/fluency
Read/write in content areas
Write clearly about subject
Possess content knowledge
Read frequently for comprehension
Converse w/content area community
Familiarize and internalize specific vocabulary
Converse w/community w/contextualized vocabulary

Teaching: Instructional Concentrations
Organizing: Sanity-Based
Determine highest reading level:
  1. Oral reading; word recognition in contest
  2. Oral and silent reading score obtained
  3. Written comprehension of text score
  4. Establish instructional level of text to student
  5. Read, discuss, hypothesize, conjecture, process
  6. "What do you think now...?"
I. Reading:
Reading for meaning with concomitant discussions before, during, and after reading

  1. Text in relationship to context/genre: unit, chapter, textbook
  2. Hypothesize author intent
  3. Conjecture truth
  4. Provide vocabulary support
  5. Socratic seminar approach

II. Writing: The Quintilian Progression
  1. Freedom of expression: no mold
  2. Sincerity of thought: then predraft step of organizing
  3. Clarity: teacher asks clarifying questions
  4. Correctness: go for content; English teacher pairing for language composition
  5. Eloquence: new words, ideas, written language constructs

Writing: Steps in the Writing Process
  1. Define/specify topic
  2. Brainstorm
  3. Arrange ideas in relationships
  4. Outline toward paragraph sequencing
  5. Write introductory paragraph with thesis and supporting statements
  6. Write first draft
  7. Write concluding paragraph
  8. Reread, peer and teacher feedback for organization and clarity
  9. Revise
  10. Feedback and rewrite

III. Listening: Directed Listening/Thinking Activity
  1. Discuss, read, write, share, record
  2. Verify, change
  3. Written summation of consensus

IV. Vocabulary
  1. Examine content words
  2. Examine prefixes, roots, suffixes
  3. Use context clues
  1. Identify main topics/themes w/in course
  2. Diagnose/cluster students based on reading in content sophistication
  3. Determine how students will spend class time: 4-3-2-1:
    1. 40% reading for meaning at instructional level
    2. 30% writing for authentic content purposes
    3. 20% being read to at highest content level students can comprehend
    4. 10% direct work in vocabulary study aka reading, writing, being read to, and vocabulary study (with teacher as coach, mentor, intellectual agitator, resource)
I. Reading
  1. Whole-class and Small-Group Work with Teacher: critical questioning before, during, and after reading; gather together for postreading summary, reflection, and listening at a higher level
  2. Group, Cooperative Pair, and Independent Work without the Teacher: study guides for prediction and hypotheses to a teacher-written prompt; text substantiation in cooperative pairs to authenticate, elucidate, and motivate
  3. Independent Work: in-class reading, dialogue journals (personal letters) with teachers/students responding

II. Writing
  1. Work with the Teacher:
    1. Guided writing process
    2. Individual conferences with students (3-5 minutes)
    3. Writing-Sharing session: students read writing in progress to discuss ideas and press for clarity, completeness, and eloquence
  2. Work Without the Teacher
    1. Sharing without the teacher
    2. Textbook writing: outline a chapter for student-authored textbook
    3. Writing hypotheses, section summaries, revising information lists...

III. Vocabulary
  1. With the Teacher
    1. Text-specific in teacher-led critical thinking activity
    2. Teaching students to examine words by morphemic units
  2. Work Without the Teacher
    1. Mark words students question
    2. Intensive analysis and comparison of the morphophonemic principle

IV. Grading
  1. Process and Product
    1. Criteria/rubrics
    2. Self-assessment
    3. Vocabulary investigation
    4. Summative essays
    5. Notebooks