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Teaching Dilemmas and Solutions in Content-Area Literacy, Grades 6-12

Teaching Dilemmas and Solutions in Content-Area Literacy, Grades 6-12

Edited by:

August 2014 | 184 pages | Corwin

 Because literacy is not just the English teacher’s job
Think literacy is just for English teachers? Not anymore. Nor should it be when you consider that each discipline has its own unique values and means of expression. These days, it’s up to all teachers to communicate what it means to be literate in their disciplines. Here, finally, is a book ambitious enough to tackle the topic across all major subject areas. 

Engage in this cross-disciplinary conversation with seasoned teachers and university researchers, and learn how to develop curriculum and instruction that are responsive to students’ needs across English/language arts, science, social studies, mathematics, visual space, and music and drama. Peter Smagorinsky and his colleagues provide an insider’s lens on both the states of their fields and their specific literacy demands, including: 

  • Reviews of current issues and state-of-the-art research informing literacy education
  • Scenario-based activities for reflection and discussion, typifying the dilemmas and challenges faced by practicing teachers.
  • Considerations of the textual forms and conventions required in each discipline
  • Specific policy recommendations

Read this book on your own for immediate suggestions on how to improve literacy instruction within your course of study. Better yet, share it with colleagues and participate in a larger conversation about how your literacy expectations influence the ways students read and produce texts in other disciplines.

Peter Smagorinsky
About This Book

How This Book is Organized

How to Use this Book

What Does it Meant to be Literate?

Content-Area Literacy

Implications for Practice

Policy Recommendations

Peter Smagorinsky and Joseph M. Flanagan
Chapter 1. Literacy in the English/Language Arts Classroom
Changing Conceptions of Literacy

The Growing Debate Regarding What Students Should Be Reading

The Transformation of Instructional Strategies for English Language Arts

Forging a Path for Literacy Instruction


Scenario 1: Language Proficiency as Literacy

Scenario 2: The Literature Strand of the Language Arts Curriculum

Scenario 3: The Writing Strand of the Language Arts Curriculum

Scenario 4: Promoting Literacy Through the Use of a Variety of Textual Forms

Scenario 5: Developing Literacy in a Technical Age

Chauncey Monte-Sano and Denise Miles
Chapter 2. Toward Disciplinary Reading and Writing in History
Understanding the Discipline

What Is the Role of Literacy in History?

Reading History

Writing History

Practices That Help Students Write Historical Arguments


Scenario 1: When Reading Is a Struggle

Scenario 2: Shifting the Focus in History Class to Embrace the Common Core

Scenario 3: Transitioning From Writing Summary to Argument

Scenario 4: Helping Students Use and Select “Good” Evidence

Scenario 5: Balancing the Coverage Mandate With Historical Inquiry

Kok-Sing Tang, Stephen C. Tighe, and Elizabeth Birr Moje
Chapter 3. Literacy in the Science Classroom
What Is Science Literacy and Why Does It Matter?

Learning Science Literacy


Scenario 1: Engaged in Reading of Complex Text in the Service of Inquiry

Scenario 2: Integrating Content Instruction and Disciplinary Literacy Standards in Science

Scenario 3: Foregrounding Multimodal Literacy Practices in Concept Learning

Scenario 4: Connecting Hands-On Experiences With Textual Practices

Linda Hutchison and Jennifer Edelman
Chapter 4. Literacy in the Mathematics Classroom
Texts, Mathematics, and Content Area Literacy

Writing and Content Area Literacy in Mathematics

Reading and Content Area Literacy in Mathematics

Literacy in Mathematics: More Than Vocabulary

Problem-Solving Literacy

Numerical Literacy

Number Line Literacy

Spatial Literacy in Mathematics

Graphing Literacy

Statistical Literacy

Models/Modeling Using Symbols




Scenario 1: A Learning Community

Scenario 2: Extended Responses on Standardized Tests

Scenario 3: Geometry and Technology—Why Do We Do Proofs?

Scenario 4: Evidence of Content-Area Literacy Practices

Karinna Riddett-Moore and Richard Siegesmund
Chapter 5. The Visual Space of Literacy in Art Education
Dewey’s Vision of Art Education

From Perception to the Aesthetics of Care

The Challenges and Possibilities of Visual Literacy


Scenario 1: The Pieta Is a Love Letter

Scenario 2: PostSecret: Finding Narrative in Image and Text

Scenario 3: Doodles Can Mean Something

Scenario 4: Shifting Control: Teaching White Girl to Dance

Scenario 5: A Literacy of Listening: Relational Aesthetics

Katherine D. Strand and Gus Weltsek
Chapter 6. Music and Drama Literacies
Music Literacy

Aural Discrimination and Reading Music

Alternate Musical Literacies


Scenario 1: Musical Literacy With Informal Learning Practices

Drama Literacy

Why and How Does Drama Work?


Scenario 1: Infused Drama Theatre Education Strategies as Multimodal Transmediated Literacy Practices


Decided to use Reading and Writing Across the Content Areas (2nd ed.) by Sejnost & Thiese.

Dr Bethany Scullin
Secondary Education Dept, Edinboro Univ Of Pennsylvania
January 30, 2015
Key features
  • Each chapter considers the questions - What sorts of literacy practices are central to each academic discipline? From class to class, what literacy practices carry over, and which are unique to particular disciplines?
  • Addresses the school experience from an academic, social, political, and affective perspective rather than simply viewing it as cognitive and knowledge-driven.
  • Discusses what teachers can learn from each other's disciplines in terms of providing wide-ranging opportunities to engage with the curriculum and make interdisciplinary connections.
  • Suitable for book club settings among faculty members from across the content areas

For instructors

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