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The evolution of content area reading


... as preparing young adolescent and teenagers in their subject area for high ... concluded that while some skills are common to different subject areas, but ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The evolution of content area reading

The evolution of content area reading
  • The concept of content area reading and learning
    has been around since the late 1800s
  • William Gray (1925) the then Dean of the College
    of Education at the University of Chicago
    provided the first formal perspective on the
    relationship between reading and other school
  • As a means of gaining information and pleasure,
    it reading is essential in every content
    subject, such as history, geography, arithmetic,
    science, and literature. In fact, rapid progress
    in these subjects depends in a large degree on
    the ability of pupils to read independently and
    intelligently. It follows that good teaching
    must provide for the improvement and refinement
    of the reading attitudes, habits, and skills that
    are needed in all school activities involving
    reading. (Gray, 1925)

  • 1900 approximately 15.5 million students
    attending public schools
  • 0.5 million (3) attended high school
  • 1992 47.9 million students attending K-12
  • 27 of those students were enrolled in
    grades 9-12
  • The mid 1900s saw an increase in the preparation
    of teachers in reading instruction, particularly
    content reading instruction at the secondary
  • Despite the recognition of the importance of
    content area reading and learning in the 1900s it
    continued to evolve slowly.
  • Not until the 1960s was it recommended that the
    basic reading instruction offered to prospective
    elementary teachers be broadened to include
    content and instructional techniques appropriate
    fro intermediate and upper grades. (Austin
    Morrison, 1961).

  • Even today, the mantra Every teacher is a
    teacher of reading, is met with resistance.
  • Many content area teachers see their primary
    responsibility as preparing young adolescent and
    teenagers in their subject area for high school
    and college, and they have difficulty accepting
    that they should have some responsibility for
    adolescents reading development. (Vacca, 2002).
  • In the past century, three major paradigms have
    contributed to the traditions and practices
    associated with content area reading instruction
    the reading and study skills paradigm, the
    cognition and learning paradigm, and the social
    constructivist paradigm.

Reading and study skills model
  • 1900s through the 1960s.
  • During this time two lines of reading research
    were focused upon
  • 1.the identification of reading and study
    skills associated with each of the content areas
  • 2.the effects of various instructional
    variables on the acquisition of reading and
    study skills.
  • Several studies conducted to determine the skills
    needed to read effectively in content area
    Artely, 1944 Gray, 1924 McCallister 1930.
  • These studies concluded that while some skills
    are common to different subject areas, but some
    of these skills hold special relationships to
    achievement in each of the subject areas

Effects of various instructional variables on the
acquisition of reading and study skills.
  • Research has been done on two fundamentally
    different instructional approaches
  • A direct instructional approach, in which the
    teaching of reading and study skills is separate
    from the content classroom, based on the
    assumption of transfer to content areas
  • A functional instructional approach, in which
    the teaching of reading is embedded within the
    context of content learning using content course

  • Research conducted on functional approaches paved
    the way for the shift from a skills paradigm to a
    cognitive paradigm.
  • These studies lead to an emphasis on learning
    from text through the use of strategies such as
    graphic organizers, anticipation guides, and
    question generation strategies

Cognition and Learning
  • The shift from a reading and study skills
    paradigm to a cognition and learning paradigm
    became more noticeable in the 1970s and 1980s.
  • With this shift, reading research became
    increasingly multidisciplinary.
  • Within the cognition and learning paradigm,
    research related to schema theory, text
    structure, metacognition, and strategic learning
    has had a major impact on content area reading
  • Today, reading research continues to be grounded
    solidly in cognitive learning theory, although
    some might argue that a social constructivist
    paradigmatic shift is currently underway. (Bean,

Social Constructivist Paradigm
  • A shift from a cognition and learning paradigm to
    a Social Constructivist paradigm has become
    noticeable in the 1990s (Bean 2000).
  • In a social constructivist paradigm, the
    experiences and vies of students and teachers
    within a classroom environment are at the
    forefront of learning and teaching in content
    classrooms (Vacca, 2002).
  • Teachers do not impart knowledge to their
    students. Instead, Knowledge is always under

  • Social constructivist research is interested in
    such issues as the beliefs of students and
    teachers toward learning and teaching, the role
    of literature in content study, the connection
    between reading and talking and reading and
  • Students learn with the text not from the text.
  • Students have much to contribute to their own
    learning as they negotiate meaning and socially
    constructed knowledge through learning situations
    that require discussion and writing.

The definition of literacy
  • This too has changed. No longer is the
    definition limited to the ability to read and
  • There have also been many kinds of literacies
  • Functional
  • Informative
  • Cultural
  • Progressive
  • Critical
  • Adoloscent

  • Furthermore, not only do we now acknowledge
    different kinds of literacies we also acknowledge
    multiple literacies
  • Informational
  • technological
  • Media
  • Musical literacy
  • Environmental
  • Emotional

Strategic readers
  • Activating relevant, prior knowledge (schema)
    before, during and after reading text
  • Creating visual and other sensory images from
    text during and after reading
  • Drawing inferences from text to form conclusions,
    make critical judgments, and create unique
  • Asking questions of themselves, the autheor,s and
    the texts they read
  • Determining the most important ideaas and themes
    in a text
  • Synthesizing what they read

Pearson and Duke (2000) identified strategies of
effective readers
  • Good readers are active readers.
  • From the outset they have clear goals in mind for
    their reading. They constantly evaluate whether
    the text, and their reading of it, is meeting
    their goals.
  • Good readers typically look over the text before
    they read, noting such things as the structure of
    the text and text sections that might be most
    relevant to their reading goals
  • As they read, good readers frequently make
    predictions about their readingwhat to read
    carefully, what to read quickly, what not to
    read, what to reread and so on.
  • Good readers construct, revise, and question the
    meanings they make as they read.
  • Good readers try to determine the meaning of
    unfamiliar words and concepts in the text, and
    they deal with inconsistencies or gaps as needed.
  • They draw from, compare, and integrate their
    prior knowledge with material in the text.

  • They think about the authors of the text, their
    style, beliefs, and intentions, historical
    milieu, and so on.
  • They monitor their understanding of the text,
    making adjustments in their reading as necessary.
  • They evaluate the texts quality and value, and
    react to the text in a range of ways, both
    intellectually and emotionally.
  • Good readers read different kinds of text
  • When reading narrative, good readers attend
    closely to the setting and characters.
  • When reading expository text, these readers
    frequently construct and revise summaries of what
    they have read.
  • For good readers, text processing occurs not only
    during reading as we have traditionally defined
    it, but also during short breaks taken during
    reading, even after the reading itself has
  • Comprehension is a consuming, continuous, and
    complex activity, but one that, for good readers,
    is both satisfying and productive.
  • Duke and Pearson, (2002).

The importance of comprehension to the reading
  • One could argue if one is not able to understand
    or make sense of what one decodes they are not,
    in fact, reading.
  • Vacca and Vacca identify three levels of
  • literal
  • interpretive
  • applied
  • Closing quote from Moje et al. from the 1999
    positions statement.

  • Adolescents entering the adult world in the 21st
    century will read and write more than at any
    other time in human history. They will need
    advanced levels of literacy to perform their
    jobs, run their households, act as citizens, and
    conduct their personal lives. They will need
    literacy to cope with the flood of information
    they will find everywhere they turn. They will
    need literacy to feed their imaginations so they
    can cerate the world of the future. In a complex
    and sometimes even dangerous world, their ability
    to read willl be crucial. Continual instruction
    beyond the early grades is needed.
  • Moore, Bean, Birdyshaw, Rycik, 1999