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Literacy Across the Curriculum


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Title: Literacy Across the Curriculum

Literacy Across the Curriculum
  • with Kate Ellis
  • North Tonawanda City School District

  • Todays Agenda
  • What is literacy?
  • Identifying the need for secondary literacy
  • The changing demands of literacy instruction
  • What does literacy look like in your classroom?
  • Parting words of inspiration from Taylor Mali

  • Write a definition of literacy on your ppt
  • Share with a neighbor.
  • Revise your definition if necessary.
  • Share aloud.

Literacy Is
Literacy Defined
  • LITERACY ISthe ability to identify,
  • understand, interpret, create, communicate,
  • compute, and use printed and written
  • materials associated with varying contexts.
  • Literacy involves a continuum of learning to
  • enable an individual to achieve his or her
  • goals, to develop his or her knowledge and
  • potential, and to participate fully in society as
  • a whole.

But Literacy is also
  • The ability to interpret graphics and visuals
  • The ability to speak properly in multiple
    situations and communicate ideas effectively
  • The ability to comprehend what is heard
  • The ability to navigate through a technological
  • The ability to write effectively in multiple

Literacy in the 21st Century
  • Literacy in the 21st Century will mean the
    ability to find information, decode it,
    critically evaluate it, organize it into personal
    digital libraries, and find meaningful ways to
    share it with others. Information is raw
    material students will need to learn to build
    with it.
  • From The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman

Literacy for the 21st Century
  • 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. In a
    complex and sometimes even dangerous world, their
    ability to read will be crucial. (IRA, 1999)

TODAY, literacy looks like this
Changing Literacy Demands
  • Between 1996 and 2006, the average literacy
    required for all American occupations increased
    by 14.
  • The 25 fastest growing professions have far
    greater than average literacy demands, while the
    25 fastest declining professions have lower than
    average literacy demands.
  • (Barton, 2000 Reading Next, 2004)

Todays Reality High School
  • Only 30 of high school students graduate as
    proficient readers who are college-ready (Greene
    Forster, 2003).
  • Less than 50 of youth who take the ACT are
    prepared for the demands of college reading (ACT,
  • 35 - 40 of high school graduates do not have the
    sophisticated reading and writing skills that
    employers seek (Achieve, Inc., 2005 Kaestle et
    al., 2001 National Commission on Writing, 2004).

Todays Reality College Readiness
  • Only 51 of ACT-tested high school graduates were
    able to successfully perfom college-level reading
  • Students readiness for college-level reading is
    at its lowest point in more than a decade.
  • (Reading Between the Lines, ACT, 2006)

Who Has Reading Difficulties?
  • Percentage of students reading below a Basic
    Level of competence
  • --Grade 4 38
  • --Grade 8 29
  • --Grade 12 26 (2002)
  • Percentage of students reading below a Proficient
    Level of competence
  • --Grade 4 71
  • --Grade 8 71
  • --Grade 12 64 (2002)

Opportunity for Content Area Literacy Learning
A Matter of Equity
  • If students do not have the opportunity to
    learn subject area knowledge, concepts, and
    vocabulary, then their capacity to read a broader
    range of texts will be further diminished.

Findings from Studies of Middle and High School
  • Secondary students have abundant experience with
    low level literacy tasks that do not engage them
    in disciplinary reading and reasoning.
  • I know the teacher will go over it and tell us
    what it means, so I dont have to read it.
  • I dont know if they care, but no one reads the
    textbook. You just look for the answer to the
    questions at the end of the section. You can
    slide by without them knowing.

Findings Continued
  • Underperforming students hold powerful
    misconceptions of reading and learning that do
    not serve them well
  • Good readers read fast and know what all the
    words mean.
  • Some people can just read the paragraph and know
    what it means. I cant do that. Im just not a
  • Many high school students are profoundly
    inexperienced with advanced academic reading and
    literacy tasks

What are Academic Literacy Demands?
  • Across all content areas students should be able
  • Read
  • Write
  • Listen/view
  • Discuss/present
  • Think critically and creatively
  • Use language and vocabulary to read and
    comprehend text to support the learning of content

Reflection What are the Academic Literacy
Demands of my content area?
  • What type of activities or tasks are required of
    students in my content area?
  • What type of texts do students read in my content
  • What reading and writing skills will students
    need to use those texts proficiently?
  • What discussion and presentation skills will
    students need to verbalize understanding?

Reflection What are the academic literacy
demands of my content area?
  • (continued)
  • What listening and viewing skills will students
    need to connect with the standards and objectives
    of my specific content area?
  • What higher-order thinking skills will students
    need to use to move beyond basic understanding of
    content text?

If someone came to my room looking for a
literacy-rich classroom, what would they see/not
  • Reading comprehension strategy instruction
  • Writing instruction
  • Opportunities for listening and viewing
  • Opportunities for deep discussion and presenting
  • Instruction in use of higher-order thinking

Challenges of Literacy in the Academic
  • Presentation of ideas through varied symbolic
  • Broad range of characteristic text types
  • Specialized uses of language
  • Densely packed ideas
  • Different ways of thinking, reading, writing,
    speaking in different disciplines

Academic Disciplines Have Distinct Literacy
  • Specialized ways of reading, writing, speaking
    and reasoning that are specific to an
    intellectual discipline
  • Particular reasons to read and write
  • Conventional forms of text means of
  • Valued reasoning processes
  • Traditions of argumentation What counts as a
    good question, evidence, problem, or solution

Content Area Teachers have Expert Blind Spots
  • Secondary teachers tend to underestimate the
    literacy demands of their subject areas.
  • Content area teachers are largely unaware of
    their own specialized literacy expertise.
  • To support the content literacy learning of their
    students, teachers need to learn to see past
    their expert blind spots.

Roles and Responsibilities of content area
teachers for Literacy Instruction
  • You will not be held responsible for teaching
    basic reading skills to middle and high school
  • Yet you should clearly understand that you do
    have the responsibility to provide instruction in
    the kinds of reading and writing that are
    specific to your academic discipline.

Core Beliefs
  • Content area teachers should know what is
    distinct about the reading, writing, and
    reasoning processes of their discipline and how
    to give students frequent and supported
    opportunities to read, write, and think in these
  • The best teachers of discipline-based literacy
    practices are themselves able to read, write, and
    think like specialists in their fields.

How rigorous are theliteracy demands of
secondary students?
  • Lets take a

A Day in the Life of an Adolescent Reader
  • Act 1 - Scene 1
  • Venice. A street.
  • Enter RODERIGO and IAGO
  • Tush! never tell me I take it much
    unkindlyThat thou, Iago, who hast had my
    purseAs if the strings were thine, shouldst know
    of this.
  • IAGO
  • 'Sblood, but you will not hear meIf ever I did
    dream of such a matter, Abhor me.
  • Thou told'st me thou didst hold him in thy hate.
  • IAGO
  • Despise me, if I do not. Three great ones of the
    city,In personal suit to make me his
    lieutenant,Off-capp'd to him and, by the faith
    of man,I know my price, I am worth no worse a
    placeBut he as loving his own pride and
    purposes,Evades them, with a bombast

A Day in the Life of an Adolescent Reader
A Day in the Life of an Adolescent Reader
  • Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself
  • FDRs First Inaugural Address
  • I am certain that my fellow Americans expect
    that on my induction into the Presidency I will
    address them with a candor and a decision which
    the present situation of our people impel. This
    is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the
    whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we
    shrink from honestly facing conditions in our
    country today. This great Nation will endure as
    it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So,
    first of all, let me assert my firm belief that
    the only thing we have to fear is fear
    itselfnameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror
    which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat
    into advance. In every dark hour of our national
    life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met
    with that understanding and support of the people
    themselves which is essential to victory. I am
    convinced that you will again give that support
    to leadership in these critical days.
  • In such a spirit on my part and on yours we face
    our common difficulties. They concern, thank God,
    only material things. Values have shrunken to
    fantastic levels taxes have risen our ability
    to pay has fallen government of all kinds is
    faced by serious curtailment of income the means
    of exchange are frozen in the currents of trade
    the withered leaves of industrial enterprise lie
    on every side farmers find no markets for their
    produce the savings of many years in thousands
    of families are gone.

A Day in the Life of an Adolescent Reader
A Day in the Life of an Adolescent Reader
  • Vincent Van Gogh Self Portraits
  • In the most limited definition of the term,
    Impressionism as the objective study of light did
    not encourage so essentially a subjective study
    as the self-portrait but in the later expansion
    of the movement this self-representation was
    given renewed force by Cézanne and van Gogh. The
    latter has often been compared with Rembrandt in
    the number and expressiveness of his
    self-portraits but while Rembrandt's were
    distributed through a lifetime, van Gogh produced
    some thirty in all in the short space of five
    years --- from the end of the Brabant period
    (1885) to the last year of his life at St Rémy
    and Auvers. In each there is the same
    extraordinary intensity of expression
    concentrated in the eyes but otherwise there is a
    considerable variety. From the Paris period
    onwards he used different adaptations of
    Impressionist and Neo-Impressionist brushwork,
    separate patches of colour being applied with
    varying thickness and direction in a way that
    makes each painting a fresh experience.
  • Self-Portrait Dedicated to Paul Gauguin
    1888 (130 Kb) Oil on canvas, 60.5 x 49.4 cm (23
    3/4 x 19 1/2 in) Fogg Art Museum, Harvard
    University, Cambridge, MA.

A Day in the Life of an Adolescent Reader
  • Oven Baked Macaroni and Cheese
  • Ingredients
  • 1 8oz. box of elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar
  • Directions
  • Preheat oven to 360 degrees.
  • Prepare macaroni using directions on box and
    drain well.
  • In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add
    flour and stir to remove
  • lumps. Pour in milk and cook until thickened.
    Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add cheese and stir until melted. Add macaroni
    and stir until all macaroni is
  • incorporated. Pour mixture into 2 qt. casserole
    dish and bake for 20 minutes.

A Day in the Life of an Adolescent Reader
  • Calculate Your Training Heart Rate Range
  • Step1
  • Subtract your age from 220. (Example for an
    18-year-old 220 - 18 202.)
  • Step2
  • Multiply the result by 0.55 to determine 55
    percent of your estimated
  • maximum heart rate. (For an 18-year-old 202 x
    0.55 111.1, or approximately
  • 111 beats per minute). This is the low end of
    your training range, or the
  • slowest your heart should beat when you exercise.
  • Step3
  • Multiply the result from step 1 by 0.90 to
    calculate 90 percent of your
  • estimated maximum heart rate. (For an
    18-year-old 202 x 0.90 181.8, or
  • approximately 182 beats per minute). This is the
    high end of your training
  • range, or the fastest that your heart should beat
    when you exercise.
  • Step4
  • Use your answers from steps 2 and 3 to determine
    your training heart rate

A Day in the Life of an Adolescent Reader
Thats not to mention
  • What can I do in my own classroom?

Try These Ideas
  • Read multiple varieties of text
  • Use Graphic Organizers to help kids capture
    thoughts and meaning
  • Use Before, During, and After Reading strategies
  • Allow kids to annotate text
  • Differentiate assignments by choice
  • Allow kids to talk
  • Use Admit and Exit Slips
  • Allow kids to play with vocabulary words
  • Provide time for and require written reflection
  • Plan structured debates
  • Require kids to make presentations
  • Require kids to collaborate on projects
  • Require kids to create original products

Listen to your colleagues
Consider these resources
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For Your Inspiration
Thank you for your time and attention!Your
feedback is welcome!