STRATEGIC READING ACROSS THE CONTENT AREAS: BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN ENGLISH AND OTHER ACADEMIC DISCIPLINES

From KNILT

Stephanie Ames ETAP 623


INTRODUCTION: INTENT OF NEEDS ANALYSIS

Especially in the area of reading comprehension, teachers need to make a combined effort to ensure that students are receiving whole-instruction in reading. Students are expected to read and write in English Language Arts, but the English teacher should not be the only one who is charge of the reading instruction. Teachers of other subjects need to monitor student reading as it relates to their disciplines. They need to foresee possible reading obstacles, such as learning how to follow the layout of a complicated textbook. Many times, a reading difficulty/confusion can hinder a student from being able to discover conceptual knowledge.

Of all subjects that could be put together, English and math are perhaps the two least likely connections. Math has concrete, absolute, right-wrong answers, and English has more of an analytical focus. The correctness of your thoughts depends on how well you can back them up with supporting arguments. Formulas do not help you produce stellar writing pieces. Yet, in my graduate studies and my experience as a middle school English Language Arts teacher, I am continually finding more and more connections between the two subjects. Through the connection between reading comprehension in English Language Arts and math, I have investigated ways to increase awareness of reading comprehension skills and strategies in other academic disciplines. Interdisciplinary units, as worthwhile as they are, are difficult to coordinate and plan. Even if creating an interdisciplinary unit isn’t possible, there are many ways that teachers can, and should, incorporate the other disciplines into his/her classroom.

This is a mini-course for teachers of all subjects. I reference math as an example because if math and English can be seen to co-exist, then connecting English and other subjects should seem as a less-daunting task. Some lessons will be recommended for English teachers, while others are specific to other disciplines. All, however, will show a connection between English Language Arts and other subjects in relation to reading comprehension. In order for reading instruction to be authentic, it needs to be approached as a tie in to all of the classes.


LEARNER ANALYSIS

This mini-course is designed for primarily middle school teachers, but could be adapted for elementary or high school. Middle schools are usually set up in teams, so the collaboration is easier to achieve. This is not to say that teaching strategic reading skills across the content areas in elementary or a high school setting is not needed, because that is certainly not the case. Middle school offers a great transition ground so that the skills can be fine turned and developed before they reach high school.

Participants of this course will be any willing teachers who are interested in incorporating, or building upon, these skills in their classrooms. Some lessons will be designed for English Language Arts or reading teachers, while others may specifically focus on different academic disciplines. All lessons have room for modification. It will be helpful if participants in this course have thought through areas (or units) in which these skills would be helpful in their classes. Knowledge of strategic reading and other reading terms is helpful, but not a prerequisite.


The design of the course includes a variety of instructional methods. It is suited for an individual taking the course, rather than a group of people together. The participants should engage in all units, but there is room for participants to pick and choose activities. However, this is not recommended as the participant will miss out on the overall scope and sequencing of the intended rationale. The unit uses mini-lectures through small write-ups that introduce activities. Most of the content will be acquired through participant engagement. Participants will be engaging in similar activities that their intended students would. There are many opportunities for self-reflection so that participants can keep a log of their growth throughout the unit. Ideally, this unit would include a place to post discussions and resources (this is omitted due to technological reasons) as collaboration is key to professional growth.

COURSE OBJECTIVES

  • Participants of this course will partake in opportunities that are intended to increase their awareness of reading comprehension issues in their particular content area.
  • Participants, regardless of content area, will be able to apply reading strategies to their own curriculum in order to increase student academic achievement.

Specific Objectives:

  • 1. Participants will be able to (PWBAT) distinguish between narrative and informative text and discern which strategic reading strategies work best for each structure
  • 2. PWBAT investigate the importance of setting a purpose for reading through manipulated readings.
  • 3. PWBAT examine a text’s layout and note how the design of the page might lead to difficulty in comprehension
  • 4. PWBAT create authentic situations that will encourage students to become strategic, independent, readers in their classroom.
  • 5. PWBAT identify ways in which they can encourage students to become metacognitively aware of their own reading comprehension in their content area.
  • 6. PWBAT investigate and apply fix-it strategies for reading comprehension, as it relates to metacognition.
  • 7. PWBAT transfer the instruction of reading strategies to less obvious texts, such as visual texts (i.e.political cartoons).
  • 8. PWBAT investigate the importance of teaching inference skills to students.
  • 9. PWBAT apply reasoning skills to their content area.
  • 10. PWBAT utilize graphic organizers, and other fix-it strategies, to assist students in categorizing difficult information (i.e. complicated word problems).

PREREQUISITES

Participants must have a basic knowledge of how monitoring reading comprehension is applicable to their discipline.


CURRICULUM MAP

File:Amescurricmap-rev.htm The sequencing of this course is represented in the attached curriculum map.

UNIT ONE

Unit One--Introduction to Texts: Layout and Structure

UNIT TWO

Unit Two--Metacognitive Awareness and Strategies

UNIT THREE

Unit Three--Inference and Reasoning Skills

SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT

Summative Assessment

RESOURCES

Please view the resources page for a list of works referenced. These reources also include additional readings that may aid your comprehension.

File:ETAP 623 design project Works Referenced-ames.doc