I suspect that our kids would read better if they knew more, so expanding kids’ knowledge of the world very well might promote higher literacy. I also suspect that knowing more about the world will foster curiosity, adventure, a greater sense of community, environmental responsibility, health, patriotism, and even, healthy skepticism — so it definitely isn’t all about reading.
For those of you upset about literature being dropped from the English curriculum, you might want to read this lovely piece written by my friend, Carol Jago. She knows something about the teaching of literature and I think you’ll find her insights helpful.
Disciplinary literacy refers to the specialized or somewhat unique texts or text features in those texts that are the province of a particular field of study and the specialized approaches to reading and writing texts used by experts in a field of study.
Disciplinary literacy is based upon the idea that literacy and text are specialized, and even unique, across the disciplines. Historians engage in very different approaches to reading than mathematicians do, for instance.
Meta-analyses indicate that it is effective to teach kids about multiple text structures, and that text structure instruction is particularly potent when writing, graphic organizers, and guidance on watching for “clue words” are included.
For those kids who need basic decoding instruction, targeted interventions are important. But for the others, teach reading using the books those students need to read in their other classes. That approach simultaneously builds reading skills, improves content learning, and increases academic confidence.
Schools should provide students with up to 30 minutes a day of fluency instruction. But remember, this is across all classes and content areas. Get quick tips on paired reading, repeated reading, and other ways to improve reading fluency.
Having classes/groups of students read common texts with teacher scaffolding is a good idea, whether we are talking about the reading of a short story in an English class or a chapter from a science book. They can promote mature interpretations of particular texts or the development of comprehension strategies.