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Chapter One: Literacy Matters

Before Reading:
1. Write an autobiographical reflection in which you recall middle and high school
teachers (no names used) whom you believe were effective and/or ineffective. What
strategies did the teachers use that engaged or disengaged students? Following the
written assignment, divide a chart into two columns: Effective Strategies and
Ineffective Strategies

I never liked teachers that would just talk. Pure lecture is hard to stand when on a middle
school, or high school classroom. Students need to be engaged when trying to learn and
that means changing up what instruction you do in the classroom. One strategy I liked
was the teacher giving a student the lesson plan for the next day and then having that one
student co teach with them. It was fun because we would each have our own turn to co-
teach each and it helped you understand the content in a better manner.

Effective Strategies Ineffective Strategies

Co-Teaching in the classroom Pure lecture
Teacher engagement throughout “read this and work” environment
the class.

2. What is content or disciplinary literacy? Why is it important that content teachers

integrate effective reading, writing, thinking, and communicating strategies in the

Content literacy is understanding strategies when looking at a specific content area. It is

important for teachers to teach this information because it is important to student success.
Content areas can have differing strategies and integrating the specific way to read, write,
and think about information in that area can helps students see those differences and
differentiate between differing content.

3. Why are you taking this course? What goals do you have for the class, in order to
have a positive experience this semester?

No offence, but I am taking this course because I have to. However, I do hope to learn
how to help students with their reading and writing using various strategy. I see in the
classroom the horrible state in which our students read and write.

Wiens RDG 323 Fall 2018 Digital Journal

4. Work in a small group to complete the following anticipation guide:

True Statement False

Reading instruction in x
middle and secondary
schools is unnecessary.

Content area teachers x

should expect students to
read their textbooks.

x The primary role of the

content area teacher is to
teach subject matter.

While Reading

1. Read pages 10 - 18. Define the following terms: content literacy,

disciplinary literacy, new literacies. What are the similarities and
differences between these terms?

Content literacy is learning how to read and write while learning a specific
content area. Disciplinary literacy is a more specialized approach than the
general strategies students might learn. New literacies would be referring to the
new technologies that are entering the classroom more and more.

2. Two Column Notes

Read pages 18 - 23. Use the two column note sheet to keep track of 3-4
essential ideas from the chapter. In the first column record a quote or direct
phrases from the text in the second column record your personal response

What the Text Says Why it Matters

“Decode or pronounce words” I like the decode part because
students do need to learn to decode

Wiens RDG 323 Fall 2018 Digital Journal

words and the reading.
“Exposure to different texts.” I think exposure to different
readings helps students figure out
how to read in a better fashion.
“Explicit instruction” Sometimes you need help without
trying to figure it out yourself.

3. Reread the paragraph on page 21: A Plan for the Improvement of English
Spelling. Describe some of the strategies you used to read this paragraph. How
would both excellent readers and striving readers each attempt to comprehend
this type of academic text?

I did not use a specific strategy. My brain did notice that there were many
grammatical mistakes, but I could still read the paragraph anyway without
much interruption.

After Reading (To be done after Wednesday’s class)

Place yourself in the role of a staff developer in your school. Write an email
(roughly three paragraphs) to teachers, using your powers of persuasion,
explaining the need for incorporating literacy instruction to content area
classrooms. Do your best to convince your readers that content area teachers
need to go beyond assigning and telling.
Hello Staff,

As you are aware there have been some inconstancies in our developmental testing. We see that
some students that have no trouble in the reading and writing portions are now dropping to the average
percentile. Many of you know we have had recent after school meetings to help control this issue and we
think a solution is on the horizon.

During these meetings we discussed incorporating more literacy instruction into science, reading,
and social studies. Lecturing in the classroom is becoming a less viable option to hold student
engagement. The classroom needs to be a more dynamic environment to hold students attention and with
this comes the ability of the teacher to give the students some independence.

Wiens RDG 323 Fall 2018 Digital Journal

Students being able to gather information from text is the first step we wish to implement. For
this to become reality teachers will need to show students how to read in their specific content area. Using
Social Studies as an example students would need to learn how to interpret historical documents, learning
what first and third hand accounts are, and properly using citations.

We know this will be a long process to implement and fine tune, but we feel this will beifit the
student in the long run. This email is not intended to be the only reference for changing your entire lesson,
but it is simply to just inform you of what is happening. More emails and meetings are to be done to fine
tune this and we look forward to any feedback you may have.

Thank you.

Wiens RDG 323 Fall 2018 Digital Journal